New York Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire is developing a real taste for his newfound Jewish identity, and he’s sharing it with a cookbook published this week that highlights his interest in keeping kosher (sort of).
Stoudemire, the 6’11” part owner of Hapoel Jerusalem, has written “Cooking With Amar’e” with his personal chef, Maxcel Hardy, whose first job out of culinary school was with for a glatt kosher caterer in Florida. With Hardy’s help, he has learned over the past five years how to cook healthy dishes that are for the most part pork- and shellfish-free.
The 31-year-old basketball player is particularly excited about having learned to cook for family and friends. He and Maxcel often choose to serve their own twist on brisket for Shabbat dinner: braised barbeque beef ribs. Carrot tzimmes and cholent (served over couscous or quinoa) also make it on to Stoudemire’s Shabbat and holiday table. Potato kugel is a big hit with his four children with his wife Alexis, whom he wed in a 2012 Jewish-style ceremony.
Although Stoudemire may enjoy traditional Ashkenazi dishes, this is not the direction he takes with “Cooking With Amar’e,” whose only recognizably Jewish recipe is his brisket adaptation. Rather, the cookbook is being touted as a collection of “100 healthy recipes the whole family can enjoy, that blend French, Southern, Asian, and Caribbean traditions and flavors, and use ingredients from the local grocery store.”
The cookbook uses basketball terminology like “slam dunk,” “game day,” “warm-up” and “sweet victory” and focuses on nutritious and tasty food preparations for eaters of all ages.
Nonetheless, Stoudemire will likely win points with Jewish fans for this latest example of his affinity for Jewish tradition and Israel. Since he discovered several years ago that he has Jewish roots on his mother’s side, he has visited Israel regularly, and has even declared his intent to seek Israeli citizenship. Last summer, he coached the US Maccabiah team, and was seen shopping for Judaica in downtown Jerusalem. This July, Stoudemire is headed to Tel Aviv to lead a 5-day basketball clinic for teens.
In a recent impromptu interview TMZ recently did with Alexis Stoudemire about her husband’s Jewish practices, she said that he might have a bar mitzvah at some point, and that their children will certainly undergo the Jewish rite of passage.
The way their father is going, he might be ready to do all the cooking for the simchas himself.