For decades, the Mook family has conquered hot foods with an iron stomach. My father and his father before him in particular ingested Gibble’s Hot Chips as if they were oxygen, so one would be surprised to learn that such a clearly sophisticated and experienced food critic as myself pretty much abhors hot food.
As a rule of thumb, I do not enjoy sweating while I eat; it’s the same reason I can’t listen to dubstep during a meal. Thus, I felt conflicted when several coworkers of mine approached me about doing a hot wing challenge at our local Buffalo Wild Wings. On one hand, I absolutely knew that I would end up crying and there would be pictures (hold out, you won’t be disappointed). On the other hand, I am a dedicated writer and Edge employee with a history of self-deprecation, and there’s no way I was going to let the memory of my grandfather be soiled by 12 hot (“Blazin’”) wings.
And so I, my lovely lady Jess, and my coworkers Mary Kate and Adam piled into a car and set off for an adventure sure to be filled with milk and heartburn. Upon our arrival, I was enthused to learn that our waitress graduated from the same high school as I did and was currently attending Edinboro University, where my brother graduated. She ensured our 10 percent off as college students. With wings being half off that night, I would only end up having to pay about $5.50 to wreck my digestive system.
Our wings arrived and Mary Kate prepared the clock. The goal was to take down all 12 wings within a six minute video. With one phone acting as our stop watch and two others fully prepared to take pictures and video, which I will ensure never sees the light of day. My first bite was…surprisingly not terrible. I shrugged to myself with my best “so far, so good” face and went in for a second bite when I suddenly realized someone had doused my tongue in gasoline and lit it aflame – or so it felt.
Fire, everywhere. All around my lips and mouth. I did my best to keep myself gathered and focused; I was not allowed to drink anything until after the challenge. As I internally apologized for every time I’d ever wronged someone, I began choking down wing after wing, doing my best to avoid the flashing lights and laughter that surrounded me.
I honestly may have already gone blind when Mary Kate called, “Stop!” To my dismay, I had only consumed eight of the wings in front of me. Now, I am no stranger to food challenges, but as my first hot food challenge, I would be lying if I wasn’t at least slightly impressed with myself. As Mary Kate leaned forward and took a picture of my unsettled face, I realized that there were in fact tears running down my face. With my journalistic integrity intact, I smiled – ever so slightly.
The Verdict/The Aftermath: First of all, Buffalo Wild Wings is awesome and everyone should go. Tuesday nights are half-off, as are Thursday nights – for boneless and traditional wings! – not to mention a discount with your Gannon ID. I recommend the parmesan garlic sauce. If you don’t like hot food, don’t eat the hot wings, ya big dummy.
Now, I feel it my duty to mention what came of my general health later that evening. At approximately 4:30 a.m., I woke up with what I can only describe as “contractions.” Not nausea – this isn’t one of THOSE stories – but more like a wave of debilitating pain. I rolled around in bed for a few hours and ended up lying on my girlfriend’s kitchen floor, unable to attend my 8 a.m. This is not BWW’s fault; it is purely my own for ignoring my biological needs, but I did it for the very piece you are reading now, and looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Moral: “If you play with fire, you’re going to get stomach cramps at 4 a.m.”
Bonus Moral: “If you can’t take the heat, get the parmesan garlic sauce. It’s not worth whoever you’re trying to impress.”