I was recently introduced to the epic Man vs Food (thanks to my awesome friend Lauren) - a programme where each week, food lover Adam Richman travels the US to try out some of the biggest and best oversized restaurant specials in order to set new records and generally feel good about himself for clearing his plate, no matter how high it was piled to start off with. I know how he feels. The main problem with watching his show on a regular basis (which seems to be on every day on Dave) is that it always makes me really hungry, despite the fact that he fails a lot of the challenges set and makes himself quite ill. Mind you, I knew I wasn't quite right when I first watched Supersize Me - I'm pretty sure that was designed to put people off fast food (those that overdo it, anyway) but the first thing I did after it finished? Headed straight to McDonald's!
This Adam Richman guy sure knows his stuff and you only have to watch him for 30 seconds to see how passionate he is about food. After moving down to London and being introduced to the delights of Meat Liquor, Bodean's and the like, and then experiencing the incomparable barbecued meats of Texas, I realised that I am someone who definitely appreciates a good meal - as well as being curious when it comes to vast quanitites of food or giant portions. I don't know what it is about it, but it just fascinates me. I can trace this back to my first and only (although I'm determined that's not the end of it) attempt at making giant confectionary. Allow me to introduce my embarrassing internet debut on PIMP THAT SNACK:
Then came the Hellraiser marathon night at a friend's place, where I ordered the biggest takeaway pizza available with all the toppings (to share with my fella). Here's a picture of the beast (well, the box it came in) that is the Romino's 18 inch Special (touted as 'The biggest pizza in town!'):
We got through most of it (left around 3 slices I think), but man did I feel bad for not polishing it off.
Next up came the first, real Girl vs Food challenge. The occasion was Davo's Birthday, the place? Ciao Bella in Bloomsbury, the food?
THE CALZONE CHALLENGE - sounds pretty standard right? Davo's best mate, a regular at the restaurant dared me to order the Calzone, warning me that it would be bigger than my own head - looking at the price (which seemed very reasonable for something that could possibly dwarf my head) I confidently ordered the tame sounding dish and didn't think any more of it...
...That was, until it arrived
My face must have been a picture - never in my life had I seen anything quite so ridiculously huge for one person to eat. I was then very aware that everyone at the table was staring at this Italian monstrosity and then at me with very distinctive 'there's no way she's going to eat all that!' looks. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I quietened down, quickly planned a strategy in my head and set to work on the beast.
I was in the Cal-zone - I hardly spoke to anyone during the course of the meal; finishing this bad boy off was going to require all of my concentration. I knew the closer I got to finishing it, the more people were talking about it until the last few forkfuls inspired cheers and claps from the table to spur me on!
So surprised was the owner of the restaurant that someone of my size could finish such a huge dish (with no help whatsoever!) that my sheer determination was rewarded with an Easter Egg - how lovely!!
Amazingly, after all that I still had room for a Panna Cotta dessert! :)
Keep an eye out for my next Girl vs Food challenge and let me know if you have any suggestions! Also, if you're near the Bloomsbury area, check out Ciao Bella, a lovely, family-run authentic Italian restaurant with great food - not all monstrously huge portions either! I'll definitely be heading back there again.