Second Annual Hail Varsity Food Issue Arrives This Week
Photo Credit: Paul Bellinger

Second Annual Hail Varsity Food Issue Arrives This Week

September 17, 2019

They said it couldn’t be done. Two issues, in back-to-back years, from a local sports publication focused on the intersection of two of our favorite things, Husker athletics and food? No way.

OK, fine, nobody said that. In fact, our first Food Issue last September was met with a good reception, so we made another one. As an introduction to what you’ll find, here’s my Letter from the Sept. 2019 issue.

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Have you ever stopped to consider just how much food it takes to feed four major-college offensive linemen? If you haven’t, you’ll never need to after you read staff writer Derek Peterson’s story on what it was like in the Farniok household as Tom (Iowa State), Derek (Oklahoma), Matt and Will (Nebraska, of course) grew to Power 5 size. You may have bought in bulk before, but not like this.

That kind of story was made for this issue, our second annual food-focused outing. Last year’s version, which featured recipes from Nebraska’s coaching staff, went well enough that we went back for seconds this year.

In addition to Derek’s story on the Farnioks’ hungry household, deputy editor Erin Sorensen picked up on an interesting thing happening at the Nebraska training table last spring while reporting a feature on Adrian Martinez—there’s actual training going on there. Yes, Nebraska’s athletes are fed well and don’t lack for choice, but director of performance nutrition Dave Ellis isn’t just trying to fuel better linebackers and liberos. He’s also trying to set these young athletes up with skills that will benefit them beyond their playing days. Erin offers an interesting look at how Nebraska’s new make-your-own stations—where you might find defensive linemen preparing their own sushi—help achieve both goals. 

There’s a recruiting link here, too, as Greg Smith asked some recent Husker football signees, and their parents, how Ellis’s pitch set Nebraska apart from other schools. You’ll find that in Greg’s recruiting notebook.

And finally, on the food front at least, there was the cliffhanger from last September. In this space a year ago I wrote about how football and food are a particularly great pairing: At the end of putting this issue together we found that the two topics actually do go together like chili and cinnamon rolls. That’s a topic we’ll definitely tackle next year around this time.

This time around, we did, debating the solidly Nebraskan combination among our staff. We’ve got believers in this combo and non-believers alike, Nebraskans and non-Nebraskans, fans of one but not the other and those who can’t separate the two.

Now that we’ve made good on that promise—and, really, it was mostly a promise to myself as I care a lot about this topic—what’s next? Another Food Issue next year, of course. We have too much fun not to do it.

But this time I want to hear from you. Where do the Venn diagrams of Husker sports and food overlap? We’ve tackled Nebraska “delicacies” such as hamburger pizza, Runzas and the aforementioned chili and cinnamon rolls; what do you want to see next?

If you’ve got a great food idea, let me know about it at Until then, enjoy this issue.

But be careful. It will make you hungry. Having snacks nearby is highly recommended.

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