The other night my wife was out and I was home alone, hungry. My fridge was empty and I didn’t want to deal with delivery, so I hesitantly cracked my freezer door, hoping against hope there was something edible inside.
As it turns out, you cannot make a meal out of old ice and stock-intended chicken bones.
So I thought, hey, what would Tiki Barber do?
Well, not exactly, but I did think about MTV Cribs, and how the show might translate to food. Who would boast the most well-stocked, crave-worthy freezers in the whole icebox game? Past and present NFL stars, that’s who.
My first stop was the townhouse of starting New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings, in Secaucus, New Jersey, in sight of MetLife Stadium. He apologized sheepishly as he let us in: “There’s not much in my freezer,” he said. “I have a chef who makes all my meals. Mostly it’s just ice cream and ice packs, plus a frozen turkey I never got rid of.”
Yep, true enough.
Rashad has a few tricks up his sleeve, though: frozen bananas (both peeled and unpeeled), which he puts to use in the breakfast smoothies he makes “probably 350 days out of 365.” And some artisanal ice cream. “I’m a sweet-tooth guy,” he said. His favorite is the vegan banana nut ice cream — with a swirl of chocolate — from Brooklyn-based Van Leeuwen. Made with cashews, coconut, and cocoa butter, it’s perfect for the dairy-free, gluten-free, and generally very health-conscious athlete.
Post-game craving: Chocolate-chip or peanut-butter cookies
Next up was the stately home of, yes, Tiki Barber, in Florham Park, New Jersey. Tiki had a super pimped-out freezer setup: Four full drawers of frozen veggies, ice cream, breakfast foods, and meatballs and fish sticks from Trader Joe’s. Oh, and a crapload of frozen butter. It was pretty sweet:
Though his freezer may look overstuffed now, Tiki says he consumed way more calories during his 10 years as a running back with the Giants: “Steaks, chicken breasts — whatever was there, I would have helpings for at least two. Because I needed it. I would go to training camp and lose four pounds in a day.” Back then, his freezer was full of Hot Pockets and frozen pizzas. “Stuff you would eat in college, I ate until I was 31, because it was easy and would satisfy hunger immediately,” he said.
But no longer. Tiki changed his diet two and a half years ago, when he began training for a marathon on behalf of CC and Amber Sabathia’s PitCCh In Foundation. Yet he hasn’t become a total ascetic. He said, “I have these peanut-butter pretzels from BJ’s or something like that — my wife bought them one time, and I’m addicted now.”
Post-game craving: Filet-O-Fish sandwich (no kidding)
We had to do a bit of freelance “freezer styling” at Rashad and Tiki’s, but not at our last location, the West Orange, New Jersey, home of offensive lineman and two-time Super Bowl winner David Diehl: His freezer was the very picture of organization and neatness right off the bat (er, ball).
Ziploc bags of fruit and berries (labeled with the date, no less!); neatly arranged packages of fish, scallops, shrimp, and bright green beans; a variety of gluten-free snacks (for his daughter Addison); entrees like chicken dumplings and organic chicken nuggets; and popsicles and ice cream — seems like a well-balanced meal plan! The pièce de résistance, though? That would have to be the homemade pork and beef meatballs made by David’s girlfriend Tina, who shares his Croatian ancestry.
David’s not eating meatballs every night, though. Since his retirement from the NFL in 2014, he’s dropped about 70 pounds. “Being a player in the NFL, and especially in my position as an offensive lineman, it’s important to be heavy,” he said. But after transitioning from playing into (in David’s case) a successful broadcasting career, “It’s crucial to change your diet,” he said. “Now I’m maybe half-vegan. I fuel myself with the best possible nutrition that I can. And the portions are cut completely in half.”
Post-game craving: A big steak
Like I said earlier, this wasn’t just some weird excuse to hang out with NFL players. I needed some pro freezer guidance — and I got it. We combined what we saw in Tiki, Rashad, and David’s freezers to build our ideal icebox:
It’s got something for everyone! Veggies, fruits and berries for smoothies, ground beef and chicken breasts, those sweet hashbrown patties that you only ever see at McDonald’s. Plus waffles, bagels, ice cream, curly fries, OJ, frozen grapes (which David said they sometimes put in water, like ice — genius!), and more. The icing on the frozen cake are the DEVOUR™ meals, the new gold standard for craveable, indulgent frozen meals. They’re easy to make and super-satisfying, just like the frozen foods Tiki used to chow down on nightly. I had my usual, the Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese, out of this very freezer the other night. That stuff is 10/10, can’t wait to eat again.
So what have you guys got in your freezers? Post a photo in the comments unless it’s horrible (or, sure, even if it is horrible).
Hunter Slaton is the Content Director for Studio@Gawker.
Photos by Justin Cross.