Lightning’s Anthony Cirelli uses time at home to learn to cook

Tribune Content Agency

TAMPA, Fla. — Anthony Cirelli is using the NHL’s pause to work on a new skill. No, it’s not a hockey skill — these 29 days are the longest he has ever gone without skating.

The Lightning center is cooking more. Cirelli had already been developing his cooking skills during the season, but now has a lot more time to devote to the task.

Any parents sending their child off to live on their own for the first time worries about what they will eat. Maria and Rocco Cirelli sent their son to Tampa with a copy of The Taste of Home Cookbook, published by the magazine Taste of Home. Maria also sends frozen batches of her red sauce.

Before the coronavirus pandemic forced everyone to stay at home, 22-year-old Cirelli mixed in eating out with cooking. Bavaro’s and Bella’s Italian Café, plus a couple of sushi spots, were his go-tos.

“It sucks (not to be able to visit those restaurants),” Cirelli said Thursday on a video conference call. “But I’m learning some cooking skills, which I think will help me out later in life.”

Before he gained all this extra time to cook, Cirelli had figured out salmon with roasted broccoli, spaghetti and meatballs, as well as chicken parmesan. He says that last one is still his best dish. The salmon got good reviews from teammates, back when they could still joke in the locker room.

Now, Cirelli is ordering his groceries online and tackling a recipe a day from the cookbook.

“I tried making some teriyaki chicken and it didn’t turn out the way I wanted to,” he said. “It wasn’t that good at all. So I’m going to have to try to redo that one and get it right.”

He has the time to do so.


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