Opening Lines

IT doesn’t lend itself to healthy eating, this World Cup.

Opening Lines

There’s too much snacking on pistachios and sliced pan while waiting for RTÉ’s streaming to reload. And the football has been so good, the tournament is a bit like eating steak on holiday. Just when you think you couldn’t manage another one, you think “Feck it, it’s steak.When am I going to get this again?”

Even the punditry is compelling. Not everything they say is wisdom, but there is a sort of soap opera on the RTÉ panel that raises it above the level of the Tightly Fitting Shirts on the other channels. It’s as if the retirement of Bill O’Herlihy has suddenly made everyone realise that the old Gang of Four of Bill, John, Eamon, and Liam will not be around for ever. The second generation of pundits are circling each other, snarling like senators in ancient Rome. Meanwhile, the old guys are mellowing, as if aware that nothing matters that much because everything ends, in the end.

Because there is — shockingly — no scheme available to allow the self-employed to watch all the football they want and still get compensation, I also have to work.

All of this means that time is scarce and mealtimes are suffering.

Thankfully, coincidentally the house has purchased the perfect machine for the busy 21st century man who can’t be wasting time chewing: The Nutri-Bullet, a new type of blender-extractor thing. It sits on the counter like a Fifth Generation Handy Yoke; Generations 1 to 4 being kettle, toaster, rice cooker, George Foreman (the grill, not the boxer, although he was pretty handy too). You can throw anything into it — turnips, lemons, shoes — and it will turn it into a smoothie. Put a bit of ginger and lemon in to get rid of the taste of shoe and suddenly, you’ve a liquid lunch that won’t get you fired. Although depending on what you put in, you might need to close your eyes as the colour of it could resemble a polluted river in summer.

Ordinarily, I would be suspicious of anything with a catchy title that promises instant goodness. Our ancestors didn’t die in post-offices and ambushes so that future generations could slurp their way through food they were too feckless to look at. There can be small joys in eating a mouthful of leaves and coming across the last piece of black pudding. It’s like finding a football in a hedge.

But this Super Juicer Magic Bullet means I’m eating things that ordinarily would have been a struggle. Like algae. Yes algae! It’s called Spirulina and we put it into the smoothie to give a sort of virtuous — that is to say, not very nice — taste.

The Aztecs swore by it, apparently. And who could begrudge them a bit of dietary supplement when you consider the sacrifices they made? It’s supposed to be good for protein and amino whatnots but the main benefit is a sense of well-being. If you can start your day knowing that your breakfast is resurrecting an Aztec tradition you immediately feel better.

Now if you’ll excuse me, Round 2 of the World Cup is in full swing. Time for more steak. And smoothie.

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