Food And Football – Spice Up Your Viewing Of Oregon Vs. Stanford By Making Mission Burritos

This week at Food and Football, we are taking a look at the Oregon Ducks, who travel down to Palo Alto to take on the Stanford Cardinal. This is what some might call a “trap” game, meaning a game that the better team (Oregon) should win handily, but which could become a problem if they do not take it seriously enough.

Oregon is off to a red-hot, 4-0 start. Of course, their signature win is their road victory over the formidable Ohio State Buckeyes, which should go down in recent history as one of their better wins. Based on their success so far, Oregon is ranked the third-best team in the country and will continue to be held in such high regard, assuming they can continue to take care of business with the rest of their opponents this season. At this point, they are considered a College Football Playoff team.

Enter the Stanford Cardinal, who have many motivations to rain on the Ducks’ parade. First, there is the unwritten rule that when your own season is not going well, and an opponent’s is, the most satisfying option is to try and ruin their season, even if it doesn’t entirely salvage your own (Stanford has already lost two games, all but eliminating them from playoff contention). Secondly, Stanford has some major reputation restoring to undertake, regardless of how good the Ducks might be.

The short history is that Stanford became one of the best teams in college football a decade ago, under then-head coach Jim Harbaugh. They had a quarterback named Andrew Luck, whose name might ring a bell. After Harbaugh and Luck moved on to the NFL, the improbable happened. Stanford hired a new coach and continued to be as good if not better than before, primarily because of generational players—not to mention current NFL stars—like running back Christian McCaffrey.

But for the last couple of years, Stanford seems to have reverted to its old, mediocre self, much to the dismay of its players, fans, and alumni. You can bet that Stanford head coach David Shaw is working furiously at this very minute to try and do to Oregon what Oregon did to Ohio State.

What kinds of regional foods are there in the Bay Area, where Stanford is located?

There’s nothing more affordable, delicious, and ubiquitous than the Mission burrito, which comes from the Mission District in San Francisco, though it can be found at taquerias throughout the region. The Mission burrito differs from other burritos in that it is eaten out of hand, wrapped in tinfoil, and is typically stuffed with beans, rice, meat, and condiments such as salsa and sour cream.

There is nothing like eating a Mission burrito in San Francisco, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make one yourself. Here’s a cool video that gives you the history, context, and preparation method for this unique dish.

If you want to enjoy your very own Mission burritos this weekend while watching the Oregon game, here are some tips:

  • Buy some marinated carne asada, or make your own with skirt steak, fresh lime, garlic and jalapenos
  • Start with dried pinto beans, soak them overnight, and cook them slowly until they are plump, tender, and still intact
  • Find the absolute largest tortillas you can find. XXL or something equivalent
  • After rolling your burrito in aluminum foil, heat it slowly on a griddle or in a skillet to get the tortilla golden brown for extra flavor and texture

While there are no guarantees that Oregon will keep rolling—see what we did there—you can at least make sure that your belly is stuffed if you treat yourself to one of these burritos.

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About Paul Redman 122 Articles
Paul Redman is a writer and chef in Seattle who grew up in the Midwest. His work has appeared in print and online, including San Francisco magazine, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and Contrary. He eats too many chicken wings and cracks way too many dad jokes and food puns. Follow him on Twitter @predman.