I had just sit down to a salad when my friend Laura called. “I’m at Something Sweet,” she said, “and they have an eating challenge.”
Now, let me just say right now that I’m not a competitive eater. I don’t strive to beat Kobayashi at hotdogs or (insert name) at (insert competition). But I do like a good challenge. And my friends are, well, very supportive.
Why did Laura call? Because of Something Sweet’s Sugar O.D. Challenge:
- 4 brownies
- 4 pieces of cheesecake (your choice)
- 4 scoops of ice cream
- covered in whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and 4 cherries.
- Finish it in 45 minutes, and get it free. You also get your picture on the wall and a t-shirt.
To put this into perspective… 72 people had tried it. 72 people had failed.
“Are you telling me to come eat this right now?” I asked.
I put the salad back in the fridge.
The waitress looked at me with brief hesitation as I placed my order. “She’s going to do it. She’s going to be the first to finish it,” Laura bragged. I smiled nervously. I hate losing. And the ghosts of 72 fallen soldiers* were filling me with doubt. (past participants may or may not be dead)
The food arrived. Fuuuuu…
Did I mention I’m not a huge fan of sweets? Because I was reminded of that fact right about now. The familiar sense of regret was creeping in.
I sliced down the tower, getting a mix of all flavors. I knew the key was going to be offsetting the rich flavors of the brownies and cake with the milder ice cream. Listen to me, ha! I knew nothing. I had never tried this before! But $30 and my reputation were on the line.
So I ate.
I trucked along at a fast pace. The key to any food challenge is to finish before your body realizes what you have done. Because in reality– regardless which challenge you’ve picked– what you’ve done is just plain stupid. If you stop eating, or take it slow, you risk hitting what Adam Richman calls “the wall.” And it’s hard to come back from that.
At 7 minutes in, the waitress comes over… with a bucket. “Most people need this,” she said matter-of-factly. What she meant was, “You’ll use this — soon.”
At 12 minutes in, the waitress comes over with a look of surprise on her face. “You might actually do this!” she said without hiding her shock, “this is closer than most people get.”
She took a picture. “I should have been taking more of these, but I didn’t think you could do it.”
Me neither. And I still wasn’t sure.
You know how sometimes when you’re watching Man Vs Food, Adam gets to the last two bites and stops? That’s not for suspense. That’s very, very real.
My last several bites were pure brownie goo. Thick. Dense. Sludgy. Brownie goo. I had just eaten thousands of calories of pure sugar.
Do you remember that guy in the old Yoshi’s Island commercial?
This felt like my version. Two bites left, but I didn’t want to end up being green splatter on the wall.
But the crowd was rooting. They wanted a victory. They even stopped their Scattergories game so I would stop choking while trying not to laugh food into my lungs.
I had to win.
… So I did. .. In 15 minutes and 11 seconds.
Really, Caption? We’re going with puns now?
I got to hang my temporary picture in the winner’s section where it sits awkwardly in an empty plot of wall.
Then they invited me back for an “award ceremony” of sorts, where they would present me with a t-shirt (they had never ordered any because no one had ever won) and hang my framed picture.
And, if you’re curious, here’s a video that the Tucson Weekly did while covering the awards ceremony. *Note, I don’t like being the center of attention, so I was SUPER uncomfortable for this entire thing. You’ll notice — I’m just warning you.