Take Me Out to the Ball Game (but don’t forget to feed me!)

Fenway Park (Courtesy of the Boston Red Sox)

My nephew is in love with his Little League team and has started to watch grownup baseball on TV. For a non-sports fan like me this is trying: I’m only just now recovering from being subjected to hockey and basketball games!
I can always cook, however.
In honor of baseball season, then, my next few recipes will be for foods that are popular at ballparks—particularly at my state’s own Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.
I called the publicity folks at Fenway, who were nice enough to provide me with a little information about their current menu.
Not surprisingly, the most popular food item sold at the ballpark is the hot dog. On Opening Day alone this year the concessionaires estimated that they sold more than 23,000 Fenway Franks.
Other popular items include pizza, hamburgers, nachos, soft pretzels, and funnel cakes.
In keeping with trends across the country, Fenway has begun to feature more healthy foods on its menu—vegetarian sandwiches and salads, yogurt, hummus with crackers, and fresh fruit.
I asked Fenway’s historian, Dick Bresciani, whether he had any information about what was served during the park’s first season in 1912. In that year the Red Sox beat the New York Giants to win the tenth World Series. 

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library Print Department

Unfortunately, Dick had no documentation about food from that year. He did share with me the earliest material he could find, from the official 1927 Fenway program.
In it Fenway advertised Neapolitan Ice Cream, “sold exclusively within Fenway Park.” “Always fresh and wholesome,” read the advertisement. “Order from the boy.”
Other treats included Oh Henry Bars (ten cents), White Rock Mineral Water and Ginger Ale, and Wrigley’s Double Mint Chewing Gum. “The real peppermint flavor is deliciously cooling to parched throats!” the program boasted.
I almost made Neapolitan ice cream but decided that the challenge of lining up separate ice-cream makers for the three flavors was beyond me.
Instead, I’m helping readers make a refreshing glass of freshly squeezed lemonade—the perfect drink throughout baseball season.
I promise you’ll hit a home run with it!
This recipe is quite flexible. Taste the lemonade before you serve it and see what suits you best.
Some of my family members like it with more lemon; some (Michael!), with a little more sugar syrup. You may also make it a little stronger or a little weaker.
I like it just the way it is here.
Ballpark Lemonade
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, more or less to taste
3 tablespoons simple syrup (equal parts of water and sugar, brought to a boil and heated until the sugar dissolves), more or less to taste
water as needed
mint for garnish (optional)
Place ice in a 12-ounce glass. Add the lemon juice, sugar, and water, and stir gently to blend. Taste and adjust flavors. Garnish with mint if desired.
Makes 1 glass.

Psyche, the White Rock Logo, in the 1920s

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4 Responses to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game (but don’t forget to feed me!)”

  1. flaneur says:

    I went to my first Yankees home game in the Bronx in 1960. I remember my Dad pointing out Yogi Berra (number 8), Mickey Mantle (number 7), Roger Maris (number 9) and Whitey Ford (number 16). I needed the help because although I traded baseball cards with my friends (truth be told it was the bubble gum, not the endless tables of batting records and statistics that appealed), and would have known the players’ numbers immediately, my father discovered that from reading my eyes had been strained and I needed glasses. Apparently this is common: kids go from “learning to read” to “reading to learn” and their eyesight suffers. I was looking at a Manhattan eye doctor’s chart the very next day.

    I have no recollection of who won the game; what I do remember was that one could get a hot dog, and that popcorn and peanuts and sodas were also available. At my age the availability of beer was of no concern. I don’t recall that the food was particularly appealing, however. Nor was it outlandish – a circus midway always featured vivid clouds of cotton candy and lurid syrups poured over cones of shaved ice. I’m sure I had a hotdog, its taste now blurred among the memory of hundreds if not thousands of hotdogs consumed as a kid. But what really impressed me was the skill with which the vendors climbed up and down the perilous steps in the old Yankee Stadium, delivering food to the fans. The prospect of climbing all afternoon while carrying an ample supply of hotdogs, condiments and paper napkins, of taking orders and making change, and of bellowing “Hotdogs!” was daunting.

    Edmund Hillary had conquered Everest only seven years before I scaled the steps of Yankee Stadium seating, but he didn’t have to confront the crowds at an afternoon ball game. Of course he didn’t have hotdogs, popcorn or peanuts, either. Everest or Yankee Stadium? I’d take a ball game any day, but food eaten in the fresh air always tastes better (except perhaps at 29,000 feet above sea level). Maybe Tinky’s next outdoor food post will be about foods to bring to the beach? Now there’s a place where food becomes magnificent!

  2. I love to go to baseball games at the ballpark but you couldn’t pay me to watch it on TV. Dead boring on TV. You’re a good aunt to watch with Michael. If there’s homemade lemonade and a hot dog involved I suppose I might be persuaded.

  3. I am a huge baseball fan, always have been. I’m convinced it’s in my blood. So I really enjoyed your post…plus I had forgotten all about Oh Henry candy bars-They’re my favorite! Thanks!

  4. commonweeder says:

    I am not much of a baseball fan – or any ball – but I am a lemonade fan! Simple syrup is definitley the way to go!

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