12 May, 2012 @ 22:20
3 mins read

Keep calm and make a stew!

From Tupac lentils to footballing fairies – it can only be the ´Mad Dog´ column.

SPAIN has been called many things lately.  And a lot of them haven´t been nice things – like “Doomed Nation” (Yahoo), “Europe´s biggest problem,” (Daily Mail) and “Worse than Greece.” (CBS News). Okay, so we´re in a bit of a pickle… nah… who am I trying to kid? We´re in a bottomless pit of Branston Chunky!

However, before we disappear into the quagmire, I´d like to share an inspirational quote: “Tough times don´t last, but tough people do” – not my words – but those of Gregory Peck – Premier Magazine´s 27th greatest actor of all time! And that´s what we need to be telling ourselves right now. According to The Sun, 48% of Brits crave what we´ve already got – and I for one, am willing to fight like a Shaolin monk to sustain it.

To reduce our own “deficit”, Mrs Mad Dog downsized us from luxury penthouse to modest, 2-bed-chalet. It´s so cramped  – you can have a bath, boil the kettle and watch El Cubo… all at the same time!

We´ve also adopted a new motto: “Eat to live, don´t live to eat”. Gone are the days of stuffing supermarket trolleys with luxuries – like seafood platters that required several mortgages to enjoy. Nowadays, we live off a simple diet of fruit, veg, lentils and chorizo. Every time I open the cupboards, I feel like a Big Brother contestant – slumming it on “basic rations”. At least we´re not alone. Our friends too have slashed their budgets – swapping Mojitos for Mahou – steaks for tuna bakes.

Personally, I´ve found it difficult to get aroused by Spanish ingredients. We Brits like our food to look good – and Spanish scran tends to be uglier than Martin Clunes´ sex face. However, after stumbling across a website called uglyfoodstastebetter.com, I was eager to test the theory. At the local store, I bought a shriveled-up sausage, six moldy mushrooms, and a potato that looked like a willy (which I childishly uploaded on Twitter, as a “Dick-tator”).Thankfully, once sliced, diced and bunged in a pot, these unsightly items combined to create a delicious chorizo hotpot. Plus, the low-cost of the dish made it even tastier…  €6 for three nights´ supper!

Although eating the “Spanish way” has been fab for our taste-buds – it´s destroyed my dress-sense. The subsequent weight-loss has led to all of my jeans sagging, and I´m trudging around like an Inglewood gangbanger! This week, the US state of Tennessee passed new legislation, making it illegal to wear low-slung pants. Of course, I get the whole hip-hop/gangster connotation of baggy trousers – but what if there´s an innocent explanation? For all we know – Tupac´s “Changes” might have been referencing his shrinking waistline – after adding chickpeas and casseroles to his daily diet.

Inspired by this concept, a writing buddy of mine – Michael Howarth, suggested we develop a healthy eating ´G´ and name him “Lo-Phat”. As a positive role model for young black kids, his tagline could be something like: “Forget “bling” – get yourselves a nice steamer.” Gang warfare would be less about who has the finest “ho” – and more about who has the lowest BMI. Dragon´s Den here we come!!!

Anyway, now that I´ve joined a new Spanish soccer team, I´ll probably have to beef-up again. After-all, the continentals expect Brits to be built like brick shithouses. Ahead of Barca´s clash with Chelsea, Lionel Messi told reporters: “The English are tough, strong and very physical.” Ha, and then I´ll show up – with less meat on my bones than a pata negra on Boxing Day!

After announcing my “signing” on Facebook – I was urged to swot up on Spanish etiquette by a Granada-based pal. “A word of warning,” Ben said: “DON´T TACKLE. It will ALWAYS be a foul!” Ben then shared an eye-watering tale about his own Spanish debut. In the game´s opening stages, he misjudged a volley – and ended up booting an oncoming player smack in the nuggets. Ben said the player was stretchered off – suffering a ruptured testicle. Nobody knows if the lad still plays – but according to rumour – he´s now living in a nunnery and answers to the name ´Marta´.

To conclude – I´d just like to urge everyone to keep calm and carry on. Yes, the storm clouds are gathering – and the wolf is in the sheep-hold, but what are we…..French? We “Lionhearts” are made of strong-stuff – and I reckon our “Blitz Spirit” will see us through. Under Franco´s regime – Andalucians lived off boiled grass and weeds, so we can´t really grumble about staying-in, or eating a few stews. Remember, laughter is the best cosmetic – so grin and wear it! Until the next time: ´A mal tiempo, buena cara´ (In Bad Times, A Face Held High).

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