(A ShareBox for Some…a LunchBox for Others)
Over the last decade or so, Coney Island has garnered as much attention for its eating competitions as for its amusements and boardwalk. Every July 4th, at the corner of Stillwell and Surf Avenues, Coney Island becomes the backdrop for what is my favorite quintessential American tradition. Thousands of fans line the streets, while thousands more tune in on ESPN, and we celebrate our Nation’s Independence with unbridled enthusiasm and unparalleled pomp and circumstance as we celebrate gluttony with the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition. Each “athlete” is introduced by George Shea with passion and energy that would make Michael Buffer (The Let’s Get Ready to Rumble Guy) feel inadequate. Last year they even included a gospel choir while the beat to Eminem’s classic “Lose Yourself” played in the background. Here’s just a little snippet of the intros.
Just watching this guys passion about people chowing down on processed meat makes me want to run through a brick wall. It truly is amazing. I haven’t been that excited about anything since I was 2 and was introduced to the wonder, amazement and joy that bubbles can bring to your life. But Professional Eating is not just a one trick pony. No sir. It’s a year long series of events dedicated to excess. Here’s just a taste (see what i did there? That’s what you call a pun) of other Major League Eating records:
- 47 Slices of Pizza in 10 minutes (Patrick Bertoletti)
- 6 pounds of Baked Beans in 1 Minute and 48 seconds (Don Lerman)
- 11.81 lbs of Burritos in 10 minutes (Tim “Eater X” Janus)
- 7 sticks of salted butter in 5 minutes (Don Lerman)
- 11 pounds of Cheesecake in 9 minutes (Sonya Thomas)
- 26 dozen Cherrystone Clams in 6 minutes (Sonya Thomas)
- 49 glazed doughnuts in 8 minutes (Eric “Badlands” Booker)
- 20 hardboiled eggs in 84 seconds (Adrian Morgan)
- 390 Shrimp Wontons in 8 Minutes (Joey Chestnut)
- and finally - 80 chicken nuggets in 5 minutes (Sonya Thomas).
That last record is where we begin our story. Lunch time at MCU Park is not unlike most offices. We take a brief respite from the daily grind of planning and selling for the 2014 season. We typically stay “local” rarely venturing further than Wendy’s in Caesar’s Bay or Roll N’Roaster in Sheepshead Bay. The best part of any lunch is the conversation. Topics range from “Homeland” or “The Walking Dead”, to games of “would you rather”, or the latest hot stove rumors. A few weeks ago, we talked about spicing up the lunch routine with some eating challenges — like eating two sandwiches from Leonis (each hero is roughly the size of a cinderblock), eating the #1 combo meal from Wendys, McDonalds and Burger King in one sitting, eating an entire L&B Pizza. When your life is centered around sports, sometimes the competitive juices carry over into other aspects of your life. Which leads us to today. Nicole - one of our ticket reps who handles most Suite and Rooftop rentals - is a self proclaimed Chicken McNugget fiend who has been known to routinely polish of 20 piece nuggets at 2 am on Saturday mornings. Well, Nicole made the outlandish claim that she could polish off 40 nuggets at lunch one day. The rest of us thought that was a ridiculous idea, but one of the few things that I have come to know about women, particularly Nicole, is that if you say she can’t do something she will find a way to do it based purely out of spite. So…
Now, just to be clear, just because Nicole thought she COULD do it, does not mean that she SHOULD do it. Here’s a quick look at the nutritional facts of what she was about to undertake:
- 1,880 calories
- 3,600 mg of sodium (150 % of the daily recommended value)
- 270 mg of cholesterol (88% of the daily recommended value)
- 20 g of saturated fat (100 % of the daily recommended value)
40 nuggets contains the same amount of calories as three big macs. So clearly, what Nicole was about to embark upon was not cleared by the American Heart Association.
She got off to a hot start, eating her first nugget before we even left the McDonalds, nuggets 2-15 were gobbled up before you could blink an eye. She hit some speed bumps from 15-30 with her first “I’m not going to be able to button my pants” complaint coming some time around nugget 24 She then willed her way from 31-36 before eating nuggets 37-40 in groups of two like they were a sandwich.
Here she is in all her “glory”
She did it. She ate 40 nuggets in 40 minutes. It’s a story that one day I will tell my grandchildren about. Like when my grandfather used to tell me about Duke Snider and Pee Wee Reese while he was baby sitting me. I will also tell them about the aftermath…where an hour later Nicole regretted her decision because her insides were angry at her and a Hatfield / McCoy-esque battle was taking place in her belly and i’m pretty sure she is about to go into some sort of food coma.
But I digress…just another Wednesday afternoon in the office. Hopefully Nicole will be around for our next food challenge…unless her nugget habit eventually turns her blood into a combination of ketchup and spicy buffalo sauce.