"Part of this D-minus belongs to God."
The book that I was sent was called: The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine by Bennett Jacobstein. Baseball and food. With pictures. I haven't had such a bonding experience with a book since someone sent me a recipe for al pastor years back.
I have always been somewhat of a ballpark food purist-- although traditionalist is the better word, as "pure" cannot be used to describe anything I normally eat at a ballgame. When I take my toddlers to a game I give them a steady diet of peanuts in a shell, hot dogs with mustard, and a box of Cracker Jack. This to me is as fundamentally important to baseball as good defense and base running. My kids may never grow up to be three-tool ball players, but they will know the three essential foods of the best baseball fans.
Mr. Jacobstein starts out his master work by underscoring these important traditions as well. He does a great job of presenting a good bit of baseball food history, including a fascinating look back at the origins of the hot dog. Then he gets into the meat of the book: an exhausting list of unique ballpark foods from every single stadium in the country.
Over the years I have taken advantage of the fact that Coors Field allows its fans to walk in with just about anything that isn't in a glass bottle. I have strolled through the Blake St. gates with Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, tacos, burritos, and even a full pizza in a box. But that has also kept me from experiencing some items that I didn't know were even available to me that Mr. Jacobstein so kindly highlights in his book, such as chocolate bacon.
Other highlights and obscurities were Koren tacos in Baltimore's Camden Yards, or a bloody Mary that comes garnished with a full-sized bratwurst in the Twin Cities. Indeed, Mr. Jacobstein has done some enviable research and presents it all in a easily digestible format (pun absolutely intended). It is certainly worth checking out, and has already become a staple on my coffee table. He was kind enough to offer a free e-copy of his work, which I will pass along to the best answer to one of the following questions:
What is your favorite baseball food?
What food brings you the best baseball memory?
Just send me an email or leave a comment below (though I will need an email at some point to get you the book) and my favorite answer will become the lucky owner of a virtual copy of Ballpark Food.