This week at Food and Football, we will indeed look at a game and pair it with a dish, but we would be remiss if we did not direct our focus toward the mess on Montlake.
This refers, of course, to the shocking, mid-season firing of Washington Huskies head coach Jimmy Lake, who lasted only 13 games into his tenure after physically abusing his own player, linebacker Ruperake Fuavai, on live television during the loss to Oregon two weeks ago.
It didn’t take Washington athletic director Jennifer Cohen long to put Lake on a one-week suspension after the incident. Lake was ostensibly supposed to return to coaching after this absence, but he didn’t even last the full seven days.
This was the appropriate response by Cohen, given that a football coach and leader of college-age men should not be going around abusing his players, or anyone for that matter.
But what’s so astounding is how short Lake’s tenure at Washington was. Lake was just hired at the end of 2019 as the replacement for Chris Petersen, the winningest Washington coach in recent memory. Lake was Petersen’s protégé, carefully groomed—or so we thought—to carry on his legacy.
It’s surreal when you juxtapose Lake’s dismissal alongside the firing last month of Washington State Cougars head coach Nick Rolovich, who was let go after failing to comply with the state vaccine mandate. Rolovich was also just hired after the 2019 season after Mike Leach left. Leach, like Petersen, was the winningest Washington State coach in recent memory.
Lake and Rolovich were the heirs apparent to successful empires. They both squandered their fortunes before ever even meeting on the field to face each other since the truncated 2020 season did not include an Apple Cup.
Even Icarus, who flew too close to the sun and caused his wax wings to melt, had a slower descent than these two.
This leads us to this week’s matchup, which has Washington traveling to Boulder to face the Colorado Buffaloes under interim head coach Bob Gregory. And though Husky nation would just as soon put this mess behind them, unfortunately, this story will follow them around like a ball and chain, at least until they can hire a permanent coach and let the lingering stench of the Lake era dissipate.
We’re not going to focus too much on the Washington-Colorado game itself since it involves two mediocre Pac-12 teams, both of whom will be lucky to cross the six-game threshold of bowl eligibility, which is a significant way that legitimacy is acquired in the strange realm of college football.
Let’s jump to the food!
We are preparing one of the most satisfying foods you will encounter in the Centennial State, Chili Verde. And yes, this dish originates from New Mexico, but it is also ubiquitous in Colorado.
To prime the pump, let’s check out a video from perhaps America’s most-followed food writer and chef, Kenji Lopez-Alt, who incidentally just relocated to the PNW and has been burning up IG with his culinary adventures. Kenji dials up a delectable version of Chile Verde, to which we will add a bit more context and advice:
- Definitely roll with some fresh green chiles. Sure, the late summer/early fall is the best time to get the hatch chilis from New Mexico, but you can find any variety of tasty green chili peppers year-round at the store
- The technique of roasting chilis, tomatillos, onions and garlic until charred and blistered, followed by pureeing them into your soup/stew base, is one of the cornerstones of Mexican cooking, which is the antecedent to this Southwest specialty
- Make sure you’ve got lots of garnishes on hand, of the same variety you might put on any bowl of chili: cheese, onions, cilantro, perhaps even tortilla chips for some crunch
It will be a long time before things start to feel like normal again around the Huskies program. But that doesn’t mean we can’t move forward with our lives. There is football to watch. And steaming bowls of Green Chili to eat while you’re doing it.