Taste of the Lions: Where Food and Football Collide
Note from Milk Means More: Milk Means More partners with the Detroit Lions to promote the Fuel Up to Play 60 program in Michigan. This program empowers youth to take action to improve nutrition and physical activity at their school and for their own health. Registered dietitian and chef Jenn Fillenworth (pictured above with Lions player Devon Kennard) attended their annual Taste of the Lions event on our behalf and writes about her experience below.
Every year, Detroit Lions fans gather over a fun-filled night of local food, beverages and meet and greets with past and present players. Some come to get autographs from their favorite players while others go on a foodie adventure. And there is a mix of those eating mac and cheese while waiting in line to meet Devon Kennard. That’s where I fall into the grand scheme of things.
For as long as I can remember, I have been a Lions fanatic. I think it’s ingrained in our Michigan DNA from birth. When I had the opportunity to attend the 2019 Taste of the Lions, my stomach began to roar like a mighty lion. Here are two of my favorite things combined: food and football.
But actually, this night has a much deeper meaning and cause. It’s about raising money for Eastern Market’s community outreach programming. These important outreach programs help to increase access to good food to help create healthier lives in Detroit. Eastern Market does this by delivering fresh and healthy foods to pop-up farm stands in vulnerable neighborhoods and also supports Detroit Community Markets (DCM). What’s not to love about that?
If you didn’t attend the event this year, I’m here to give you a little inside look at all the food and fun that went down at the 7th annual Taste of the Lions.
Let’s set the scene. You walk into Ford Field with your shiny badge that gains you access to the concourse, lined with booth from local restaurants. Then, between these booths are both past and present Detroit Lions players wearing adorable kitchen aprons and ready to meet their fans. Let me tell you, every single conversation I had with a player revolved around food. Isn’t that neat? We all share this universal necessity that also brings us so much joy and happiness and we literally cannot stop talking about it.
The food landscape of the concourse required some serious strength and stamina. I would compare this portion of the event to training for opening day of the 2019 football season. You must pace yourself for 29 different food vendors, with most of them offering multiple food options.
I studied the playbook of vendors and put my plan into action. I feasted upon Slows BBQ mac and cheese, Andiamo’s pan roasted gnocchi, roasted chicken quesadillas from Punch Bowl Social, and ice cream from Treat Dreams. Trust me, there were several other samples in there. I could not resist all these amazing Detroit area bites!
In between bites of delicious food and mingling with players, guests enjoyed live music, photo opportunities and a silent auction. The night went by quickly with all of the amazing entertainment options.
Here’s my pitch to you. If you like food, Detroit Lions football, and supporting the local community, please attend the 2020 Taste of the Lions. You will not be disappointed.
Inspired by the food, football and location, I created a recipe to make for your own tailgating (or other!) party: Tailgating Pierogis. Filled with potatoes and cheese and topped with a beer cheese sauce and homemade pico de gallo, these will be a fan favorite!