If you have a meal at any English cafe, you will always be presented with a little array of sweet sauces like brown sauce and ketchup (which psychotic people spell “catsup”). For the average Brit, these sauces are spread liberally on many foods from bacon butty, eggs, to just a plate of chips. I have even been reliably informed that some folks put “brown sauce on everything.” Though how and why, I can’t bring myself to imagine.
Ketchup in this family is reserved for fries (chips) and while I have made brown sauce for one of my sandwiches, and I’ve had brown sauce on my trips to England, and I’ve liked it, I’ve never been one who put a lot of sweet sauces on my other foods. As a sandwichist I get it, it’s sweet and salty and tangy and it makes things taste better, but I guess I just like my eggs plain. Maybe I should try it someday. I’m sure it’s fabulous.
And I’m not judging folks. If you want to sauce your entire breakfast, go for it. I spent my entire adult life saucing my liver with whiskey, I’ve no right to judge you and your indulgence.
Footballers, it turns out to my great dismay, are also human beings and they too like a nandos, some chocolate, a takeaway, a fryup, and plenty of brown sauce. Speaking to Dave Hytner of the Guardian, Arsenal’s young star Emile Smith Rowe admitted that he recently changed his diet and had to give up the junk and drink more water.
“I’ve tried to cut out chocolate and takeaways as much as I can. The club have sorted me out with a chef. His name is Chris and he comes to my house every day. I live with my mum and she normally cooks but she doesn’t have to any more. Chris cooks for me and her. With hydration, there’s loads of stuff we should be taking before a game and, yeah, before I was a bit too lazy.”
As cheeky as I’m being he’s doing the right thing, even if he’s not an athlete trying to gain an advantage. Eating more fish, less meat, and more fresh vegetables correlates strongly with better health outcomes and I’m sure he’s gained some endurance and strength. When he first started playing regularly for the Arsenal first team he looked brilliant for about 30 minutes of his matches and then dropped off significantly. He was always subbed off about the 60 minute mark as well. It was clear he had some kind of fitness problem and I recall suggesting that as soon as he got fit he’d be irrepressible. Was that down to his diet? Perhaps.
I want to be clear to say again that I’m not judging you if you’re eating a lot of bacon buttys with brown sauce. It is difficult for the average person to eat a whole grain fish-based diet with almost no takeaways or packaged sweets because it’s expensive and takes a lot of time to prepare your meals. Most of us also can’t have a private chef, though we can hardly scoff at a billion dollar sports team sending a private chef to take care of their multi-million dollar athlete.
Changing diets can be an effective way to improve your health, stamina, and endurance. Though, I would probably talk to a nutritionist about that and not listen to “some guy in Tacoma who writes a blog that I sometimes (ok, almost never) agree with”.
I’m happy for Smith Rowe. He’s playing much more regularly and he’s scoring goals and I can’t help but feel that’s down to fitness.
The only complaint I’ve got about all this is that Smith Rowe was “rewarded” with an England call up.
I know he wants to represent his country and that it’s a huge honor, but still.. it’s dangerous! He’s got to hang out with Harry Kane and the other Tottenham boys and according to their latest press releases they are all brown sauce addicts! Antonio Conte just had to tell the world that he’s banning sweet sauce from their cafeteria and that means those guys are going to be going through serious withdrawals. Putting Smith Rowe in with those degenerate brown sauce users is like throwing a junky into a heroin convention. I’m not sure if this call up is a just reward or a terrible punishment.
And I know what I’m talking about here. Not only am I an alcoholic but I’ve recently started cutting out sugar (no more in my tea) and red meat. I’ve added a lot more fresh veg, more beans, less cheese, and I’ve also switched to 100% whole grains for my bread making (which is quite a pain de mie). So, I know exactly what it’s like to live the ascetic life of a professional athlete.
And in my currently fragile state, I couldn’t imagine bunking up with a user like Eric Dier or Harry Kane. You and I both know they’re spending all day ordering plates of chips and smothering them in the brown, showing up to training with ketchup stains on their shirts, and running around with their breath smelling like peri peri chicken.
I just hope that our Arsenal beautiful young men are able to see the example of Kane and Dier, how they have never won anything, and thrown away their careers for the comfort of the brown, and stay off the sauce.