Heidi, Football, and Garlic Bread

The Heidi Game, a football game sometimes considered the most exciting regular season game ever played, took place on this date in 1968. The game is known for both its exciting finish as the Oakland Raiders scored two touchdowns in the final minute to overcome a 32-29 NY Jets lead and for NBC’s controversial decision to break away from the game (when the Jets were ahead) to air the television film Heidi. The outrage that ensued caused a change to the way professional football is broadcast.

Initially, NBC executives had ordered that Heidi must begin on time, but given the exciting game, they decided to postpone the start of the film and continue football coverage. But as 7 p.m. approached, so many people called NBC to inquire about the schedule that NBC’s switchboards got jammed and the change couldn’t be communicated. Heidi began as scheduled, preempting the final moments of the game and the two Oakland touchdowns.

The Heidi Game led to a change in the way professional football is televised on network television; games are shown in their entirety before evening programming begins. (That’s why I never know when 60 Minutes is going to start during football season.)

It’s a cloudy day in the northeast and the Jets are scheduled to play the Denver Broncos tonight so …. how to connect Heidi, football, and garlic? Wait for it. Heidi Swanson’s great blog 101 Cookbooks has the following (annotated) recipe for her dad’s garlic bread. Perfect.

My Dad’s Garlic Bread
The size of your baguette will determine how much butter and garlic you’ll use. My dad uses roughly one head of garlic for each stick of butter.

1 loaf artisan French bread or wide baguette
1 – 2 heads of garlic
1 – 2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 bunch of chives (optional)
zest of one lemon (optional)

As told to me by my father. Slice that loaf of bread right up the middle so you have two halves (he uses his serrated knife for this). Now set them on their backs, cut side up. Mince the garlic or push it through one of those crushers – either way is fine. Now add it to the butter you should be melting in a small saucepan.

(This is where he got really animated). Now take a basting brush (or any brush for that matter – pastry, etc) and start slathering the garlic butter all across that bread. Really go for it, let it soak in. He then says to me, “heck, sometimes I even pour it on.” (At which point I can’t help but think that my mom would be mortified). Make sure you get all those garlic chunks evenly distributed. Now sometimes my dad makes a garlic bread in advance and freezes it (don’t ask). If you are going to freeze the bread for later, this is when you do it – you don’t want to bake, then freeze.
He recommends the ‘double-bake’ as he calls it. This is when you bake at a standard temperature (350 degrees) for 10 to 15 minutes to heat the bread (particularly if it is coming out of the freezer), and then brown it off for color under the broiler for a minute or two.

When the bread is finished broiling let it cool for a minute or two. This is when I sprinkle with the lemon zest and chives (and to be honest, I sprinkle a bit of zest on the bread before it goes in the oven too because I like that roasted lemon flavor alongside the garlic.) Slice and serve.

The short version of this recipe: 
Cut, slather, bake, brown, slice.


One response to “Heidi, Football, and Garlic Bread

  1. Robin, terrific! Now I have to get in the car and go back out to buy a baguette because I don’t think I can make it through the night without garlic bread.

    Really, great article.


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