A lot has been going on in the news recently, the pope resigning, a meteor crashing into Russia, horse meat found in beef . I read the news everyday but recently despite everything that has been going off I can’t help opening the Guardian home page seeing the headlines and thinking: Who gives a damn? I have had this thought an unreasonable amount but it was prompted from a single headline “Russian meteor could have hit UK” – it didn’t, so why the heck the heck was this written about? Who decided that this was a more important piece of news than the actual NEWS?
I get very worked up about the news and generally rant as much as I can to as many people as I can before I’m told to shut up and go away. I have however, decided it isn’t fair to do it to you – dear reader. Instead I decided I should attempt some kind of challenge or feat to accomplish and as I am a busy person, I would attempt something close to home.
Man vs Food is an American TV show hosted by Adam Richman. Adam tours around the USA visiting different restaurants – usually those with mammoth portions, sampling the food. At the end of the show he attempts a “challenge” which usually involves Adam ingesting a large amount of food in a single sitting. Sometimes this is against the clock as well as against his belly. Although Man vs Food is incredibly entertaining, many people claim that Man vs Food is immoral and shows a negative attitude towards food. Considering the amount of people in the world who are dying of hunger this is an understandable concern. Personally, I love Man vs Food. Adam is funny, the food looks delicious and it doesn’t feel as though the show is purposefully promoting a bad attitude towards the international food situation, sadly this leads us into similar territory to the discussion of video games promoting violence. In fact next time I’ll write an opinionated fact-less article on the subject, but for now I am leaving both arguments clear.
It just so happened that invited my brother round to stay – see, I’ve moved out of my parents and so see very little of my siblings. A side effect of moving out is that I now have to entertain him and I mean this in the most loving way possible, obviously. And so it was decided, we would cook and then consume a Man vs Food challenge (if you wish, this could be construed as a negative effect from the show). We chose to make a Philly Cheese Steak – which if like the one on the show, is a gigantic baguette filled with lots of steak and cheese. Google it for more accurate details.
After buying the food there are actually two challenges: cooking and then eating. Cooking was well, easy, a Philly Steak is a very simple meal. The problem is plating up, one sandwich is an entire baguette filled with a very large slab of steak, two large onions and 400 grams of cheese – imagine that for a moment. Baguettes don’t fit onto the standard sized plate and so while the bread happily balances on the edges of the plate, the added weight of cheese, steak and sweated onions poses a sticky problem. Another note, the cheese is supposed to be melted onto the steak whilst the steak cooks – this is a nightmare to clean from the pan. So after plating up (which I have made sound easy, trust me) only eating remains.
There I sat, burnt, sticky, thirsty and hungry at the kitchen table, enough food to feed an army lay before my brother and myself. We tucked in.
We were both using the same tactic, cutting the sandwich in two and eating one half at a time. The first half slid down pretty easily and very quickly – for those of you who don’t know: research has shown that your stomach doesn’t register food for the first twenty minutes or so of being filled. Therefore the idea is to eat as much as possible before your mind catches up with your eyes. By the second half things were harder, my brother had chosen the cheese and I don’t remember the name but it became overpowering and made it very unpleasant to shovel with any noticeable speed – twenty minutes slipped by and we were full. This is where we struggled, because though we both wanted to complete the challenge, we aren’t naturally greedy people, which is not a good trait for food challenges. We cut another third from our remaining half , deciding the rest would be breakfast – of course we blame the cheese for our failure.
Finally, I feel as though I should clarify: I do not eat like a pig all the time, though I was in a generic supermarket the other day and I was at the till, all that lay on my section of the counter was a pack of mince, chicken, four onions and a load of bread. It shocked me how bad my diet appeared, then I noticed the person next to me was buying nothing but two bottles of wine and a bar of soap.