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B1G 2020, Purdue Potluck #1: Is the Jeff Brohm Era a culinary innovation or a microwaved box of stuffing?

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Either way, we’ve got Purdue to thank for it.

Stove-Top Roasted Turkey Breast (Arrosto Morto di Tacchino)

Welcome to Purdue Week!

You know it’s a special time of year when you see babaoreally and Boilerman with front-page bylines, and we’ve got a whole week of Black and Old Gold content on the way for you.

As part of our daily content, if you’re new, we also like to open it up to our writers with a potluck. The idea is simple: Purdue brings a food for us all to try, we sample it, wrinkle our noses at the weird regional cuisines of the Midwest, and say snarky things about Purdue—while perhaps offering some legitimate commentary as well.

Today? Analyzing Jeff Brohm’s three-year progress—or lack thereof—and looking at one of Purdue’s greatest culinary innovations...along with the academic programs that created it!

The Football

7-6, 6-7, 4-8. Is Purdue on a downward trajectory? (At least going by record, my elementary math says “Yes.”)

While the offense has been mercurial, bordering on good, the defense has regressed since Brohm took the reins in 2017 and actively cost the Boilers games like the Nevada loss in 2019. Brohm’s up-tempo, athlete-laden spread has boosted the stocks of David Bell and Rondale Moore, for example, but it’s tough to stay as positive about the on-field potential when Purdue gave Brohm a loaded 7-year, $37 million contract...and then watched him lay an egg in 2019.

So give us your Jeff Brohm-and-Purdue takes, writers:

(1) Is he just Rich Rodriguez with a better publicist, or is there a discernible direction to the Boilermaker program moving forward?
(2) Plus, in honor of the Nevada loss, tell us a Bad Idea Road Game your program has trotted out in recent memory...and how it shook out.

Candystripes: I dunno if you recall the hype around RichRod when he went to Michigan, but I feel like his publicist was pretty good. As for Brohm….best I not say anything, as I have a very active reason to root for his failure.

Two different Bad Idea Road Games for you, with two completely different reasons. 2011, Indiana goes to North Texas and becomes Dan McCarney’s first win for the Mean Green. North Texas would finish the season 5-7, McCarney would get a couple of good years before being fired in 2015 after losing 66-7 to Portland State. Not a terrible loss in retrospect, but it’s not a good look to lose to the Sun Belt.

Second Bad Idea Road Game: 2012, IU goes to UMass and demolishes the Minutemen 45-6. UMass’s first FBS home game. Doesn’t sound like too horrible of an idea, right? An easy win at a time when Kevin Wilson was still finding his footing as IU’s head coach. Sure, if not for one VERY IMPORTANT detail: Starting QB Tre Roberson leaves the game after BREAKING HIS LEG AND ENDING HIS SEASON IN WEEK TWO. I guess a freak injury is not really an excuse to call a game a Bad Idea, but this was dumb and you know it.

Also, talking about this game in the B1G 2013 Closing Arguments (and wow, doesn’t that feel like ages ago) was both the first time I contributed to an article here, and the first time I freaked out MNW by trying to post a picture of Roberson down on the ground with his leg out of place, and that felt like a good nostalgia moment here. :P

pkloa: I think Brohm has good potential, and I think Purdue fans will be able to chalk up 2019 as an anomaly. Getting the team back to .500 this year, and staying in the 8-10 wins area may be the best he can do for Purdue, but that is a decent accomplishment.

In 2015, Penn State completed the “1” portion of a 2-for-1 with Temple. Matt Rhule had been turning the Owls from an afterthought to an AAC contender. James Franklin started hearing grumbles, specifically about his loyalty to OC John Donovan. Down seven to start the 4th, PSU QB Christian Hackenberg received the snap in shotgun formation. Temple showed pressure, but all but two rushers dropped into coverage… Nope. I thought enough time had passed, and I could talk about this and start healing. I was wrong.

Beez: I’m not ready to declare Brohm the RichRod of Purdue, but this year and next have to be where we see the signs of growth. Brohm seems to be suffering what basically any coach of a not-top-25 team who wants to be top 25 consistently suffers: lack of depth. Purdue has been hit pretty hard by injuries the last couple years, I heard/made up, but at some point they have to build some depth! If we don’t see depth emerging in the next couple years, this experiment may be doomed.

Bad Idea Road Game...Wisconsin hasn’t really done that lately. They’re either playing teams where it’s totally acceptable to lose on the road, or playing teams they can dominate on the road. I’ll say going to nearly every CCG has been a Bad Idea Road Game.

MNW: Damnit, why won’t someone take that delicious, juicy bait?

Also, Candy, don’t you dare. Dear God.

No, I wouldn’t put Brohm in a RichRod-esque spot, but beez raises a good point about a lack of depth and just general non-5*-ness hurting Purdue. Getting recruits like George Karlaftis is great, but it’ll take a lot of those to either crack wisconsin’s dominance or turn 49-20 into more than just a delightful fluke.

Duke somehow does not count as a G5 game, so I will have to rest that vendetta for a few moments. Northwestern in the last decade has not shown any qualms about losing to G5 and FCS teams at home, either, but there IS the sticky issue of the one-off game AT ARMY that Northwestern played in 2011. Why, you ask, would Northwestern do that? No idea. Don’t remember. All I know is that while some alumni friends of mine literally sailed up the Hudson to watch that game in person, the Athletics Department decided to host a “watch party” on the Lakefill, complete with a jumbotron trucked in to show the game, and asked the marching band to stand out there in full uniform to play spirit songs and help with the atmosphere.

Neither Kain Colter nor Trevor Siemian could adequately spell the injured Dan Persa, Northwestern could not stop Trent Steelman if their lives depended on it, and the Rich Ellerson-coached Black Knights held the ball for 40 minutes and beat Northwestern, 21-14. It was hell.

BRT: I’m not totally ready to give up on Brohm. He’s had some bad luck. On the other hand, he’s had some great luck in some exceptional offensive players. I’m not sure he’ll be able to continue regularly recruiting that caliber of athlete to Purdue. It’s hard to get kids excited about four wins in the B1G West, I’d imagine.

As for bad idea road games, I honestly can’t remember the last time Nebraska had a good idea road game, so.

WSR: Brohm is Brohm. He’s an OK coach, but it’s not his fault that Purdue had to pay out the nose because **waves at Darrell Hazell**. You have to pay more to clean up messes, even if it’s way more than you should for mediocrity that followed Bobby Petrino and Willie Taggart (STOP LAUGHING! Willie was really good at WKU). Is he over his head at Purdue? Yes. But he’s also not Darrell Hazell. Maybe someday he’ll learn what a “defense” and “offensive line” are (Is this a Nebraska potluck or a Purdue potluck) and I’ll have to stop making fun of him, but until that time he’s in a bad spot.

Bad road game? We played at Cal and USC. Those are not good road games for Minnesota.

babaoreally: Brohm is a good coach. We haven’t had a good coach in a long time. Even last year, bad record and all, there were some decent games in there and the games were generally fun to watch. I can see that without the crazy injuries and with some development of all of the young players, we should have a decent football team more often than not. That is such a crazy improvement from a few years ago that I am not worried about paying Brohm.

Bad road game? Purdue played at Rice in 2011 as a return game for a game I watched as a student at Purdue in 1998 (the first Brees year). Purdue had ugly black/white uniforms and got beat by Rice. Ugh.

Stew: Fine, I’ll take it. Yes, Brohm could very well be the RichRod of Purdue. But ya know what? RichRod would have been just fine for Purdue. Get to bowl eligibility about half the time and that should be about as good as Purdue could hope for/deserves.

As for bad road games for Iowa, well, Iowa does travel to Ames every other year, that’s never a good idea.

The Food

God bless the ag schools.

There’s a whole page on the Purdue website just devoted to “Inventors and Innovators.” So in honor of some of Purdue’s finest, let’s check out some of the finest foods for which we can thank a Boilermaker:

Today we’ll start with Ruth Siems, the 1953 home economics graduate (oh, 1950s gender roles…) who experimented with cake mixes and flours in her hometown of Evansville before, in 1971, patenting the precise bread crumb dimensions to help create Stove Top stuffing. The instant stuffing treat took off and remains a Kraft Foods fixture today.

In her honor, writers, tell me these things:

(1) Your stuffing/dressing recipe go-to, and

(2) In which Option you would thrive in the 1953-54 Purdue Home Economics degree plan [writer note: Options can be found on 494 (A), 496 (B), 497 (C), 499 (D), 500 (E), 501 (F), 502 (G), 503 (H)]?

pkloa: I feel my stuffing game is surprisingly strong. One of my favorite meals is a chicken “cheese” casserole, with stuffing, Velveeta, and gravy mixed with KFC boneless. Throw in the oven at 359 until perfection.

I use stuffing in place of regular breadcrumbs for meatloaf.

I may have eaten just a box of prepared stuffing for dinner in the last month. I did, and I lived it.

I’m an Option E gal all the way. I’m only in this stupid college because mama said I had to find a quality husband instead of Ted Simmons, whose family is utter trash, so give me the Home Economics General Option. Nice try with the Wardrobe Planning OR Clothes Economy, shitbirds. I have electives, I’m taking both.

Beez: I have never made stuffing in my life. I think I’ve maybe added ingredients to instant stuffing and let someone else make it, but making it myself is just not a thing I’ve experience in life so far.

I’m Option F for sure. It includes a semester of Hygeine, Landscape Gardening, Home Decor essentially, and a mere Physics Outline, rather than having to learn the whole thing. Sign me up.

MNW: Boy, pkloa, if you are in the mood for KFC boneless, just you wait for this afternoon…

First, this is dressing, not stuffing, unless you’re microwaving the stuffing inside of the turkey, in which case I admire you for microwaving the turkey.

Second, I don’t make my own stuffing, though I’d like to learn and/or try someday, because it is literally my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve had a couple recipes with crumbled sausage and cranberries, and I’m looking for something in that oeuvre. (If you’ve got a good recipe, would you share it in the comments?)

FINALLY. Oh man, these courses.

I’m thinking Option B (Dietetics and Nutrition), not because I’m a particularly healthy person but because FN 222—EXPERIMENTAL COOKERY—sounds like something right up my alley. I would’ve been Option D (Food Management), but that looks way too serious for me. I should not be allowed to manage anybody’s food...that is definitely a job for the Ruth Siemses of the world. Thank goodness competent people took these classes and did amazing things for us lazy men.

WSR: I am not allowed to make stuffing at Thanksgiving, because that’s my Aunt’s gig. And you step on the toes of a 4’11” slender mother of 5 boys who are over 6’ and 250 lbs at your own peril. So I don’t really have an opinion here, other than that I like both stuffing and dressing, salmonella be damned.

And as for my course path, gimme that dietetics and nutrition! Being the big dumb animal that I am, that fits perfectly into my plans to Marv Marinovich the hell out of my daughters.

babaoreally: 1) I would make Stove Top stuffing in honor of my great school.

2) I would choose Option B - Dietetics and Nutrition. Contrary to rumor, this course of study has nothing to do with Scientology. I really just want to take FN 520 - Abnormal Nutrition, which I imagine as being 100% about frozen pizzas.

BRT: I’ve only ever made stuffing from a box, so thank you Ruth. I’d be the Clothing and Textiles Plan, because sewing rocks and cooking sucks.

Can I soapbox for a minute? Cool, thanks. I come from a long line of Home Ec/Family and Consumer Science teachers. My grandma was a county extension agent in the 1940s and early 50s, and my mom is a Family and Consumer Science (the current preferred term for Home Ec) teacher in middle and high school. I hated that my mom forced me to learn all of this stuff (even though in protest, I never actually took an FCS class) but am quite grateful now that I know a lot of these basic life skills. Many people dismiss these courses as fluff, but increasingly, teenagers have ZERO idea how to do household chores because their parents don’t or can’t teach them. FCS has actually done a really good job of evolving for the needs of the times in ways that other fields haven’t. FCS classes today are less likely to involve complex clothing pattern adjustments, but DO include such practical life skills as doing laundry, boiling water, cooking eggs, learning budgets, basic nutrition, and human development. It’s basically “Adulting 101.”

Furthermore, “Home Ec” has an interesting historical development. I’ll know more about this later this semester, as I’m preparing a course on the history of the family in the U.S., but home ec grew out of a time when the US was a bit more excited about science than it currently is. The obsession with efficiency and making things “scientific” led to the growth of home economics as a distinct field. And sure, they focused on “running a household” because that was the main option open to women in the early 20th century, but as the decades went on, county extension agents (like my grandma) advised people on things beyond cooking and cleaning. You can still contact your county extension agents for things like learning which vegetables will grow best in your region or how to begin caring for chickens. The internet has lessened the appeal of this somewhat, but you can imagine how helpful this potentially was in pre-internet days.

Of course, there are problematic aspects of the field too, as there are in all fields! Enforcement of gender roles, assumptions about poverty, the lack of extension resources in minority communities and the racial assumptions they brought with them when they did go there… etc. But “Home Ec” has a far more interesting past and useful present than most people imagine. Also, FCS teachers are incredibly brave, as I’m sure most of you would not dare to embark on a class full of 7th graders with sewing machines. :-\

*steps off soapbox*