John versus Food

The following is the story of how I ended up trying to eat this:wpid-imag2157.jpg

I am a big fan of Joey “Jaws” Chesnut and all the folks at MLE (Major League Eating to the uninitiated), I have been for a few years since I had setanta sports and they showed the July 4th hotdog eating contest from Coney Island on ESPN America. Of course, there is also Adam Richmond and his tv show Man versus Food which I enjoyed on Dave before he stopped being a mad fat eating machine after giving up doing the challenges, at which point you had seen all the episodes anyway. The combination of these two things resulted in me, like a whole host of men, fancying their chances in belly bursting challenges. Preferably one where the prize is you picture on the wall of the restaurant to show your munching prowess.

Enter stage left my next door neighbour Gary who took on a eating challenge to eat ten hot wings in the quickest possible time. He dismantled the record to the tune of shaving about 8 minutes off it and effectively retired the contest. He then went back to try the next incarnation of the wings challenge and got his arse handed to him and he bowed out of competition eating saying never again. Still proud of him though.

wpid-image-802682c20e896a2b14fc134b8841642739c343d2e610800d5d7e11cc4affe1ca-v.jpgThe connection is that he made me aware of the 2.5lb burger challenge in The Brooklyn Cafe in Shawlands, Glasgow, the place the wings challenge he was involved in was done and from there I said I fancied doing it.

But then didn’t do anything about it. Just talked about it for ages and ages until we went to give my wife’s cousin and her future husband (now actual husband) their wedding present, we chatted how they were going to go grub daft post wedding when no dress or kilt needed fitting into, it was now that the burger challenge came up and Alan the husband to be was well up for. Plans were made and 6 weeks after the wedding on Saturday the 7th of June we were booked in, man versus man versus beefburger. And that was that.

I have to say I was looking forward to it. I told people I would be happy if I could eat half of it but between you and I there was the image that played over in my head of me polishing up the remaining morsels and sauce with the last hunk of bread, dabbling the corners of my mouth with a napkin and throwing that on the plate amid the cheers and adulation of the crowd. Standing I would raise my arms in triumph.

wpid-imag2165.jpgIn reality it ended ten minutes early with both myself and Alan sitting with our elbows on our knees, face in hands in real discomfort trying to avoid eye contact with the remaining burgers. In fact alan wasn’t even at the table. He had moved to another to keep away.

Of course I had done some training, the pre match build up for that first hotdog eating championship I watched gave me a few gems that have stuck with me, one was that slim folk have an advantage in such things as there isn’t as much fat on them which restricts the amount your stomach can expand to allow more in, plus the top athletes chew multiple bits of chewing gum in their mouth at the same time to build up their jaw power (apparently some of the MLE’s biggest names have the same pounds per square inch of power in their jaws as alsation dogs) so I did that for a fortnight. Not too much tho, didn’t want bug overdeveloped jowls looking like I had the mumps, but by the same token I didn’t want my quest to finish the burger hampered by a tired mouth when my belly was willing to take more.

So we sat down, and ordered our two extra toppings, I took fried onions and gherkins, Alan onions and sauteed mushrooms, apparently these were the best for attempting to finish the challenge, least eating involved and could act as lubricant for forcing down some bread or something. I don’t know really, at least they weren’t onion rings or chips which were other options. When the burgers came out it was effectively game over. I had nipped upstairs to the bathroom as I was worried that the thing that would stop me from winning would be that I would need a pee within two hours so I had a quick one before we started. Our table was at the bottom of the stairs and it looked enormous from the top step which I stopped on post pee. The pictures online hadn’t done it justice at all, it just got bigger and bigger as I got closer, no chance.

wpid-image-f888accb49f94c1f262dcc746f6259a4fa0b2cd14e1a42f5daaf5d5971131641-v.jpgWe kicked off, Alan opted for the tactic of eating the lid of the roll with the onions and mushrooms, getting that out of the way first, I ate it like a burger, roll and meat together, wee bit of tomato sauce. It was bloody brilliant (i would recommend the Brooklyn Cafe for a meal and in particular their regular sized burgers, it’s the same recipe they use for them and the monster I was eating and it was, as I say, bloody brilliant) and hopes rose that maybe just maybe it was acheivable. Alan was flying but i was making my own progress too. Then after fifteen minutes I was pretty much full. If it was a normal meal i would have been finished there I would say. But this wasn’t a normal meal so I battled on. Half an hour in though and the strain was showing, my chest had broke out into a wee stress rash and progress was slowing down. I would say I was about halfway through but a big chunk of the bun was sitting still to be eaten.

I say bun, it’s more like a loaf cut in half than a tradional roll. A brioche bun (or loaf) no less. Which seems to be all the rage in burger circles now. The seaseme seed bap a thing of the past.

Forty minutes in and we both had our phones out trying to do something that would take the edge off the discomfort. What has happened is that the idea of eating a whole loaf seemed like the real test in this when I fact it was the taste of the meat which was our undoing. After a point it became impossible to put in your mouth as it tasted like burger. Ordinarilly not a bad thing, as I have mentioned a really good burger served in here, but having ate so much of it in the short period of time a wee rest was needed.wpid-imag2161.jpg

wpid-image-c6d85ef559046be037ed2090ef76dad06468e2f8d89f2faf102959d7178f95e6-v.jpgActually, Alan was pretty much done at that. He never went back to his. I kept going but very very slowly. Had a bit more meat and attempted the “dipping the bread in water” trick which you see on man versus food and the cometitive eating circuit. It actually works and I got through a bit more. Not a lot mind you, if all I had left was bread then I would have happily had aright good go at slurping away at soggy bread but since I had about a third or so of the rest of it, it seemed pointless to eat the sweet roll.

And, well, that was that I guess. We saw out the time and failed in our attempts. No pictures on the wall, not even a tshirt. It really is a mammoth task, a total ordeal. So repetitive. To eat the same thing for so long, that same taste. I ended up ordering Coca Cola toward the end to put some other taste in my mouth, even though i had steered clear so not to bag myself up on the fizzy juice. I actually felt delerious during it. Almost like I was drunk. Or maybe not so much drunk, more like an afternoon in the T in the Park campsite with a bottle of poppers. Every bite had me giggling like a wean.

Ach, it was a valiant attempt if I don’t say so myself, and like Gary before me I decided to hang up my knife and fork and said never again.


Unless of course one pops up where its amounts of packets of crisps in half an hour, I am up for that, or pot noodles in an hour, aye, pot noodles in an hour……….

A Diary in 53 Parts: part 3: Week 2

Where I tasted Marmite for the first time and signed for delivery of a frankly massive fridge freezer.

Late again, but is it actually late because i have yet to post one on time? Something to ponder there.

Sunday 8th January 2012

Went to Irvine Asda for shopping this morning as we had a wee job to do in the Rivergate centre so two birds and such things plus i wanted home to watch Man City v Man United on the TV. The shop we needed was shut though so that was a result and so we just did asda. Quite disconcerting is Irvine Asda, they operate right to left instead of left to right like every other Asda i have ever been in (Killie and Ayr that will be) if i moved to Irvine (heaven forbid) i think it would take me quite a bit of getting used to. Strange thing is both Tesco and Morrisons in Killie have you shopping right to left so I have no idea why it fucked with my head as much as it did.

Watched the football when i got home before giving the conservatory another wee coat. At night i finally fired the Christmas decorations up the loft, this might seem like a right lazy bastard type of thing waiting off to the 8th of January however if you consider i never bothered putting them up the loft last Christmas and just left them in the spare room for the year its actually pretty proactive and the sense of pride i felt seems justified.

Monday 9th.

I am so glad Chris Evans is back on the radio 2 breakfast show. I dont grudge him the Christmas holiday or anything but I cannot fathom why they think that Richard Madeley is a decent replacement. he is such a wet lettuce and always comes up with twee and crap links to different things. He says stuff like “we all like cats, so lets get all your favourite cat stories emailed in, or hey drop us a tweet” like anyone really wants to hear about cat stories ya plum! He seems to get the regular stand in job and it does my head in, especially that early in the morning. Chris Tarrants insistance on playing fucking Pink Floyd every day when he steps in for Steve Wright is almost palatteable in comparison.

First full week back at work so its more or less a case of get your head down and hope for easter. Usually my holidays start again in January and the year is rife with opportunities for a wee day off. However from last year we are tying in with financial year or something and that along with my extended break for honeymoon last november means i have only two days to take before April first, which is depressing.

Tuesday 10th.

No much happened.

Wednesday 11th.

Dont know whether i should actually write this down and make it public but I decided today to apply for one of my holidays to be taken on the 19th of March. This is the day after the League Cup final which Killie will play in if they beat Ayr in the semi final later this month. This seems very arrogant and also pretty much tempting fate but the way i see it if i dont get in early some windae licking “hinger oan” will get in before me if and when we do go through and I would have to go to work sans final. No better this way i think, a bit of support for my team that i believe in them.

I will hate myself if the worse happens.

You know that dont you?

Thursday 12th.

Just another Thursday. Just another Thursday i forgot to take notes on.

Friday 13th.

Friday the 13th indeed. Started with a bang as the hangover of Irvine Asda kicked in when i realised my complete confusion resulted in me not getting any cereal and subsequently eating the last of it on Thursday. Fear not i thought, i will have toast and i have just the very thing to put on it. Marmite. We got it in the sales for 10p from BHS or Marks n Spencers or something, a little Christmas gift thing complete with a toast rack emblazoned with the Marmite logo. Never tried the stuff before so no time like now.

It was absolutely disgusting. Urgh. I dont know how anyone can like the stuff. For me there are two people in the world. Those who hate marmite and those who lie to themselves every day of their lives becuase the stuff is rancid, the work of the antichrist. They are like roast chicken crisps, another food of the antichrist. Its hard, i find, to see where you could possibly go wrong with crisps. Take something people like and flavour crisps with it. Tomato sauce – good. Crisps – good. tomato sauce crisps – fucking dynamite. Its easy. But with roast chicken it doesnt work. roast chicken – good. Crisps – good. raost chicken crisps – the work of the devil.

A funeral in the afternoon compounded the feel of the day post marmite. There was however some rays of hope. Radio 2 played an Etta James cover of welcome to the Jungel by Guns n Roses which might be my favourite cover ever and i got promoted again at the head to head fifa league thing on the ps3. Got promoted the night before also but never thought it newsworthy until it became a back to back thing. funny how things work like that. heres Etta James.

Saturday 14th.

A phone call at 7.48am kicked the day off as the Currys delivery guys were phoning to say they would be there in ten minutes. When i asked for a Saturday morning 8am to 1pm time slot i didnt expect anything other than the usual of getting dicked about waiting in all morning so i guess this was a nice surprise. I then sat down to the task of picking out my coupon for the days football as I have pretty much picked it out my arse for the past few months and throwing away money like that is pretty fucking stupid. A wee bit of studying is required, some home and away form noted and acted upon, league tables consulted and used as a basis of choosing some winners. While i did this the BT man came to fix my internet connection. Busy morning.

When the internet man went away (having not fixed the problem) I had toast and beans (and cheese, essentially a cheesy beano though i am always reluctant to use that name for some reason) for the first time this year. A perennial favourite for me and something i think i would incorporate into my last meal if I ever find myself on death row in the state of Florida one day. (touches wood)

The wife and I spent the afternoon swanning around Silverburn and I ended up with a nice new pair of trainers and Justice’ second album. Got Natalie Beyonces latest album too even though it will probably mean I am going to have to listen to it from time to time when in her car. Its nice to be nice though and she has to put up with all my shite (her word) music in my motor, plus i usually have mine loud and she just uses it as background. When home I realise that Take Me Out has started back up on STV, i bloody loved that show last year so watched a bit of it, its definately a show you need to watch when its on on the Saturday night. I have tried taping it and watching it on a Sunday afternoon or when you get in from work on a Monday but its just not the same. Its probably because the great feeling of watching all those desperados on a saturday night when your pumped up for the weekend or whatever is diluted somewhat when you are the saddo desperado on a Monday.

Coupons crashed and burned in a spectacular fashion.