50 Peeps. 60 Minutes.

Walk by my side a while, as I relate to you my sad, painful story. After reading my article on microwaving Peeps, one of my beloved regular readers managed to turn the table of torture straight on me. "Seriously, those peeps are almost as bad as black licorice. But it's funn seeing some try to eat a bunch at once. There's your next article. I'll bet you that you can't eat 50 all in an hour."

This reader is a pure evil bastard.

Click the above picture for a 3.5mb movie of me accepting the challenge.
***Movie is OFFLINE due to bandwidth constraints

Few can accuse me of being anything other than "hard core" when it comes to various challenges, but most of those involve alcohol. Still, a challenge is a challenge, and a backdown is always admitting defeat. So here I am, on my day off for Good Friday, facing a challenge to eat FIFTY PEEPS in one hour. The justification? Let's just say my benefactor, my sponsor, my challenger, and I agreed upon certain terms of a not-immediately-financial nature, the prospects of which imparted the impetus to undertake the endeavor.

I had a day to consider and plan. I was cocky. Fifty Peeps? It didn't necessarily look like a lot. And I can have a pretty hefty appetite when I'm in the right mood. I've been trying to cut lately, but come on...he bet me!

Let's run through some math, first:

50 Peeps in 1 hour.
60 minutes x 60 seconds = 3,600 seconds in an hour.
3,600 / 50 = 72
I must average a Peep every 72 seconds. Sounds easy, right?

The packaging says a serving size is 5 Peeps, which is sheer lunacy. Regardless, these 5 peeps have 36 grams of sugar. Therefore, 50 Peeps have 360 grams of sugar. That is a lot of sugar.

Peeps are sold here in packages of 15 (three rows of five). I had to buy 3 packages plus use the leftovers from my microwaving peeps article. They cost 88 cents each, so total cost for the three packs was $2.64 before tax. Cheap. Cheep. Hah.

I undertook it with a nonchalant attitude but started to get a little nervous towards the actual time I had planned to do them. They were cheap enough that I wanted to try before Easter, so that I could have this article up for you all to read. You're welcome! To kill time in the last half hour before I started, I made a little crappy counter program in Flash to help me keep track of how I was doing at a glance. I figured I probaly wouldn't be up to simple math soon. How right I was.

The first peep was easy. The second peep was easy. That's all there is to this? I downed four or five in the first 72 seconds. So what went wrong? Man, do these things add up. It's not the mass - they're mostly air. No, Peeps have a lot of other dastardly self-defense tactics.

First, obviously, they're just sugar. Eating that much sugar is just never pleasant, but in the past few months I had basically gotten over my sweet tooth. I rarely put sugar in my coffee, I hardly ever eat any sort of candy. I think I just gave myself diabetes with these dang Peeps.

Second, the texture. There's gelatin in Peeps, and they're all super fluffy. Eating one is okay, but while eating 50 I discovered that they turn rather slimy and sticky and foamy pretty quickly. The texture alone makes you gag after 5, let alone 40.

For variety, before I undertook this quest, I picked up a pack of traditional yellow, a pack of mischevous pink, and a pack of solemn blue. Add to that, of course, 5 yellows I had left over. That's Fabulous Fifty right there. Here I'm tearing into a set of blues. It became simpler to pick up a whole row of five at once and chow through them, rather than go one at a time. I hit a wall at 15 and slowed way down, so it was good that I ate a lot quickly which compensated for my extreme slowdown later.

Before I continue, let me tell you a little bit about the world of competitive eating. I did a little bit of research on the "sport" this morning, to see if I could find any tips. This alternates from between a surprisingly serious dedication and a flippant, gross chow-fest. But the IFOCE stands through it all, introducing a surprising amount of regulation and authority to eating contests.

Here's some wisdom from the internet:

"The IFOCE is against at-home training of any kind. The IFOCE strongly discourages younger individuals from eating for speed or quantity under any circumstances. The IFOCE urges all interested parties to become involved in sanctioned events -- do not try speed eating home." IFOCE(whoops, too bad!)

"6. Meditate before each match to prepare for the battle of nerves ahead.
10. The IFOCE discourages the so-called "Roman" method of eating - making yourself vomit after the meal - and some contests expressly forbid it. Nevertheless, some top players will purge themselves after a contest, if only to keep their sodium levels down. Make up your own mind." Fox News

"The blue whale is the largest animal on Earth. A newborn calf weighs three tons and drinks 100 gallons of its mother's fat-rich milk per day, gaining as much as eight pounds an hour. During summer feeding seasons, the adult blue whale eats 8,000 pounds of shrimplike krill per day to maintain its 70-ton weight. Amateur." ESPN

"'Fifty hot dogs in 12 minutes?' Seattle Mariners manager Lou Piniella said. 'That's not sport. That's stupidity.'"ESPN

Click the above picture for a 3.5mb movie of the halfway point of this debacle!

*** Movie is OFFLINE due to bandwidth constraints

There's some strategy I suppose I could impart to you. I had a glass of milk, then a glass of cold water at first, to keep things flowing. Then I switched to drinking straight hot water, because it seemed to help clear my palate a little better. The negative psychology of putting more sugar into your mouth when it's still full of foamy sugar aftertaste is almost overpowering. Also, taking small bites rather than big chomps helped, because it cut down on them foaming up so much as you tried to chew them.

You read this far, you might as well read the rest of it!