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The Cracker Challenge

Posted Sep 14 2009 10:30pm
L ast week we watched a show on Food Network called "Food Detectives". Hosted by the ubiquitous Ted Allen, its premise was to investigate well-known "food facts" and determine whether they are true or not in a kind of "popular science" way. You know the type of thing - will eating a poppy seed bagel cause you to fail a drug test (a la Seinfeld), or does eating Thanksgiving turkey really make you sleepy etc.

Well this particular episode had a segment on whether it was possible to eat 6 saltine crackers in a minute. None of their test subjects got even close and they concluded it was not possible. That led to a vigorous debate between me and the wife as to whether or not it could be done. I took the position that it was entirely possible and I didn't see what all the fuss was about***.

So Nancy came home from the grocery store yesterday with a pack of saltine crackers, and tonight we put it to the test. Here's the play-by-play.


0:00 - my crackers are lined up neatly on the plate, Nancy is poised with the stopwatch and I'm wondering why our more outlandish conversations always end up like this

0:05 - we're off and I immediately split the crackers into two piles of three. After an initial few seconds of fumbling around, the first three are stuffed into my mouth

0:10 - munching away and thinking I've got this in the bag

0:15 - the other pile goes in, and now all six crackers are crammed into my mouth. Sounds of laughter are erupting from the couch

0:20 - I'm wondering how Nancy can read accurate times off the stopwatch through all her tears. 40 seconds to finish off these things - easy peasy

0:25 - the sounds of merriment resonating from the couch are becoming a distraction. I'm starting to suspect sabotage from the good lady wife who is rocking back and forth while pointing at me and cackling. I attempt to tell her that's not fair and to request she kindly stop, but all that comes out is "oog oooff mmmm unnnn". And a few pieces of cracker.

0:26 - my request backfires, she just laughs harder

0:30 - laughter is infectious and I'm trying hard not to giggle. Half way there and Nancy is no longer able to sit up straight. I try to remind myself that the last time I had a laughing fit while eating, two peas shot out of my nose. That does not help quell the giggles

0:40 - the crackers have been reduced to a sticky paste of peanut butter like consistency. I wander around the living room trying not to look at Nancy who has been reduced to a whimpering pile of jello

0:45 - given up trying not to laugh

0:50 - just what in hell are these things made out of? Thinking I should have pushed for the 12 egg omelette challenge instead - never had any problems swallowing breakfast (and if I ever find myself in Seattle, I swear I'm going to try it).

0:55 - come up with a cunning plan - I'll just hide the remaining bits under my tongue and she'll never know. Congratulate myself on a great idea until I try to talk. Still comes out as "ummmmfff ummmm". Damn!!!

1:00 - time up and I DNF-TC (did not finish the crackers). Nancy eventually recovers and informs me that was the funniest thing she's ever seen. This is harder than it looks, but I still think I can do it. Will have to have a rematch later this week.

Oh, and I did a lot better than any of their test subjects.


*** I am also convinced I could do many of the food challenges on "Man vs Food", so am not a totally reliable (or indeed believable) source
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