Any NFL player who publishes a cookbook should be prepared to take a little flack from his teammates.
Unless you’re Jared Allen.
“I didn’t get too much ribbing,” the Vikings defensive end said. “Nothing at all really.”
Understandable when you’re one of the most feared and respected guys in the league.
Allen recently published “The Quarterback Killer’s Cookbook” -- a surprisingly personal narrative about growing up, his love for hunting and plenty of recipes for all the wild game he bags. Each section of the book starts with a story, whether it’s hunting bear in Idaho or stag in New Zealand.
“They’re all special, but one of the most exciting was wild boar hunting in Texas,” he said. “The guy gave me a knife and was like, ‘Go get'em.’”
Allen learned to hunt at an early age with his dad and grandfather. He had a very visceral reaction to watching his father gut a deer when he was about 6. It upset him, but he learned an important lesson about hunting: you should eat what you kill.
“That’s where cooking and hunting come together for me. I’m not a big trophy guy,” Allen said. “I don’t hunt something just for its head.”
Since Allen does a lot of hunting, he does a lot of cooking too. There are recipes for deer, duck, buffalo, elk, trout, rattlesnake and more. He’s well known on the team as being a foodie and once even jokingly introduced himself as a graduate of the “Culinary Academy” before a game.
His sense of humor has also gotten the ire of some gullible teammates. Allen once convinced some guys to try his “Norwegian Stewedeweisser.” That’s hot dishwater flavored with his sneakers.
Allen is serious about food though. “I had some quail the other night that was frickin’ to die for,” he said. That’s not something you expect to hear from the QB killer.
The book is filled with one-liners, none better than Allen’s defense of sporting an apron -- “Anyone who thinks that cooking isn’t manly, probably is an offensive lineman.” He’s obsessed with the Food Network and would love the opportunity to learn from some of its stars. “I’m a big fan of Emeril. Bam! And I love Italian food too. Mario Batali. He’s one of the best. I’d love to cook with him.”
It’s difficult for Allen to choose a favorite out of all the different game meats. When pressed, he said there’s nothing like a fresh venison tenderloin. But he has no problem picking out his favorite recipe from the book. That would be Pheasant Nuggets. Think popcorn chicken taken to a whole new level.
“My dad liked to bird hunt," he said. "And my mom always made mashed potatoes and country gravy to go with it. That’s tough to beat.”