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It might surprise readers of Grimescene, but the author is actually quite interested in Football. There is something so excruciatingly physical about the game, that it represents a sort of alternate reality for me. Why would you beat yourself up silly after a ball when you can beat yourself an omelet, I always say. But somehow, every four years I actually start following the sport in its biggest, grandest avatar. This world cup has been nothing short of the best Hollywood thriller – full of “fights-to-the-death” and unpredictable twists and turns. I even have a team that I support.

It is called “Die Tintenfisch” – formerly known as Germany.

For those of you not lucky enough to have lived in Die Tietenfisch for almost five years, it means (in bad german; it should be Der Tintenfisch) “Octopus”. The “Tinten” part comes from its ink dispensing abilities. “Die” is an English word which means to “chop and fry in butter”. Hence “Die Tintenfisch”.

image It wasn’t always like that though. It all started when an Octopus named Paul, decided to defect from its birthplace in Dorset, England – to Oberhausen, Germany. Settling down comfortably in the Sea Life aquarium, he decided to entertain his new-found countrymen with a nifty little trick he had learned from his brothers in the English channel. He started waging on football games in 2009. And boy was he good at it. That shouldn’t be too surprising, considering he is mostly a large head with eight legs. One would be foolish not to make the connection. He has an accuracy of 91.6% when it comes to predicting the outcome of a German football game. That is 11 out of 12 times folks! Probably more accurate than most people in this world would say, when asked about what happened the day before.

“Prescient Paul” as he is lovingly referred to by the media may be special… but he carries the curse that all Oracles are burdened with. You see everyone wants to know what will happen, and if it is bad, everyone secretly wishes that the Oracle is a fraud. But if the bad happens, the very people who asked for it, now try to shoot the poor messenger. As if the bad happened because the Oracle mentioned it. This is why most soothsayers think twice before doling out the bad news. But poor Paul is not so blessed when it comes to lying. Sitting in his glass abode, he betrays the sense of calmness usually associated with ascetics who predict doomsday sitting naked under a tree in the mountains. Surely the bright lights, the noise and constant flashing of cameras would be upsetting to Paul who is more used to deep-sea-calm. But Paul knows he has a role to play. Not caring for his own safety he coolly chose to eat the tasty morsel from the box with the Spanish flag on it – as his countrymen, the very people who gave him a home, gasped in collective disdain. Suddenly, nobody wanted to believe in Paul anymore. Germany was the best team in the tournament so far, just ask Diego! Nah… Paul is losing his touch. Maybe he just wanted to go and laze on the beaches of Majorca – like most of his countrymen did this time of year. Maybe he got confused about which team to root for when he heard names such as Miroslav, Mehsut, Khedira and Boateng. Whatever it was, people were sure he got it wrong this time.

Well, now we all know better.

Now we believe.

That Paul should die. Germany lost because Paul has this freaky connection with the karmic universe, the unseen puppet-master, the shit-we-can’t-fathom… each of his suction cups is actually a portal into that swirling vortex of shit-we-can’t-fathom, which controls the fabric of the universe and makes men do stupid things like lose to the actual best team in the world. Paul is the part of an evil plot of those pesky neighbors across the channel, and should be pickled.

Here’s the recipe.

Pickled Paul.

This pickled octopus recipe is a classic way to make an authentic Greek meze, Italian antipasto, Spanish tapas or German Revenge. Best Served Cold – obviously. It is best done with pre-cooked octopus. That’s easy with Paul. Just set the Aquarium on fire.
Prep Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Shelf Life: 4 years until the next world cup.


    * Paul chopped in a thousand pieces
    * 6 bay leaves
    * 45 Schweinsteiger tackles
    * 1 dried or fresh hot chilly pepper
    * 2 Mueller’s Yellow Cards

    * 1 dozen cracked black peppercorns
    * 1 Unstoppable Surge from Iniesta
    * 1 T. dried oregano
    * 5 T. German Inexperience

    * 1 T. coriander seed
    * 3 cups of memories of losing to Spain in the Euro cup
    * 2 cups red wine vinegar
    * Olive oil to top off the jar
    * One flick of a shaggy head

    * 1 clean, quart-sized canning jar with lid to store the remains of Paul.


This is an easy dish to make, once you have cooked Paul.

In a dry saute pan, toast the coriander and the dried chilly (do not do this with the fresh chilly if you’re going that route) and the black pepper over medium-high heat until everything is fragrant and not smelling of defeat anymore.

Shift all the spices, including the oregano, the bay leaves and the fresh chilly if using, into a potimage large enough to contain the vinegar. Pour the vinegar over the spices and bring to a boil. Much like Loew was boiling on the sidelines.

Once the vinegar is at a boil, turn off the heat and cover. Let it steep until it’s room temperature, about an hour or so. Then pour it over Paul in the jar. Make sure it covers all of him (we don’t want any tentacle to start effecting Germany’s chances for third place); use fresh red wine vinegar (Puyol’s blood will also do) if you need more.

Top everything off with olive oil — do not let any part of the Paul stick through the top of the oil, or it will rot. It might also tell you that you are going to lose your job in a week. And you don’t want that.

Store in the fridge for up to 4 years or until the people in Majorca have stopped mocking German tourists – whichever comes first.

Wait at least a week before you eat Paul. He will taste fantastic with crusty bread and Jaegermeister or bier, especially on a hot day when you are still sulking and throwing darts at a Villa picture in your backyard.

(This is a real recipe. As long as you know what not to pick. ;))

(recipe source about.com)

So, now what will happen to Paul? Is this the end of his german fan base? Will he no longer be the recipient of crazed women’s underwear? Will he finally figure out that eight legs aren’t necessarily better than two? Well, don’t ask me, I am not an octopus. But rumours are that Paul is working on an Autobiography. It’s true. You can see what it looks like below: