> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Recipe Weekend/ Cookbook Review: Taste of the Town by Todd Blackledge, JR Rosenthal & Bryan Jaroch
Saturday, November 9, 2013

Recipe Weekend/ Cookbook Review: Taste of the Town by Todd Blackledge, JR Rosenthal & Bryan Jaroch

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from 2nd Street Press, via Hachette Publishing, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

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As the old saying goes, " If it's Fall in  the South, then it's FOOTBALL Season!"

And today's book is the perfect one to epitome that thought!

Taste of the Town  cover

College football culture is captured through the food, small town characters, and college life that makes Saturdays in autumn something fans look forward to every year.

In TASTE OF THE TOWN, Todd Blackledge, host of the enormously popular ESPN segment "Taste of the Town," focuses on popular college towns by telling you where to eat, what to eat, and great stories about college football traditions across America. With over 100 recipes from the chefs of the featured restaurants and the coach (or wife) of the hometown team you will be left hungry and excited to try out the popular football food for yourselves!

Behind-the-scenes photos, shot on location, enhance the energy of the fun and food featured in each town. This book about football, food, and college culture showcases the coaches, players, chefs, and rabid fans who regularly join together to talk about their common passion.

I don't think I saw this book when it came in for about 2 weeks- Dad saw it and ran off with it! That should tell you right there how well the men in your life are gonna like the tales and recipes in this book! I have to admit I have NOT watched the show before reading the book! I know, bad blogger, but I'm not a big ESPN watcher! 

The book is divided into sections: The SEC (including LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Mississippi State), 
Texas and the South (including Florida, Clemson and East Carolina), and The Best of the Rest (including Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Washington, and Boston). These are followed by recipes from Coaches and the Blackledge family. Each chapter focuses on a college and 3/4 of the choice eateries nearby, with recipes, and tales from the area. Also included is a glossary of all the restaurants included in the book, with their addresses.

The recipes are great, but they aren't tailgating fare for the most part- they are for home cooking! This is a great book to give as a holiday present to the college football fan. My only gripe with the book, is that I wish it was a full color book- as many of the pictures don't do justice to the food in black and white! You can check out the Taste of the Town Instagram Pinterest Board to see many of the pictures, and see what I mean! For instance, the Thurminator (from Thurman Cafe, OH) looks much more appetizing in color!

 It was pretty hard to pull one to share with you today, as they are ALL super yummy, but I decided we had to rep the SEC,  and since Nick Saban was at LSU (defected to Alabama), his recipe was the one, since it was perfect for chilly Fall evenings and is SUPER easy to fix (and great for leftover post holiday meals!), for busy Moms!

Teri Saban's Ham Soup

1 ham bone 
2 cups chopped ham 
1 can Ro-Tel Mild diced tomatoes and chilies
1 tbsp chicken bouillon cube (note- we use Knorr  in our soups now) 
1 medium chopped onion 
2 carrots, chopped 
1 celery stalk, chopped 
3 potatoes, chopped 
1 tablespoon sugar 4 cups water 

1. Fill a large post with the water, then add all the ingredients. 
2. Boil soup until the vegetables are tender (about 6 minutes), and enjoy! 

Now how was that for easy peasy? 

About the Authors
Todd Blackledge: was a three year starting QB for Penn State before being drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1983. After seven NFL seasons with the Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers, he began a career as a college football analyst, working for the Big East Television Network, ABC Sports and CBS Sports. Since 2006 he has worked for ESPN calling Saturday Night Primetime games with Mike Patrick and currently Brad Nessler, and launched "Taste of the Town" in 2007. Todd lives in Canton, OH with his wife and four sons. Check out the Taste of the Town website for more info on the show, and recipes too!

JR Rosenthal: has a master's of science in journalism from Northwestern University and has written eleven books, including Nolan Ryan's Pitcher's Bible, Randy Johnson's Power Pitching, Don Mattingly's Hitting is Simple, Pitch Like a Pro with Leo Mazzone and Tony Gwynn's Total Baseball Player. He also is an accomplished chef and is currently working with Nolan Ryan on a cookbook/cattle ranching memoir.

About the Photographer
 Bryan Jaroch graduated from Hamilton College with a bachelor's  degree in Psychology in 1997. He is currently a Producer at ESPN, where he has worked since 1999. He produced "Taste of the Town" segments during the 2008 and 2010 college football seasons, and took hundreds of behind-the-scenes still photos. The photos from the 2008 season were featured in an article on ESPN.com. Since then he has published several photographs in travel guides and continues to expand his photography portfolio. Bryan lives in West Hartford, Connecticut, with his wife and son.


  1. The soup recipe sounds quite delicious. Its been on the warmer side here in CA but I'm sure it will only be a matter of time until there is a perfect soup making day.

  2. This sounds like a great cookbook and one that I would enjoy. I can also think of a couple of people that it would make a great gift for. The ham soup recipe sounds delicious.

  3. This sounds like a real guy cookbook! Might make a great gift. Thanks for sharing the recipe!


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