This is the true story of a little boy named Edgar. Edgar was a bus boy at a little tiny restaurant in Queens. He was always flat broke because he was known to go out on the weekend and get so plastered that he would either spend all of his money or lose it; he was never quite sure which. One day at the restaurant, the Big Bad Chef overheard Edgar saying how badly he was in need of money. The chef, always one to take advantage of someone else's misfortune if he thought it could benefit him in any way, said to Edgar, "I know a way you can make an easy hundred bucks." Edgar's eyes lit up; his two favorite words were "easy" and "money" so the chef had certainly gotten his attention.
"Okay, what do I have to do?" asked sad, desperate and poor Edgar.
"You ever hear of the Cinnamon Challenge?"
Of course Edgar had never heard of it but if it involved an easy hundred bucks, he definitely wanted to learn more. The Cinnamon Challenge is when someone tries to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon without the aid of water and it must be done within sixty seconds and without spitting any of it out. Cinnamon is delicious on things like French Toast or rolls or oatmeal, but alone on a tablespoon it does not have the same appeal. However, Edgar eagerly accepted the challenge.
The crew headed down to the basement where the giant container of cinnamon sat on a shelf waiting to be used in a proper fashion. Big Bad Chef grabbed the plastic canister and dipped a tablespoon into it. "So you gotta put the whole spoonful in your mouth and swallow it. No water and no spitting. If you get it all down in under a minute, the money is yours." He slapped five twenty dollar bills onto the stainless steel table and handed the spoon to Edgar. Edgar thought this was going to be a breeze. It's just a tablespoon, right? "Ready?" said Chef. "Three, two, one, GO!"
Edgar dumped the spoon of cinnamon into his mouth and began to swallow it. Within seconds, his eyes started to water and his throat started to constrict, but he persevered. Trying not to cough, he closed his eyes tight and focused on how many Coronas he could buy with a hundred dollars. Thirty seconds into the challenge, he held back a cough. The Chef was starting to get worried. At forty-five seconds, the spice got the best of him and he coughed sending out a cloud of brown powder all over his shirt and the floor. It was not pretty but the basement now smelled like a big holiday candle. The Chef reached over to the money. "You lose, loser," he said. Edgar grabbed a glass of water and chugged it down trying unsuccessfully to get the cinnamon out of his mouth. Gagging and spitting, his throat hurt and his eyes burned but nothing was more painful than seeing everyone laugh at his failure.
"I knew you couldn't fucking do it!" The Chef put the twenty dollars bills back in his pocket and went up stairs laughing all the way.
Edgar brushed off his shirt and finished the water. He was okay now but didn't know if he would ever be able to eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast again. Back upstairs, the Chef gave a play by play recount of the event for anyone who hadn't seen it firsthand. Eventually, Edgar made his way back upstairs. He smelled nice but he was still broke.
It's not an easy challenge to win. Edgar gave it a good shot though. "Maybe next time," he thought. Poor Edgar. I think he might be a little naive. Later that night the Chef gave him a peace offering. He handed him a spoon of "whipped cream" which was actually meringue that had not been sweetened, so basically a spoon of egg whites. Edgar also told me that a few days earlier Chef had asked him to taste the sauce for the special of the day. Edgar swallowed the whole serving which he quickly learned was a ramekin of chicken fat.
A word of advice to Edgar: if anyone offers you a Soggy Biscuit, don't take it. And if you want to see a video of some other Cinnamon Challenge failures, you can click here.
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