It was a bizarre setting. Mitchell and Geoff Schwartz stood side-by-side, each wearing plaid boxer shorts and suit jackets.
Geoff wore a magenta plaid tie, smirking, and biting into a turkey leg. Mitchell in a striped tie with a football in his hand, side-eyed Geoff in disgust. This, they will tell you, is the quintessential characterization of the Schwartz brothers, who have now both spent time with the Chiefs.
They took plenty of photos that could have covered their new book, “Eat My Schwartz.” But this particular one encapsulated much of the brothers’ 16-chapter tale on NFL football, food, family, and their Jewish faith.
“The cover is perfect,” said Geoff, who has played with four teams, including the Chiefs in 2013, before being signed by the Detroit Lions this offseason. “The look on my face and the look on his face is basically our personalities.”
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The book, set to release in September, focuses as much on food and religion as it does the brothers’ experiences in the NFL. To Mitchell, it helped show how the three were intertwined.
There was one time when the Schwartz family held a brunch before Geoff’s wedding, with a traditional Jewish spread of bagels and smoked white fish, just as the floodgates of NFL-free agency burst open.
Mitchell remembers days in Cleveland discovering novelty and ethnic restaurants with his now-fiancee Brooke (his favorite is Chop Bistro), and his meal with family after being drafted.
“We just realized how much of your life gets celebrated together with your family, but also around food,” said Mitchell, who left Cleveland for the Chiefs via free-agency this offseason. “That really does take a big role, especially for Jewish holidays.”
And even without family or friends, food has become a favorite hobby for Geoff and Mitchell outside of football.
Geoff likes smoking ribs, and making shrimp pasta when he finds the time. He started dabbling in food when he was 12 or 13 and watched Emeril Lagasse on Food Network.
Mitchell has experimented with pizza since watching Wolfgang Puck in high school, a few years after Geoff started cooking. Once, his mother threw out old square cookie sheets Mitchell used for cooking pizza, and he dug them out of the trash because “newer cookie sheets just don’t do it.”
The recipes for all three — Mitch’s pizza dough, Geoff’s shrimp pasta and smoked ribs — are all in the back of the book, plus a few of their other favorite recipes.
“I found it was easier to make your own food then have to wait for someone to make it for you,” Geoff said. “I wouldn’t consider myself artistic or creative in the sense that most people would think, but cooking is my way for me to express my creativity and have fun with it.”
For Geoff, the book was a way to get into the realm of media, which he wants to be a part of someday — that was one reason he chose to play in New York for two years. For Mitchell, it was an outlet to divulge his “easy” pizza dough recipe and his path to where he is now, with the Chiefs.
For both, it was a chronology of their relationship, what makes them unique — from cooking to being the first Jewish brothers in the NFL since 1923, and how they’ve landed where they are, Geoff in Detroit and Mitchell in Kansas City.
“You get enough stuff written about you, you could just compile it (into a book) anyway,” Mitchell said. “This is us sharing our story of how we both got to where we are, the things that our parents taught to help us get here, and incorporating the food part of it too.”