For those of you that don’t know, every year, IHOP does their all-you-can-eat pancake special in January. That’s right, I know the time of the year in which it occurs, because I’m a fatty that loves his food, and I’m there every year. I also know that Olive Garden launches their never-ending pasta bowl in late August/early September. Red Lobster starts their all-you-can-eat shrimp promotion around mid-September. Popeyes (at least used to) has their 8-piece chicken deal the Thursday before April 15th. And in New York specifically, you can get all-you-can-eat wings at Croxley Ales, Brother Jimmy’s, Lions Head and Pourhouse…just to name a few.
But back to the pancakes. The reason I put the all-you-can-eat pancakes on my Murtaugh List is because as I have gotten older, I have realized that everybody around me is a whole lot less susceptible to the all-you-can-eat deal. As a result, I don’t think I’ve taken any of my New York friends to an all-you-can-eat spot. Scratch that! I did get a trio of former co-workers to come to an all-you-can-eat wing place with me once, but I don’t think they knew what they were in for–and we surely haven’t done it since.
But I digress. On to the pancakes. I was really looking forward to this challenge for three reasons. First, I love food. Second, I love pancakes. And third, I really love overeating. There’s something very satisfying about overeating. When you overeat, you feel full, happy and like you’ve put some really good work in. The feeling I get from finishing a 1.5-pound burger is the same feeling I get from handing in a project at work. It’s weird, but don’t say over-indulging hasn’t made you feel that way in the past, too!
So how did my attempt at eating 60 pancakes go? I took notes on my phone after each “short stack.” Here’s the rundown:
Round 1, Pancakes 1 -3: “I really don’t think this is going to be that hard. I’m only one-twentieth of the way done, but I don’t see an end in sight. Yes, it’s early, and I probably shouldn’t have had the eggs, bacon and sausage that came with the all-you-can-eat pancakes, but you didn’t really think I was going to get through this without some pork on my fork, right?”
Round 2, Pancakes 4-6: “These pancakes are so good. IHOP knows how to dress up a pancake. They put just the right amount of butter on your plate, so you can get each pancake nice and lathered up before you pour the syrup over it. This round I went with the “pecan” syrup, which is very underrated. If you haven’t tried it, give it a chance…and give me more pancakes!”
Round 3, Pancakes 7-9: “This is too easy. Just 17 more stacks to go? I feel like a well-prepared Kenyan marathoner who’s been running in the mountains for the past 3 years, and upon reaching the 3-mile mark in the Olympic Marathon race of his lifetime says to himself perplexed, ‘Just 23 more to go?‘ All this pancake eating and marathon talk is making me thirsty. I’m just gonna take a gulp of this here water.”
Round 4, Pancakes 10-12: “Okay, maybe the water wasn’t such a great idea. Once the first bit hit my mouth, it’s like the sugar and yeast from the pancakes and syrup still digesting in my stomach harkened the water down to the depths of my belly, calling and pleading for more water, more hydration and anything but another fluffy piece of cake. So I quenched my thirst, and never has water tasted so good. I really think that if somebody wants to truly change the bottled water industry, they’d figure out how to make water taste as satisfying as it does after eating a lot of something sweet, salty or hardy, without me actually having to eat something sweet, salty or hardy…Oh, and by the way, this 60-pancake thing isn’t going to happen.”
Round 5, Pancakes 13-15: “My stomach is a swirl of water, eggs and pancakes. Now that I have finished 15 pancakes, I’m starting to feel embarrassed about ordering more. It’s 7:30am in the morning, I’m in semi-business-formal attire with a laptop and eating pancakes by myself like there is no tomorrow. What has my life turned into? Sooner or later, the waiter will give me that look. That look of judgment. I know it’s coming.”
Round 6, Pancakes 16-18: “It took 18 pancakes, but I finally got the ugly look from the waiter. You know that look that reads, ‘Brotha, for real? You gonna eat 20 pancakes on a Tuesday morning?‘ While I don’t like the look, my displeasure with it comes more from customer self-righteousness than it comes from shame.”
Round 7, Pancakes 19-21: [In third-person] “Tap out. Tap out. That’s it. Ball game over. Pancakes win! Pancakes win! Uzo goes down in 7 rounds. I don’t know what the hell you were thinking. Sixty pancakes? Yeah right, dawg. Get your game up. Don’t come in here chugging water, eating bacon and sausage, and scarfing down scrambled eggs while thinking that you’re going to be able to eat 60 pancakes. Be ready, and maybe you will break the halfway point next time. If there is a next time. You’ll be way over 30 by then. You might not be able to get up for such an effort at your old age.”
I want to throw up.