Monday, 4 April 2016

Rachel Eats a Tombstone

Rachel eats a tombstone

I have to admit, I have been bested. Never before have I experienced the meat sweats so intensely. The air of SUB felt heavy, and I could feel the grease in my bones. I ate a Tombstone. More like, most of a tombstone...

When I signed up for this, I had no idea what I was in for – but apparently my friends and acquaintances did! When I told them my plan, I was met with faces that were mixed with worry and an evil sort of excitement. One of those faces belonged to my fellow YA contributor, Niabi, who was kind (or evil?) enough to offer to document my tombstone attempt, because, as she put it “no one should ever eat one of those alone.” So, here’s what happened (with commentary by both Niabi and I).

Rachel: Before the Deed

The infamous Tombstone donair

As I walked away from Marco’s Donair in SUB, the weight of the Tombstone in my hands, I could see the next hour of my life: I had been warned of the meat sweats, the grease, and the heaviness that the donair/poutine’s mouthwatering yumminess would leave in my stomach. I was remaining confident, but when the workers at Marco’s had asked me how many forks I needed and I replied with “only one,” their eyes silently conveyed the message “good luck with that” before they went back to helping the line.

Niabi: The Delighted Observer

After 15 minutes of eating, Rachel’s facial expressions started to change, and so at this point I decided to write down her reactions and the things she was saying. The result is this time log. And yes, I timed her.

16.00 minutes in: At this point, a good two quarters into the Tombstone, Rachel said “I think I’m full, because when I move, it hurts.”

17.00 minutes in: Removing her cardigan Rachel said, “I want to sit on the floor.”

Rachel eats a Tombstone

17.38 minutes in: “You need a fan to eat this.” (The Tombstone is not spicy people, it is just so large that you may work up a sweat while eating it).

18.00 minutes in: “I think I’m gonna call it quits.” Rachel burps. “It hurts to laugh.” She said.

18.30 minutes in: Rachel asks me “Niabi, did you wear stretchy pants? Because I wore stretchy pants.”

18.33 minutes in: Rachel lies back on the couch and closes her eyes, proceeding to take a nap.

The Tombstone beats Rachel

21.00 minutes in: Rachel is eating the Tombstone again.

Image Courtesy of Simpson's Quotes on Pintrest
But how did we get here? Why is the Tombstone even a thing? What kind of person says, "I want to stick a full order of poutine inside an already packed donair?" It turns out that the answer is David McBean, U of A alum, and former SU Services volunteer and staff member. Meeting in front of Marco’s, he told us some insider information about the Tombstone, how it was named, and what it takes to finish one.

First up, he explained the name to us.

David: Well, the first donair that we made was called the Wild Cat donair, which was inspired by our favourite band called Ratatat (Note: he was wearing the band’s shirt!), and they have a song called Wild Cat. At the time, when my friends and I were eating donairs a lot, we were pretty obsessed with the song Wild Cat by Ratatat and that’s how we came up with that name.

For the Tombstone, we were all eating Wild Cats in SUB and playing Oregon Trail, which is like an old, 1990s video game. (Note: he would have been playing this around 2010 or 2011…. So, he’s not THAT much older than we are.) The gist of the game is that you load up a caravan and you try to make it across the United States and not die of terrible diseases, and when we reached the end of the map, everyone had died except for one person, Flavour Flav. He was the last person left, and as he was sailing down the final Oregon river, he crashed and died, and a big tombstone appeared in the game. If you look at the Tombstone’s poster, it’s a screenshot of the tombstone from Oregon Trail.

Next up, was the inspiration for adding poutine to a donair.

David: In high school, we had a poutine club, which started out as four friends (shout out to Eric, Wyatt, and Tyler!). Right by Harry Ainlay there was a Poutine Palace restaurant, and every Friday we’d get poutine there. It just started as the four of us and as the years went on, the size of the poutine group got bigger and bigger until eventually it was like 30 people.

Donair + poutine = the meat sweats

When we were all in grade 12 the poutine palace shut down, tragically, and in place of it a donair store opened up. So instead, the group of us went and got donairs every Friday, and when we all went to university we wanted to keep this tradition, so we started the donair club. We’d go to Marco’s every Friday as a big group in SUB and we’d all eat donairs, and after doing that for about a year, we first came up with the Wild Cat, and maybe six months after that, as a tribute to our poutine roots, we wanted to put the poutine inside of the Wild Cat, and ended up calling it the Tombstone.

So, obviously, I couldn’t finish a tombstone. Which lead us to ask, can David?

David: I…have been one bite away, and it’s been one of my greatest regrets. That was the first time I tried it, and I’ve tried multiple times, and I haven’t been able to do it. I’ve seen lots of people do it, and Wyatt Young, the other co-inventor of the Tombstone, is the first one to ever complete one and he finished it on his first try.

Image courtesy of

*Niabi and I applaud*

So knowing that, we asked David what kind of personal attributes one would need to finish a Tombstone.

David: It’s a lot of lying to yourself. I think you need to tell yourself that you still have space in your stomach. Maybe some stuff to wash it down, like some tea or water, would help you finish it. But it’s definitely one of the most challenging things to eat. It’s a lot of mental preparation. And as long as you do it fast enough. Don’t they say you can eat as much as you can in around 5-10 minutes? Yeah, so you’ve got to trick yourself.

David then told us why he thinks people should give the Tombstone – now a U of A quirk – a try.

David: *laughs* Um, you know, I feel like it’s part of being alive, like it should be on everyone’s bucket list. At least a onetime thing, just to say you’ve gone out there, you took a risk, you ordered a Tombstone, and you accomplished it. And I think it just kind of helps us all experience life in a nutshell.

So that’s the story of Rachel eating a Tombstone, with some extra background for anyone who has ever said “who’s idea was this?!?!?”

Difficulty Scale (form 1 to 10):

The first half is like a one, but then it gets exponentially closer to ten at the end. The last two bites are a ten out of ten, like it just feels greasy, you’re sweating from the meat. So overall a ten, but it definitely starts out easier than it finishes.

Note: Difficulty rating courtesy of Tombstone creator, David McBean.

Rachel - YouAlberta Contributor

Rachel never leaves her house without a pair of good headphones, her current favourite read, and a cup of tea. She’s a third-year English Major and Linguistics Minor who mainly enjoys hanging out with cats, but will leave their side for the promise of some live music and the company of friends. Some of her dreams include sleeping in and never running into a scary insect ever again.

Niabi - YouAlberta Contributor

Niabi is a third year student just starting a BA in English with a Spanish Minor. She’s a relentless optimist, hazardously curious, and tends to laugh a lot (her friends would say that she has a juvenile sense of humour). When not spending money she doesn’t have on clothes, or jamming out to Reggaeton, you can find her in a movie theatre, reading a book that involves sword fighting and dragons.


No comments

Post a Comment

© YouAlberta | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template by pipdig