About a week ago, I went with a group of friends to a steakhouse where, if you have some sort of death wish, you can attempt to eat a 54 oz. steak to win a t-shirt and get your picture on the wall. One of the gentlemen in our group accomplished this feat in under 20 minutes, which was nothing short of astonishing. The next day I had a conversation with my friend Lisa that went something like this:
- Lisa: What did you eat at a steakhouse?
- Me: Mushrooms.
- Lisa (with a devilish gleam in her eye): Do you think you could eat 54 ounces of portabella mushroom?
- Me (foolishly, not noticing said devilish gleam): Oh, definitely.
And thus, my fate was sealed. I tried to back out, but before I could she made a really lovely trophy with styrofoam and gold spray paint……and if there’s one thing I hate to do, it’s let down a friend.
We held the event on Friday night, and I am happy (I guess?) to report that I was successful. I now announce my unequivocal retirement from competitive/challenge eating, but I will leave you with these tips.
1. Just Say No
Seriously, I don’t recommend that you try to eat 54 ounces of anything. Be smarter than I am. I urge you to avoid taking on any challenge of this nature, and I will not be liable for any consequences if you do. But, if you do…..
2. Preliminary Matters
I would recommend eating breakfast, or perhaps a light lunch, but nothing for at least 6 hours prior to the event. And, I would recommend two pre-emptive PeptoBismol chewables…..this is also my strategy for law school final exams. It lets your stomach know that things are about to get real.
Use some nice flatware. A white tablecloth wouldn’t hurt either. Just because you’re about to do something gross, that doesn’t mean you can’t class it up.
4. Moral Support
You will need a cheering section full of true friends who believe in your ability to persevere.
5. It’s All Mental
In the end, you can do this if you THINK you can do this. Try to avoid looking at the entire pile of mushrooms (or whatever food item you may be facing). I tried to keep reminding myself that people have done far worse things to to their bodies and survived. (I know this because I watched a lot of “Behind the Music” as a child and have been to many parties celebrating the end of law school finals.)
Go get some fresh air. If you can handle it, a glass of champagne may be appropriate. Finally, don’t plan on eating whatever it is you just ate again for a very long time.
You’ll have to get your mushroom recipes elsewhere from here on out.