Return of the reuben dip/The Red Line

Before I’d even got to the bottom of the basement steps: “Hey Brandon, good to see you! It’s over there,” Bill said.

Bill is my Aunt Diane’s father, which probably meant “it” was Aunt Diane’s reuben dip.

This recipe featured prominently in my first-person recap of the 2011 Thanksgiving Lions-Packers game, a column that took months for me to live down at family gatherings.

We gathered around the TV set in the basement again Thursday. There was family, there was football and there was reuben dip.

For those of you who don’t remember a column I wrote two years ago, I’m not surprised. The exposition: My extended family is nearly evenly divided between Packer and Lions fans. This makes Thanksgiving particularly entertaining.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention other contributors to our family feast: Grandma made her famous raspberry pie, Cousin Greg brought down some venison sausage, and Uncle Rob brought homemade wine. It had notes of blueberry, blackberry, chokecherry and not nearly enough alcohol to wipe away the memory of this game for either of us in the green-and-gold corner.

On the other hand, Uncle Randy and cousin Lauren, well, today was their day and they enjoyed it, with good reason.

I knew they would. After all, I picked against the Packers in the Gridiron section (see page 4D) and I even wore a blue shirt to dinner Thursday.

Matt Flynn has been cut by two teams and traded by a third in the last two seasons for a reason, and that reason isn’t because they were impressed by the way he beat the Lions in that meaningless Week 17 game at Lambeau Field in Jan. 2012.

However, I must credit a local football coach who shall remain unnamed, who reminded me that Flynn still has a career average of 300 yards and three touchdowns per game against Detroit.

Then again, I wonder if he’s even on the first page of the blame list at this point. The great Vince Lombardi (who pulled the Packers out of annual Thanksgiving Day games at Detroit because he felt the Lions had an unfair advantage) said football is about blocking and tackling, and the Packers didn’t really do any of those.

Josh Sitton had some interesting opinions on the Lions defensive line. I don’t think they motivated the Lions, for the simple reason the Lions probably didn’t require such motivation, but as I learned from the one blot on my elementary school disciplinary record, calling the person you dislike a nasty name rarely causes them to back down, it normally causes them to punch you in the face. (No one saw the incident, so we both got a lunchtime detention.)

I believe it was Uncle Randy who noticed how kind Mr. Suh was to simply bear-hug Flynn until he tapped out and the whistle blew instead of planting him in the turf. Because if Flynn went down, it was back to Scott Tolzien, and if that failed, well, my best idea was to put Rodgers out there in a red jersey and hope the the Lions would play along and not touch him.

Come to think of it, Mike McCarthy probably should have tried that tactic all along.

As for the defense, well, congratulations on the takeaways, but really that only served to help the Lions gain 562 total yards since the end zone wasn’t getting in the way as often.

In the words of columnist Ray Ratto: “In fairness, Packers only had four Lions turnovers to work with. Another four or so and they could have been in this one.”

So, yes, folks, the wheels have come off in Green Bay. It’s rather frustrating that one player out for a month could cause this (anyone remember that game in the Metrodome?) but maybe by exposing it now, they can avoid heartbreak later and maybe pick up a decent draft pick.

And for the Lions fans reveling in this one, well, I’m sure there’s a few flies in your attic you can pull the legs off of. Would be an equally fair fight.

The closing stretches of the game were highlighted only by a series of headline suggestions (one of which I used above) and more food. It was getting so bad by the end that even the non-football fans in the family were making comments to the TV about how bad the Packers looked.

A lot of times I end up watching Packer games at home by myself, and even when they win, it’s not always a totally enjoyable experience. Being down 30 points is certainly not ideal, but it didn’t feel like a loss, thanks to some good company – and some good eats too.

Brandon Veale can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at