Auburn University’s Food Systems Institute has created a multimedia app called AU Tailgate Times for iPhones and iPads. The app, which can be downloaded at the iTunes store or on the Food Systems Institute website, brings together a wide range of information about the tradition of tailgating, with the focus on food and fun.

“Did you know that one of the first tailgates was probably during the Civil War?” asks Pat Curtis, Food Systems Institute director. “During the Battle of Bull Run, Union supporters supposedly brought baskets of food and cheered on their soldiers.”

A new issue will be available for each game, adding new information to what is already available. Some sections will appear in each issue, but information about tailgating traditions at opposing schools will be added each time the Auburn University Tigers play a home game.

AU Tailgate Times, which is similar to an iBook, is nothing like the more familiar e-magazine.

“E-books are just uploaded PDFs, and that’s not what we did,” Curtis said. “We took it a step further and have included videos and links to related websites, as well as interactive kids activities.”

AU Tailgate Times includes sections on the history of tailgating, the Auburn Alumni Association alumni tent, Auburn University’s new beer brewing program and the regional personalities of barbecue. Recipes for popular tailgating foods are included, as well as information on fire, weather and alcohol safety.

There are also sections on food poisoning and food safety. In addition, Tailgate Times includes a series on where your food comes from, since most people know little about the subject. Because poultry is extremely important to the economies of both Alabama and Arkansas (the University of Arkansas is the Tigers’ first opponent), the first edition talks about the poultry industry.

“The population at large is almost fully divorced from animal agriculture and food production. They need to be educated so they’re not shocked when they learn how food is produced,” says Dr. Sarge Bilgili, an Auburn University poultry science professor and a specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Dr. Jean Weese, a food science professor and head of the Extension Food Safety Team, contributed her expertise to the section on tailgating food safety.

“People don’t realize how common a problem food poisoning is,” she said. “AU Tailgate Times will explain how long you can safely leave food out, and how to avoid cross-contamination. The CDC estimates that one in six people will get sick from food poisoning this year, and you don’t want it to be you because you left your food out too long.”

The free app is available through the iTunes store ( Each issue costs 99 cents. The app can also be found on the Food System Institute’s website at, which will be updated with new content before each game.

The Food Systems Institute published a Thanksgiving iBook in November and will update the book for the upcoming holiday.

“We expect to follow these two interactive, multimedia publications with several other publications touching on some aspect of food and the food business,” Curtis said. “As a land-grant university, Auburn does a lot of research and outreach related to the food system, and we exist to bring researchers from different disciplines together as well as to help educate the public on the issues and challenges.”

For more information: Please contact Dr. Pat Curtis at (334) 844-7456 or Leslie Parsons at (334) 844-6147 and visit the Tailgate Times website at