The 20 Taco Challenge
I like Taco Bell, but my friend Peter likes it more. At our high school (which skewed towards the artsy liberal side) each senior got a page in the yearbook to do with what they wanted. Many students posted pictures of their 'best friends forever' (friends that they didn't speak to four months into college), inside jokes and prom pictures. Some students used it to express themselves in a more artistic and/or humorous fashion. Peter had pictures of taco bell wrappers, hot sauce packets, himself eating taco bell, and quotes from teachers about Peter's fondness of Taco Bell.That said I boasted about my ability to eat many hard shell tacos. August before my senior year of college, I had moved into my apartment and was waiting for the school year to start. We were eating lunch at around 2 o'clock. I guess I said something about Taco Bell and I was challenged to eat 20 Tacos in one hour. If I failed I would pay for the tacos. If I won my friends would pay for the tacos and I would forever bask in the glory of my taco triumph. At 8 o'clock pm the challenge would commence.
Right off the bat this was a stupid idea. Not because of the 3,300 calories or 7,000mg of sodium or 300% of the daily recommended fat consumption. Not because tacos get cold and stale when sitting for 45 minutes in their box. No, the stupidity is actually because it is too close to the time that I would go to bed. But we'll get back to that shortly.
The tacos were purchased, 20 at once- 5 tacos per box, and brought back to the apartment. Armed only with water and a will to succeed, I began eating. The first ten were not a problem, easily going down in the first 15 minutes. The next five were harder, taking another 15 minutes. The last five were nearly impossible. My stomach was full, I wasn't able to salivate enough to breakdown the food in my mouth, the tacos were cold and things were not looking good. The shells presented the most problem so I began breaking off little pieces and building a pile which I would eventually eat at the end.
I finished 18 tacos and a half tacos and the equivalent of half a taco's worth of shells left. In a totally anti-climactic moment it was over. An hour passed, I didn't want to puke up sharp tortilla shards, so I surrendered. I didn't win, I felt sick, my friends were bored and disappointed and the night ended.
My body was struggling to digest the copious amount of food in my system. Water wasn't helping. Nothing was moving. I decided to just try to go to bed. That was a terrible idea and I tossed and turned for hours as my body, overloaded with salt and cholesterol, spent every moment working overtime to digest the tacos.The main question after was "did you ever eat Taco Bell again?" And the answer is "of course." Even after watching Supersize Me, after the e-coli, nothing will stop me from loving Taco Bell. This was before the rise in popularity of the IFOCE (International Federation of Competitive Eating) but it certainly made me appreciate competitive eating. The next challenge is the 50 Chicken McNugget Challenge from McDonalds. That battle has been on the table for a while, but I think I might be too old to do that to my body anymore. Still, it's nothing compared to 105 lb Sonya the Black Widow's feat of 80 chicken nuggets in five minutes. She is pictured here, my hero, after eating 48 tacos in eleven minutes.