If you ask Mikkel “Mix” Diskerud, Taco Bell is awesome.
But Mix, a midfielder playing for USMNT at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Rio, messes with more than just Doritos Locos. When he’s not on the field (or dodging soccer fans’ misplaced animosity over wearing Landon Donovan’s old jersey number—he didn’t pick it, get over it), the Oslo-born 23-year-old spends his time juggling fruit and eating marzipan gifted by Nordic gods.
We had a chance to chat with Mix and he gave us some insight on what fuels success in the stadium. Hint: It doesn’t involve rotten fish.
MUNCHIES: Why, exactly, is your nickname “Mix”?
Mix Diskerud: I have had that name longer than I can remember. My Mom claims that she coined me “Mixmaster” when a was a baby because I always moved around so much, and even before I could walk. Then, in time, she shortened it to “Mix.” My father, on the other hand, claims he started to call me “Mix” since I “was a half breed or bastard of two different gene pools.” I guess they both have it mixed up.
Clearly, as a Norwegian, you have salmon in your blood. What’s the best way to prepare it?
If it is a loin just marinate it in your favorite herbs, lime, and oil without too much character–and then bake it quickly in a greased and pre-heated super-hot ceramic casserole.
Speaking of seafood, do you eat the Norwegian delicacy rakfisk, which the BBC once described as smelling like “over-ripe cheeses… [placed] in the midst of a pile of dirty, wet soccer kit”?
I take the fifth.
We noticed you juggling some mangoes on Instagram. Got any tips on how to eat them?
Mangoes shouldn’t be prepared much. They should just hang on the tree for as loooong as possible, and then be brought ASAP to your plate or restaurant just accompanied by some lime and vanilla ice cream. Or make a lassi—mango lassi. When I do I cheat a little bit, I use a skimmed milk in addition to the yogurt, instead of just water and yogurt.
Describe your diet during training season.
It is definitely not a “diet” as most people think of that word. [Coach Jürgen] Klinsmann and his staff says I am not gaining weight as rapidly as I should. So I have had a nutrition specialist walking with me through the buffets at breakfast, lunch, and dinner in order to help me with combinations that hopefully will help me bulk up some more. As Suarez has problems with his teeth and mouth, I have problems a little further down in the digestive system during periods when I train hard.
How much control over your diet do you have when you train?
Total—like everyone that is not in a hospital bed or not in a poor, starving community always should have.
What are you eating during the World Cup?
Secret. We believe we have an advantage on the other teams. And as long as we think we have that advantage, I will not be the one to reveal the secrets.
Is there anything that you’ve found in Rio to be mind-blowing, food-wise?
I found a really good sushi restaurant in São Paulo. I will reveal the name on Twitter as soon as this article comes out.
Do you have any thoughts on Norway’s infamous Pizza Grandiosa?
Have you heard about it? I lived with the granddaughter of the inventor. She came to stay with me in my apartment for more than a year while she took her exams in medicine. She is now my doctor if I need answers really fast. She fed me. And her mom, Lillian, is a very good marathon runner even though she was her inventor-father’s big-time Grandiosa guinea pig.
We also saw a basket of Easter candy on your Instagram feed. Wasn’t that during training season? Explain yourself.
Come on. In Norway, we don’t fake it. In the US, children believe Easter bunnies lay eggs. In Norway, Easter eggs comes from chickens—not hens—and around Easter they lay eggs of marzipan. That is a fertile gift from the Nordic gods. And by Thor and Odin, of course we should eat them—chocolate-covered or not. Easter doesn’t come twice in Gold Cup years.
What should all soccer players be eating?
Fruit. Five different ones per day is a good rule of thumb.
Your mother is American and your dad is Norwegian. What was an average meal for family dinners when you were a kid—or was it total chaos, culinarily speaking?
Average doesn’t apply when it comes to meals or food. You should never believe you can settle for average. Meals should all be big or small highlights of your day. My father did most of the cooking when I was little. My mom brought Thanksgiving and traditions and demands for variety. My friends always thought it was exciting to come with me home for meals. They thought it was exotic and fun, but sometimes a little scary because my father had this strong belief that everything that grows or lives in the sea is edible. And he never told people what they were eating—he just said that that is what they have their tastebuds for.
Your hair is famous, and even has its own Twitter account. What do you eat to maintain its luster?
I have never given that connection a thought. But I think people with long hair should put on a hat while cooking for someone else. If not, it can destroy a meal or a whole week’s appetite, don’t you think?
What do you eat after soccer matches? Are orange slices no longer cool as a soccer snack?
Chocolate milk, ROAR, Lenny and Larry’s, and water. I still eat orange slices, and no one dares to claim I am not cool. Especially not when Omar Gonzalez is around.
What do you plan on eating once the World Cup is over?
I don’t plan for that. And not on what I shall eat, but rather on how I should eat it. That should be with friends, everyone taking part of the preparations, maybe a new and exciting flavor or dish that we all can comment and criticize. Sitting down at one big table, nice glasses ready for toasting, and where we can agree to taste a little bit of the dessert first while we are still hungry—since that is when all desserts taste the best.
Awesome. Thanks for talking to us.