Ryan Lavarnway’s fiancee guides hungry fans through Oscars, baseball season
|02.24.13 at 7:40 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jamie Neistat is here to help.
The fiancee of Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway has come to understand the importance of preparation. Sunday night — when the Academy Awards takes center stage on most household television sets — will offer the latest opportunity for Neistat to show off just how much she has prioritized being on-point in whatever situation presents itself.
“Oscars is all about sophisticated finger food,” she said. “It’s a very lavish affair on TV, and everybody watches the red carpet. So you want to have sophisticated finger food. One of the things I’m posting for the Oscars are mushroom pastry purses. Ryan doesn’t even like mushrooms and he ate about two dozen of them when I made them.”
Truth be told, Lavarnway might have already gone through the aforementioned pastries by the time Seth McFarlane utters his first words, but that’s OK. Neistat can make more; that’s what she does. Ryan plays baseball. Jamie cooks … and blogs. (And tweets at @CookinginRedSox.)
Neistat is a classically trained baker, having attended culinary school after earning her business degree at Bucknell University. It has not only led her to jobs at bakeries at whatever locale Lavarnway finds himself playing (she can currently be found baking weekday mornings at Lush French Bakery in Fort Myers), but also into the world of blogging.
Neistat — who met Lavarnway in 2008, with the pair starting to date two years later — runs the blog “Cooking in Red Socks: The Fork and Knife of a Red Sox Wife (To Be!)” (Click here to visit the blog.) The purpose?
“When Ryan and I started living together we started moving a lot, so the blog was a way to share my food and baseball stories in a year-round, friendly platform,” she said. “People love to hear Ryan’s side of things; I just give a different perspective on things. Like, ‘Camden Yards is really cool, here are five things that are awesome to eat while you’re there.’ He knows what it’s like to play there, I know what it’s like to be a fan there.
“I started the baseball bucket list last year when Ryan got called up. My goal is to hit every stadium they play at. People say, ‘I didn’t even know you could get macaroni and cheese with crab.’ People like hearing his story through my eyes, and my story.”
The practice was born out of a love for her craft, one that kicked off thanks to interest and sensibility.
“When I got out of college, it was right during the recession and a lot of people were having a hard time finding jobs,” Neistat said. “What they told us all the time in culinary school was that people will always eat.”
And, what she came to understand upon entering the world of professional baseball was that nobody loves to eat more than baseball fans. Hence, the advice for those heading to, and near, ballparks all around the country. It also didn’t hurt that she had a built-in test-taster in Lavarnway.
“Ryan reaped the benefit off of me being in culinary school,” Neistat said. “I would come home with pounds of pastry dough and whole cakes we had to turn in as assignments we didn’t eat. Ryan did really well with me being in culinary school.
“I’ve come to my conclusion that he plays his best with just a little bit of padding. We try and stay healthy, but little things here and there.”
Lavarnway, who did cut his body fat while adding eight pounds of muscle this past offseason, isn’t going to fight the realities that come with his fiancee’s profession.
“She makes these amazing, delicious things that end up having about 15 calories in them,” he said.
Neistat is hoping, like her fiancee, the best is yet to come. The hope is to use the blog as a sort of resume for a cookbook down the road, while continuing to visit as many baseball-centric culinary stops along the way. In the meantime, Oscar viewers, baseball fans, and Lavarnway, would seem to be the big winners.
The one caveat: No lunch boxes for Ryan’s road trips.
“I used to make things to take on the road,” she said, “but I can’t imagine any food is going to hold up for a six-hour bus ride, smushed under something.”
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