Épreuve des Fatayers

This past Wednesday, May 25th, was Africa Day. It is a celebration of the various African nations’ independence from colonial rule and marks the day in 1963 when the Organization of African Unity was formed. The OAU has since become just the AU, but we’ve still got the day.

School was out and the Peace Corps bureau was closed in celebration. So, seeking to find an activity that properly embraced the Africa Day ideals of freedom, liberty and self-determination, we decided to have a fatayer eating contest. Fatayers are a magical food that, much like the peoples of Africa, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What unifies them all together is their ground meat filling and fried doughy exterior. The meat can be camel or goat or even beef. The bread might be light and fluffy or dense or crispy and flaky. It all makes no difference; if there is meat, bread and frying: you’ve got a fatayer.

The particular fatayers for our challenge were from Snak Irak. The dough is fairly light, about the consistency of a hotdog bun. The meat is goat, I think. Triangular, about four inches on a side and at about a pound of well-greased heft; they are a hearty meal. They are sort of big though and a bit intimidating, so we only had three contestants:

Going in, Scott was the favorite. He’s got a solid build and a hearty appetite. In an unfortunate planning strategy gone awry however, he ate a fairly large breakfast mere hours before the contest was to begin. Whether this would impair him to the point of allowing Marc or myself to taking him was highly questionable however. I myself was something of a wildcard. I am a renowned eater, but more so based on a lack of discrimination rather than quantity.

The rules were simple and sixfold:

  1. Winner is whoever eats the most
  2. Puking disqualifies you unless you reconsume it
  3. Counting is done in half fatayer increments (you can’t win by a single bite)
  4. There is a one hour time limit
  5. In the case of a tie after an hour it goes to bite for bite sudden death
  6. Losers buy the winners food

We all started out strong. The fatayers come out freshly microwaved and piping hot with your choice of condiments. Marc went with the traditional ketchup and mayonnaise, while Scott was a bit spicier with mustard and mayo, and I went spartan with just ketchup and a bit of mayo on the side if they got too dry.

Starting Out Strong

Marc was the first to drop out. He made it through three, but by that time Scott had a half a fatayer lead and I had a whole one, so he dropped out. Another couple fatayers later I had widened my lead to a full two over Scott. He was at four and I was at six. He knew he could make it to six, but didn’t think he could do seven. He doubted my resolve though and so tried for the fifth forcing me to do the seventh to maintain my lead.

As I mentioned earlier, each one of these things weighs about a pound. I’d already eaten six. Laughing was starting to hurt because my stomach was pushing out so much. The seventh was a challenge. Swallowing got sort of difficult. The mechanism just stopped working. Some part of my brain was desperately trying to halt the influx of fatayers into the system. In the end though, mind won out over body and I got the seventh down. Scott made it through his fifth, but he would need two and a half more to beat me and he threw in the towel.

So it was there that we ended:

  • Marc: 3 fatayers
    fatayer
    fatayer
    fatayer
  • Scott: 5 fatayers
    fatayer
    fatayer
    fatayer
    fatayer
    fatayer
  • Will: 7 fatayers
    fatayer
    fatayer
    fatayer
    fatayer
    fatayer
    fatayer
    fatayer
Starting Out Strong

In celebration of a contest well-played (and a diet completely fucked), we went out for ice cream. I figured I’d splurge since I’d just saved myself $3.50. (Fatayers are 150um (50¢) apiece, so my winning 3kg of fatayers was 1050um ($3.50). It was a cheap contest.) So, I got myself two ice cream bars in an attempt to add balance my diet of fat with a little sugar.

I don’t really remember much of the rest of the afternoon. I went home and lie about in a fatayer induced stupor. I eventually passed out wondering if there is a version of hyponatremia where your blood gets so much grease in it that it solidifies. I awoke to some minor gastrointestinal distress, but nothing worse than the cramps from eating the pepto.

If you’re really bad, I’m pretty sure you either come back as Marc’s liver or my stomach. ☺

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