This week’s Secret Menu pits two Collegian staff members, design editor Tyler Remmel and photo editor Dan Shade, in a targeted fast food eat-off.
The competition began with a Taco Bell 12 taco box. The object was to eat more tacos than the competitor, requiring the winner to eat quicker than the loser. Whoever ate the most tacos was declared the winner.
Remmel and Shade also shot the empty taco wrappers into a garbage can. In the event of a tie, the winner would be the man who made the most wrapper shots.
Each competitor began the competition with four of their own tacos, leaving four free-for-all tacos. Competitors were allowed to dress and prepare these initial four tacos however they liked.
In the end, Shade won the inaugural challenge, 7-5. He reached for his winning seventh taco at 4 minutes, 36 seconds.
A Real All-American
By Dan Shade
As the photographer of the Collegian, I have found myself behind the lens of many Secret Menus. Most of the time, I try to refrain from regurgitating because just the sight of abnormal food disgusts me.
When it comes to food, I am a purist and I don’t want nasty crap all over my food. I enjoy natural flavors and simple dishes, so when the staff approached me about being part of a taco eating competition, I was willing to step into the spotlight and let my talents shine.
With the challenge of eating tacos, I found myself at home with an advantage. Remmel may be an All-American swimmer, but I am the true All-American eater. I’m not shy about the fact that I like food and I know how to put it away. I sized up my competition and I was ready for battle.
When I took the first bite, my body was telling me, “Oh yeah, this is just a normal late Saturday night.” I ended up getting through my first two tacos in 51 seconds, nearly a minute ahead of Remmel. I looked him in the eyes, and I knew that I had already won the competition.
As I worked my way through tacos three and four, it dawned on me that liquid had and would not touch my mouth for quite some time. I began to panic as I could feel the food piling up.
Taco number five was the real challenge for me, as I opened the wrapper to unveil the largest taco so far. My eyes started to burn with fear, as I knew I would have to make it through that and two more to win the competition.
This is where my mind left me and the great old American stomach took over and blew through tacos five and six.
It had been just over four minutes since the competition began, and I was ahead of Remmel by two tacos. I stared at number seven and knew that I had just won the competition and defeated a seven-time NCAA All-American.
This might have been the highlight of my senior season of eating, and I might have discovered a new calling in life.
A Bitter Defeat
By Tyler Remmel
Being a fierce competitor, I hate to lose. Unfortunately, when planning for this challenge, I failed to remember that I don’t like competitive eating contests.
I’m not very good at them. My forte is in the creative eating department.
The truth is, I don’t have an answer for my loss. I don’t make excuses.
Except now. And I have a list of prepared excuses.
The tacos were not an adequate temperature for rapid consumption.
Dan was hungrier than me.
Dan didn’t properly chew his food.
The “Gladiator” music in the background wasn’t loud enough.
There was too much pressure.
I was distracted.
I didn’t have ample time to mentally prepare for the challenge.
I didn’t skew the rules enough in my favor.
I should have made shots worth more points, expecting that I would be better at the non-eating portion of this eating competition.
I didn’t have as much practice.
My tacos were bigger.
The sun was in my eyes.
The wind affected my shots.
I failed to capitalize when Dan slowed down on his fifth taco. I got behind 3-1 on the start before Dan fell into a laughing fit.
With the audience on my side encouraging Dan to keep laughing, I got to my fifth taco as Dan was still on his sixth.
It was too little, too late.
It took me until the third taco to really hit my stride. I realized that it is much more efficient to work on more than one taco at a time.
My comeback strategy was to place one taco inside another and take smaller bites that were easier to chew. I let Dan’s style affect me on the first two tacos, trying to replicate his large-bite-without-chewing strategy.