Katie and Jim Hamann and their son Caleb were about to pull out of their driveway to go to the Naperville home of Katie’s parents when Jim suddenly remembered something.
“I forgot something important,” he said dashing out of the car. He returned with a Chicago Bears flag to attach to the car. The family then could be on its way to enjoy an afternoon of good food and football.
Enjoying a meal and the Bears game together is a Hornbeck family tradition. Katie, 32, grew up in Naperville and married a man who fortunately is also a Bears fan. The couple is carrying on the tradition with 18-month-old Caleb who has his own kid-sized jersey.
“His first birthday party was a Bears-themed event where we saw the Bears beat the Vikings,” Katie says.
Whenever they can, Katie and Jim join Katie’s parents, Becky and Skip Hornbeck, and other family members and friends to cheer on the Chicago team. Everyone wears a Bears shirt, including the family dogs. There is always a great picture on the television, a comfy couch and “food and drink and meat,” says Katie, of Schaumburg. Jim makes Bloody Marys to get things started, while Katie and her mom, Becky, make sure there are multiple appetizers. The main dish comes out at half-time.
Becky, 60, enjoys sharing recipes with her daughter Katie. Her son and another daughter and her family join in the fun when they can also. Over the years, the family has compiled a large file of football-friendly foods.
The mother-and-daughter team enjoys finding ways to carry out the football theme in their food choices. For example, for last Sunday’s game, Katie spread her guacamole on a rectangular platter to simulate the playing field and then piped on sour cream yard lines. The final touch was a center-line “C” for Chicago fashioned from cheese. Served with chips, the appetizer was well received.
Becky once created a playing field table by rolling out a green paper tablecloth marked with yard lines, which also pleased the football fans.
Pulled pork made in a slow cooker is one of the favorite main dishes. Becky starts with a pork shoulder rubbed with blackened meat rub from Casey’s Foods in Naperville. She adds salt and pepper to taste and a little garlic powder, and then places the meat into a slow cooker.
“I throw in some sliced onions and then pour in one to two cans of root beer to cover the meat. I cook it until it is tender on low for about five to six hours — until it begins to fall apart,” she explains.
Becky then uses two forks to shred the meat and adds barbecue sauce, a few tablespoons of liquid smoke and some hot sauce. Served on a hearty bun, the pulled pork always scores a touchdown with her guests.
Both Katie and Becky agree that the key to enjoying a Bears game is “food and a positive attitude.” The two had a difficult time picking two recipes to share but decided on an easy make-ahead tortellini appetizer and a hearty black bean soup as their perfect game plan. Their menu was a success because the Bears beat the Bengals, 24 to 21.