The Golfavore’s Dilemma

I’m not a survivalist, but I sometimes wonder whether I could get by as a golfavore: a person who eats only foods available on his golf course. There are fish in the pond and turkeys in the woods, and I’d always have plenty of venison. Berries near the fourth and fifth tees. Corn in the field you drive through to get to the driving range. And, if the alternative was starvation, tons of acorns.

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Recently, I made Golf-Course Apple Crisp, using apples from a tree at the bottom of the second fairway and crab apples from a tree between the seventh green and the eighth tee. I gathered the raw ingredients in the optional “shelf” of my Big Max Blade + pushcart:

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And I adapted the apple-crisp recipe from the first edition of my wife’s first cookbook, Beat This, which the novelist Elizabeth Berg once described on NPR as “the book I have probably recommended more than any other”:

Hodgman-Apple-Crisp

I tested it on my wife and me first. It was really, really good: the crab apples, which in our area have been superabundant and enormous this year, added the perfect amount of tartness. Then I made it again, for the old ladies I play bridge with, at our regular Thursday-night potluck dinner and bridge game.

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As the bridge ladies and I were getting stuff ready in the kitchen, one of them knocked my apple-crisp pan, which I hadn’t cooked yet, onto the floor, and it landed upside down. So we did exactly what my golf buddies and I would have done: we used spatulas to scrape up the sliced apples and the brown-sugar-and-oatmeal topping, along with unknown quantities of dirt, sand, rug fuzz, dog hair, spilled dishwasher detergent, and who knows what else, and dumped everything back in the pan. Then we baked it and ate it anyway, with Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream, and it was really, really good.

My golf group and my bridge group aren’t all that different, even though in my golf group I’m kind of old and there are no women, while in my bridge group I’m the youngest and there are usually no other men. The language is essentially the same. Carol, who is my mother’s age, was a schoolteacher many years ago. One day, she went to work in a white blouse, red slacks, and blue-and-white spectator pumps. A little boy ran into her in the hall, looked up at her in awe, and said, “Miss, you look like a fuckin’ flag.”

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Two Great Golf Recipes

Bob, eating a cookie.

Last month, my club beat our No. 2 enemy club in a tournament named after our retired superintendent, who is shown eating a cookie in the photo above. (You can read more about him here, in an essay I wrote for Golf Digest ten years ago.) The tournament is named after him because before he came to work at our club, in the mid-1960s, he worked at their club. Our victory gave us a sweep of this year’s majors in our area: our two big annual men’s inter-club matches and a regional senior tournament, in which last year’s winners were so confident they’d win again that they’d already had their name engraved on the cup. Now we have to get that removed.

One of the best things about our match with our No. 2 enemy club is the soup that Dan, who works there, always prepares for the competitors:

Dan, in the tournament kitchen.

Dan’s soup has two ingredients: (1) clam chowder, and (2) hot sauce. You add the hot sauce yourself:

Note the recycled plastic-spoon holder, far right.

Hot sauce keeps clam chowder—which I like—from tasting a little bit like library paste.

My wife, Ann Hodgman—who has written several cookbooks, among many other things—has an even better golf recipe, which is in the 2011 edition of her first cookbook, Beat This! It’s for deep-fried dill pickles, and it’s from Robert Johnson, who used to be a chef at Augusta National. Ann wrote, “Since the recipe the chef gave me might be too challenging for people unused to deep-frying (‘add as much Cholula hot sauce as you will like to use’), I’ve expanded it a bit.” The complete recipe is on pages 122-23. If you give the book to the person in your house who does the cooking, maybe you’ll get to have them for Thanksgiving.