Fan fare: BYU-Utah rivalry now extends to cookbooks

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 24 2010 3:00 p.m. MDT

Rise and shout, the cookbooks are out!

The Utah-BYU football rivalry is always hotly debated. Now you can put some of that heat to good use in the kitchen with "The Brigham Young University Cougars Cookbook" and "University of Utah Utes Cookbook," both by Jenny Ahlstrom Stanger (Gibbs-Smith, $14.95 each).

Fans can cook up dishes dedicated to their favorite teams for tailgating and TV watching, such as Blue Zone BBQ Chicken Salad, Helaman Hall Hoagies, Whack-a-Coug Wraps and Mighty Ute Meatballs.

"They're all winners for tailgate parties, and they all can serve large groups of people and are easy to transport," Stanger said.

Some of the recipes are familiar favorites given fan-themed titles, such as BYU Hawaiian Haystacks or Utah Man Sliders, which are mini sloppy joes. The Crimson Night Chicken Puffs are a version of Savory Crescent Chicken Squares, which became a classic after winning the 1974 Pillsbury Bake-off. Dried cranberries give them their crimson appeal.

Stanger said she was approached about writing a BYU cookbook by editors at Gibbs-Smith Publisher, whom she met while seeking a publisher for her first book, "Fabulous Freezer Meals" (Brigham Distributing, $17.95).

Stanger, who lives in Elwood, is a BYU graduate in family life education, and has taught cooking classes at Thanksgiving Point and other venues.

After the BYU book, she was asked to do the Utes cookbook.

Stanger said the BYU book captures her favorite memories with food.

"For as long as I can remember, I've attended BYU football games with my grandpa, my parents, and then as a BYU student."

She attended BYU-Hawaii for two years and worked as an Especially For Youth counselor at BYU-Idaho, so she was familiar with both of those campuses, as well.

"I have a very good memory for food, smells and tastes. And it seems most of the BYU events I've been involved with, they have served similar food such as mint brownies, sugar cookies, sparkle punch or BYU Creamery ice cream," she said.

The Popcorn Popping Balls comes from the song "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree" sung at football games. Happy Valley Fudge was inspired by the "to-die-for" fudge sold in the BYU Bookstore, she said.

"The Carillon Bell Tower Breadsticks are similar to The Pizza Factory breadsticks sold down the street from BYU," she said. "That's where my husband first met my parents. It was on our second date, and it wasn't planned. And I was rather embarrassed."

The Snickers Salad may sound like an odd combination — it's slices of apple and candy bar pieces smothered in whipped cream. "But it's really good. It's one of the best things I ate at BYU-Idaho."

Her "Y" Mountain Trail Mix was inspired by many hot and sweaty hikes up "Y" mountain. The Wagon Wheel Wraps came from the BYU/Utah State rivalry for the Old Wagon Wheel, a tradition since 1922.

"Also the Holy War Hot Dogs were inspired by J Dawgs on the corner of BYU campus," said Stanger. "Our family loves the Helaman Hall Hoagies. We could eat one of those every day."

Although her roots are with BYU, Stanger contends she's a fan of both schools.

"Some of my favorite memories have happened at the University of Utah. My dream came true to dance in a large kickline with my drill team during our high school state basketball tournament at the U., and I got to attend the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Olympics at Rice-Eccles Stadium. I also met my first boyfriend on campus at the U."

Since Stanger wasn't as familiar with the U.'s food traditions, she talked to students and members of the Alumni Association and the Crimson Club. Ki-Yi Fries came from the Ute's fight song.