Food challenges are nothing new. They have moved their way across from the elasticated waistband side of the Atlantic onto our own shore in the last few years.
Steak challenges are the classics, where men prove their prowess by wolfing down half a cow over the course of an evening, encouraged on by their fellow diners.
There are a couple of eateries hosting them in local area. I spied one just under a year ago when last reviewing The Nosey Parker on Tritton Road in Lincoln.
The establishment is all burgers and grills on sizzling griddles and it is no surprise that the gauntlet they throw down is the 'Flaming Challenge Burger'.
Weighing in at a whopping one kilogramme of food it consists of – deep breath – two flame-grilled 12oz beef burgers, two breaded chicken fillets, spicy chilli beef, melted cheddar cheese, onions, crispy bacon, onions rings and a giant helping of chips.
At £9.99 it is incredibly good value and could feed a family of four, happily.
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But when I went there recently, it was just me and my friend Sam. Sam, I want to mention at this point, did not want to contemplate tackling this beast, whimpering out some sort of excuse about having to go to the gym later that day. Anyhow, I was grateful for his moral support at the very least at taking on this mountain of food.
When you break it down it is pretty much a pimped up mixed grill in a burger bun, and I love a mixed grill.
It is the variety I enjoy, different meat, different textures and different tastes. But would something like this have enough to keep me interested?
The waitress came out with this obese burger teetering in her hands and laid it out in front of me with a large thud.
"You can't just look at it, you've got to eat it," she said with a smile.
But I had to look at it to try and conceive what on earth it was I had before me. It was a staggering mountain of meat with a mound of chips and a tower of onion rings marking the summit.
I looked at Sam and my first question was not 'does this look appetising?'. It was 'where do I start?'.
Sam checked his watch as I nibbled on a chip to try and fathom out what approach to make.
I picked up my knife and fork and sliced away at the side of it, taking a piece of burger and bun.
The first taste of it was good.
The chilli mixed in with the burger gave it a bit of zing, but the burger was lacking any definition.
It was incredibly finely grounded beef and had no texture and was very processed.
The chicken was not overly dry and crispy and the onion rings were lightly battered and not too stodgy.
The bacon and cheese meant there was plenty of juice to keep it all moist, but after a while it started to all go a bit sour for me.
Slice after slice became less and less enjoyable.
I could not get the processed feeling off my tongue and the grease was starting to really soak into everything. All I could taste was oil with a hint of chilli and the bottom bun was soaking it all up.
I was not feeling full, it was just becoming increasingly unappetising the longer it sat on my plate.
I looked at Sam and shook my head after just over half an hour. There was no more I could do to this pile of food.
And I felt pretty rubbish at the end of it. First it was the waste. It was enough for four people and it galls me a bit that a lot of these challenges end up in the bin.
Secondly, the food felt unnatural. If anything could put you off processed food this was it. I could not for the life of me draw any enjoyment from it.
I did not finish it and so got no satisfaction in completing the challenge, so in my mind I could not quite understand the point.
I'm sure there are food challenges out there which are enjoyable. The idea of tucking into a good quality steak does appeal to me as it is meat you can identify.
Sadly, this one just was not for me. Which is a shame, because I do have plenty of time for the Nosey Parker.
The staff were friendly, polite and prompt, the venue was clean and tidy and the presentation of the food itself was very good.
Next time I visit, though, it might just be for a light bite.
THE FOOD:12oz burger £5.99, Flaming challenge burger £9.99, regular Pepsi £1.94, diet Pepsi £1.94
FINAL VERDICT: The burger was just too greasy for me to stomach. The size of it was a challenge too, but all the oil killed my appetite. But I cannot sniff at the price – it is good value.
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