Cue the “Mission: Impossible” music.
“Your mission, Mr. Lendon, should you accept it, is to attend one of the world’s foremost sporting events and eat from the concessions all day for under $15.”
This is crazy, I say to myself. Can’t be done. For the 2014 Super Bowl, a single "premium canned beer" was $14 (making bottled beer seem like a relative bargain at $14), a soda $6. At a regular season L.A. Dodgers game, all-you-can-eat pavilion seating starts at $30 and goes up from there.
And this is the annual Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club, the best of the best for golf. Nevertheless, I set off on my mission.
Mission log follows.
Once upon a time, I had a perfect romantic meal. It was ten years ago, but that doesn't much matter. The restaurant, by design, existed outside of time – mid-century French fanciness, untouched by fad or fashion. It seemed not outside the realm of possibility that the same tuxedoed waiters had been escorting the same fresh-faced and helium-bosomed young ladies (and their uncomfortably collared "uncles") to starched and sumptuous banquettes since the restaurant's opening in 1960, and that the maitre d' had air-kissed the same doyenne's surgically-taut cheek with the exact vim and deference he had since the year her Chanel suit was new.
It was Valentine's Day, and for a girl who frequently sported combat boots and a battle-scarred heart, this was as close to Hollywood l'amour as I'd ever gotten. In previous Februaries, I'd poured my heart into handmade cards, meticulously-chosen poetry volumes (and the occasional glass of single malt for myself), and had received, on various occasions a power drill, "I dunno - where do you wanna eat?", "Oh shoot...we're doing this?" and inevitably the bill for whatever entertainment ensued.
If there's dip on the table, you know you're at a party. If there are at least three varieties present, that party is probably for bowl game - and lucky you.
People don't go making dips all willy-nilly for a weeknight meal or a prim Sunday brunch. They're reserved for gloppy, sloppy abandon in the company of other revelers and these dips should not hold back. We repeat - they should not hold back.
Food editors like us are bombarded with recipe suggestions from celebrity chefs and product representatives touting non-fat, mayo-free, cheese-free, joy-free options for game day. We maintain that if you're eating sensibly the other 365 days of 2012 (okay - 362, because what fun is life if you can't go a little nuts on Thanksgiving, your birthday or New Year's Eve?), a little sour cream on a Frito isn't going to spell your demise. (Though apparently insufficient safety procedures might.)
So go ahead and get dippy with it, and scoop up a few of our favorite recipes from dip devotees Richard Blais, Eva Longoria, John Currence, Marcela Valladolid and our very own recipe boxes.
Food in the Field gives a sneak peek into what CNN's team is eating, and the food culture they encounter as they travel the globe.
CNN International sports correspondent Patrick Snell samples the classic pimento cheese sandwich at The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia - for "work purposes," you understand.