The Times West Virginian

September 7, 2011

Tailgating fun

By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — (Editor’s note: The “My Favorite Recipe” food for September is tailgating food. Send your favorite homemade recipes to Debbie Wilson at

For Budd and Robin Sapp, tailgating at Fairmont State and WVU football games is almost as much fun as going to the games themselves.

A proud FSU grad, Budd is a professor in the School of Education, serves on the FSU Athletic Association board and is active with the FSU Alumni Association. He also taught and coached at North Marion for 17 years before this.

Robin is an X-ray tech at Fairmont General Hospital.

Budd said he likes Fairmont State for its small campus atmosphere.

“You get to know your professors and they get to know you. Everybody seems to look out for you and take care of you. There’s a community atmosphere. That’s the special thing about Fairmont State.”

They go to as many home FSU games as they can. If they’re not at Duvall-Rosier Field, on WVU game days you just might find them at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown.

What if both school have home games on the same day at the same time?

“It just depends on what’s going on with our daughters (Brigitte and Brooklyn) in Morgantown,” Budd said. “We might go to WVU and not Fairmont State. We’re not die hard. We have no preference.

“We just enjoy having people come to our tailgate.”

Of course, they were at the Falcons’ first home game Thursday, in their usual spot up near the press box.

“We had a good crowd, too,” he said. They’ve been tailgating since 2003, so they know what to bring.

Last week they took homemade pulled pork sandwiches and cole slaw, with some taco soup on the side. But if the week is a busy one, they might take just pizza and pepperoni rolls, Robin said. When it’s colder, she might bring some hot wassail in the slow cooker.

Sometimes friends call to see what they can bring.

Add some beverages and chips, and you’ve got a party.

“People know casually to come by,” Budd said. “If they don’t have something that we have, they’ll come over. It’s like a party.”

Robin got the recipe for the pulled pork from their younger daughter, Brooklyn, who is somewhat of a foodie.

“She’s definitely the cook in the family,” she said.

“We made about 10 pounds for Brigitte’s 25th birthday party and there was not much left,” Robin said with a laugh.

“Yeah, one friend ate five sandwiches. Needless to say, it was a big hit. And at the tailgate Thursday, most came back for more.”

Budd thinks the pulled pork is good. But don’t take just his word for it.

“That was the first time we made it,” he said. “All her friends liked it. So we figured if we brought it to the tailgate, we’d get the same kind of reaction.”

And they did.

Robin likes to cook as well. Her family has two holiday favorites: french toast with pecans and cinnamon for Christmas morning, and a unique way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers: baked shells stuffed with turkey and dressing, and covered with cream of chicken soup and Parmesan cheese.

Because his father died when he was 6, Budd was raised in his mother’s Italian family.

“She had three brothers and four sisters. My mom, aunts and grandmother made everything from scratch, from pasta to meatballs.”

From his family, Robin learned to make Italian delicacies like biscotti and pizzelles.

“When everyone was younger and in good health, we invited them here and videotaped them making all these different recipes,” Budd said.

“They didn’t have recipes. It was just a pinch of this, a pinch of that,” he added. “We tried to capture some of the more famous things they made, for a record for everybody.”

Robin’s mother, Mary Louise Dalton, also cooks, making good homemade cobbler.

“Yeah, we eat a little eclectic, a mixture of foods,” Budd said.

“All of our recipes we get from friends, online, magazines or the Times,” Robin said.

Sometimes she tweaks those recipes, such as adding sausage and pepperoni to a rigatoni recipe.

Sometimes, if it’s a noon game, they'll make a breakfast tailgate with that Christmas french toast, a baked dish of bacon, potatoes, peppers and cheese, or a quiche-like concoction of sausage, eggs, milk and peppers.

And sometimes, if the girls want, they’ll make the breakfast for them.

“Yeah. They’ll call and say they’re tired of the pulled pork or whatever, and say, ‘We want to do a breakfast tailgate.’

“And when they say, ‘We want to do it,’ that’s normally us,” he said, laughing.

The contest for September is tailgating food. To be featured on the “My Favorite Recipe” page, contact Debbie Wilson at 304-367-2549 or

Email Debra Minor Wilson at