Day 23. 51 pages, 23,853 words.
Late last week, an unexpected Saturday evening’s entertainment brewed when my lanttumies Vuta contacted us with a query about whether we were free on Saturday evening.
 ‘Us’, in this case, referring to a regular little Facebook chat-group including me, Mrs. Hatboy, Vuta, Bella, and Mr. and Mrs. BRKN, and which can include discussions ranging from links to amusing videos of [insert nationality] trying [insert entertainment or food] for the first time, to literal minute-by-minute commentaries on what Mr. BRKN is doing that day, with attachments.
He wanted to go to the American Diner at Jumbo, and try their Big Tower Burger challenge. It’s one of those deals where, if you finish the whole thing, you get put in a Hall of Fame. The only downside is, it costs €50.
We’d considered doing the challenge previously, when we went to see The Magnificent Seven, but Vuta had been unable to attend and so we had decided not to do it without him.
Anyway, we were free but I didn’t feel like spending €50 and I didn’t feel like massively over-eating until I damaged my digestive system (which, let’s face it, hasn’t been the pinnacle of operational excellence since 2011), so I said that I would be happy to attend but wouldn’t be partaking in the challenge.
Mrs. Hindle, far more sensibly, suggested we watch some movies and make food for ourselves at Bar Äijä’s. She then suggested that we hold a food challenge in the bar. I declared this to be a magnificent plan, and promised that I would create a Bar Äijä’s Hall of Fame for anyone who completed the challenge.
 Maybe spoiling her ‘sensible’ rating, or – since she was only going to be spectating anyway – perhaps enhancing it.
And just like that, the idea snowballed out of control. Although ‘snowballed’ suggests a destructive event with far fewer calories than what we ended up with.
Mr. BRKN, as our resident USian, was left unsupervised and uninterrupted in the chat window to come up with a food challenge, and he came up the classic item I have dubbed The Tard Mahal.
The Tard Mahal consists of a pizza, upon which a 700 gram patty of mincemeat has been placed, along with cheese and bacon. A second pizza is placed on top of this, along with a second 700 gram patty, more cheese, more bacon – and then a third pizza on top of this. Add a full bag of potato wedges on the side, garnish with lettuce and tomato (health first!), and chilli sauce, and serve.
If you want to make the variant known as The Vutard, use pan pizzas and high-grade mincemeat that doesn’t fry down to about two-thirds of its original weight. Also, a jumbo package of bacon. And take away the potato wedges, because you wouldn’t want to eat too much.
I met Vuta and Bella at the supermarket as I was purchasing food for my own mini-challenge, which was basically 700 grams of mincemeat that I was going to fashion into normal burger patties, along with onion rings and potato wedges. I did so, by the way, and long story short I have been living off them for the past three days, and I even served some up to Wump and Toop. I put egg, roasted onion and a package of mushroom soup into the patty mix, and it was delicious. But this isn’t about me.
 And, with a few beers and about 6 litres of soft drink and some assorted other daily groceries thrown in, came to about €45 so was still a saving on the Big Tower Burger challenge.
Vuta then kindly documented his creation process as he assembled The Vutard.
Two patties, total raw weight 1.4 kg. Plus sriracha sauce.
Layer 1, pizza and fried patty and bacon and cheese and (I think) garlic sauce.
Layer 2, second stone-oven pan pizza (supermarket brand but good brand), tomatoes, patty #2, cheese, garlic sauce, tabasco.
The completed Vutard. The total weight was somewhere in excess of 3.5 kg (7.7 lbs).
When my father-in-law saw this creation, he reportedly said to Vuta, “I hope it’s more than just the four of you [Vuta said they were going to our place so he assumed Vuta, Bella, Hatboy and Mrs. Hatboy would be eating this], because you’re never going to finish that.” He didn’t have the heart to tell him that … well, there would technically be six of us, but this was just for him.
Mr. BRKN had done this before, so his own variant was much slicker. He’d fried his patties well to reduce them, pressed the whole thing carefully to minimise the stack-up, and assembled it with great expertisse and USian know-how and can-do spirit. They showed up at our place and gorging commenced.
We ended up not eating in Bar Äijä’s itself, on account of the Bar Äijä’s blu-ray player not accepting the DVD we wanted to watch (fuck Samsung blu-rays and their so-called region-free DVD capacity, and fuck the store clerk who sold this shit to me on the promise that my DVDs would actually work on it), so we sat in the living room and enjoyed Knights of Badassdom (for a second time, for Mrs. Hatboy and myself) and giggled as Vuta and Mr. BRKN tried to devour their Tard Mahals.
Spoiler: They failed. But gloriously.
We also watched Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, purely for the Mr. Creosote part (and because Mr. BRKN had not seen the movie, and that is a disgrace that cannot be borne in our home).
Ultimately, each of our heroes got about halfway through (due credit to Vuta for the pan option, and Mr. BRKN for also eating a full bag of potato wedges and also eating hamburgers and stuff for half the day leading up to the goddamn challenge), before allowing their better halves to have a nibble. Even with their help (said better halves were all eating avocado pasta, like fancy-pants non-gluttons), the result was a rousing defeat at the hands of Vast Quantities of Food.
My hat goes off to these trail-blazers. We have decided that the next challenge will just be the one patty and the two pizzas (and bacon and cheese. And lettuce and tomato! Because health first! And wedges!). Let’s see if anyone finishes it and gets into the as-yet uncreated Bar Äijä’s Hall of Fame.
Bella and Vuta headed homeward at about one in the morning when, halfway through a game of Cards Against Humanity, Vuta started to feel the need to sit on the toilet and didn’t want to desecrate ours. The BRKNs left at about 02:00am.
Good times, great company. Well done everyone.