Thanksgiving Edition: How Many Cooks in the Kitchen?!

It’s Thanksgiving! In between nibbling on your turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and… I think you get the idea. Anyway, read on for an idea of what stuff the Indianapolis Colts eat to keep their bodies in great shape. WARNING: Some shapes may be more desireable than others (the TV cameras only add ten pounds).

Cooking for any holiday can be a hassle. With family members and friends coming into town, it must be stressful to cook for such a large amount of people. Making a shopping list, going to the grocery store, trying to multiply recipes designed for three people so that they can feed 25, when to start cooking each part of the meal, etc.

HOLIDAY MATH QUIZ

25 people invited/ 3 people usually=8.33

8.33 x 2/3cups of anything= ’tis the season for calculators and internet searches

Some people enjoy cooking. I’m not one of them. Microwaving things is my specialty. Occasionally I can even re-heat leftovers or “make” a frozen pizza. All this is to say that if I didn’t have food made for me at the Colts facility, I’d be in trouble.

COOKING A FEAST…DAILY

At Stanford, we had mandatory breakfast. Coaches would take attendance, and if we missed a few times in a quarter, the next miss would trigger a punishment. I don’t know how anyone ever missed these breakfasts though, because I would go to sleep at night excited for breakfast the next day. There was everything you could possibly think of for a healthy (or unhealthy) and tasty breakfast: made-to-order egg omellettes and scrambles, fresh berries and other fruits for smoothies, multiple cereal options, waffle makers, or even an occasional steak after a big win.

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^Each day, there are different foods in the buffet line at the Colts practice facility.

I thought that I would miss Stanford’s weather and my teammates when I left, but I knew that I was going to miss that breakfast. Fortunately, I got drafted to Indianapolis, where we have AWESOME food service. Many people don’t realize that, because we are at the practice facility from 7am (or earlier) until about 6pm each day, two meals a day are provided for us. Usually breakfast and lunch are served.

Remember how much we (I’m just going to assume that you’re not a big fan of cooking for the sake of the argument) don’t like cooking for 25 people a couple times a year (if you have people over and cook for them on holidays other than Thanksgiving and >INSERT WINTER HOLIDAY YOU CELEBRATE<, I’m impressed)? How about cooking for 61 football players (not including injured reserve players), as well as for a number of trainers, coaches, and front office employees, twice a day? According to a 2011 New York Times article entitled “NFL Linemen Tip the Scales”, the average NFL player is 252 pounds.

FOOTBALL MATH QUIZ

61 players x 252 lbs= at least 15,372 lbs of man going through the buffet line each day

Needless to say, there is quite a large amount of food required to feed a herd of NFL lineman. It would be easy to just make dry, cruddy, scrambled eggs for breakfast and boiled pasta for lunch, but we have an awesome cooking staff that give us a large variety at every meal.

COLTS BREAKFAST

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^Each morning I have a bowl of berries (blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) covered in oatmeal with ground flaxseed mixed into it. I also have an egg white scramble with turkey and all the veggie options.

Other options that are often served:

-fruit assortment, pancakes, waffles, premade eggs/eggwhites, grits, french toast, egg and cheese English muffins, cinnamon rolls.

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^Some of the fruit options from the food line.

COLTS LUNCH

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 ^Hydration is key for any athlete. I’d say we have a few options to choose from…

Lunch is more varied for me.

My staples:

-Leafy Greens/Veggies: I try to eat a salad before or with each meal, so I include a spinach salad (with a small amount of dressing… italian or some type of vinagrette are my go-to’s).

-Fruit: Again I get some berries. I’m a big fan for both taste and anti-oxidant content.

-Carbohydrates: Whole wheat pasta with a marinara or meat sauce (if I’m feeling adventurous). Sometimes a stir fry with pasta or rice.

-Meat: this varies with the option of the day. Usually fish or poultry.

Other options that are often served:

-potatoes, steamed veggies, etc.

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^My typical lunch tray.

BEHIND IT ALL

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^Above you can see Chef Dewitt working to make three breakfast scrambles at once. I can’t make my own with one pan in front of me.

The collossal task of feeding the Indianapolis Colts falls on the shoulders of Chef Dewitt who “sleeps in” until 3:15am! He says it would be tough if he and the people that he works with didn’t love their jobs. Ever smiling, Chef Dewitt is always willing to help the players regardless of how outlandish some of their requests might be. From prepared meals in to-go boxes for coaches who need to eat and watch film simultaneously to cooking individual meals for guys who prefer to bring in their own food (weird/smelly fish, funky veggies, and more), it would be hard to argue that we don’t have the best food staff in the NFL (keep in mind, I’ve only played for one team for less than a year… but hey, it is darn good).

DESSERT?!

Just like a good meal, I thought I would close the post with a report on the dessert selection. As it should be, the majority of focus is placed on creating healthy meals for the players to best fuel their bodies with, however, there are a few options that help the lineman maintain their figures. 

-Ice cream freezer filled with a bunch of chilled treats such as popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, and pints of ice cream.

-Served with each meal is a dessert option ranging from chocolate chip cookies to cakes.

HUNGRY?

So am I. I’ll leave you with some pictures of a salad in the hopes that you’ll start there before diving into the ice cream cooler.

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