Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vegans Rule the Trough, Part II – A Photo Essay

As promised, here is a photo gallery of Team VeganMania's triumphant win at the Brown Cow Sixth Annual Trough-Eating Contest. For story and commentary, see the previous blog post or click here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The winning VeganMania team (left to right): Ross Cannon, Jeff Olichwier and John Beske

Last night, Chicago VeganMania entered a team in the 6th Annual Brown Cow Ice Cream Trough Eating Contest. The Trough is a gargantuan sundae containing 21 scoops of ice cream with massive amounts whipped cream, cherries and sprinkles. As reported yesterday, this was the first vegan team that ever entered the contest, and it required the creation of a separate all-vegan version of the concoction, which contained three scoops apiece of seven different flavors of Chicago SoyDairy's Temptation Vegan Ice Cream, and a specially blended non-dairy whipped cream.

The VeganMania team completely dominated the event, obliterating the concoction in 6:52, or slightly more than half the time of the nearest competitor. In fact, when officials shut down the competition after 22 minutes, only three teams had finished at all.

The reasons why the VeganManiacs so thoroughly devoured the competition may take more time to understand. No one on the team had ever done this sort of thing before and they only decided less than two days before to enter, so there was no time for preparation. They faced a variety of teams from ambitious college students, to guys who look like they'd be good at this sort of thing. Yet, at the point when Ross, John and Jeff set down their spoons and triumphantly thrust their arms in the air, most of the other troughs looked as though they had barely been touched.

More significantly, while the vegan team was dancing and celebrating, and all went home to nice dinners, the other competitors were clutching their stomachs and wearing pained expressions.

One reason was Jeff Olichwier, who easily consumed 40% of the ice cream himself, easing the load of Ross and John, and whose first words after victory were, "Great, where's dessert?", but that still doesn't account for the vast dominance.

At least one other team's coach was quick to call foul. "These guys had a completely different product", said the white-haired man, whose name we didn't feel compelled to collect since we're not pretending to be a reputable news organization. "Their spoons slid right through it like it wasn't even there!"

"It's true we'll have to put an asterisk next to this one on the plaque," conceded Brown Cow owner Connie Brown. "But we very carefully measured everything. Their trough had the same number of scoops, the same caloric and sugar content, the same air density, everything."

Is the different chemical makeup of the product responsible or may victory be at least partially attributable to the nature of the vegan diet? A training guide for eating contests suggests that competitors train by eating a large amount of low-calorie high fiber and high water-content foods like fruits and vegetables that will stretch out the stomach allowing it to hold more food. Well, this is a pretty good definition of a vegan diet.

At the same time, humans did not eat dairy until a few millennia ago, and then only in northern European countries. It is said that the body needs to produce a special enzyme to digest dairy products, and that many people, particularly people whose ancestors are not from northern Europe, have difficulty producing this enzyme. That's why lactose intolerance is so widespread and why dairy is the most common allergen. Perhaps even people who can abundantly produce this enzyme still can't create enough of it to keep up with massive consumption such as a Brown Cow Trough.

"I think that if the other teams would have eaten the same thing we did, they'd have done better than they did," pondered VeganManiac Ross Cannon. "But we would have still beat them."

More commentary and a photo gallery to follow tonight.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tonight! Cheer on the vegan Super-Eaters!

Come witness the spectacle of extreme food competition as three brave VeganManiacs enter the fray at the Brown Cow Trough Eating Contest. The Trough is an intimidatingly huge sundae containing 22 scoops of ice cream with all the resplendent sauces, whipped cream, sprinkles, nuts and cherries. Each year, several intrepid groups of three super-eaters competes to see who can eat one of these monstrosities in the shortest amount of time.

There has never before been a vegan team competing in the Trough Eating Contest, and in fact none of the employees of the Brown Cow Ice Cream parlor can recall ever having assembled a vegan version of their famous abomination. But the Brown Cow, located in Chicago's near westen suburb Forest Park, has long been popular among vegans for it's inclusion of fine sorbets as well as tantalizing Temptation soy ice cream flavors from Chicago SoyDairy.

Anyone who has ever been to a vegan potluck knows that once we're presented with proper food, we can pack it in as well as anyone, and particularly around vegan ice cream we can be quite ravenous. So this year, we've decided to take the dairy cow by the horns and gently lead her to the nearest animal sanctuary by substituting at least a couple of weeks worth of her product with the healthier, more compassionate and more Earth-friendly organic soy variety.

The Maniacs searched high and low and came up with the ultimate vegan team. Jeff Olichwier, John Beske, and Ross Cannon are the types of guys who always get seconds and will eat right off your plate when you're not looking. They can each eat a lot of ice cream! They're good at this. And they'll need to be. They'll be competing against six teams of seasoned super-eating pros (who will all be consuming the traditional non-vegan Troughs).

Come cheer on the vegan gastronomical athletes, and check out some fine vegan ice cream for yourself in the process.

Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor
7347 Madison Street
Forest Park, IL

7:00 tonight.

Waking Up the Blog

Whoa! This blog has just taken a way too long of a break. If all the news you have received about Chicago VeganMania has come from this blog, you might get the impression that we're not doing anything at all or that perhaps Chicago VeganMania isn't even happening this year. Perish the thought! In fact, we'll be back in the same spot and way bigger and better even then before (if that is even possible).

Even while this blog was sleeping, the Maniacs have been super busy creating an outstanding event. We've persuaded some of the most incredible vegan heroes to join us at Pulaski Park on October 9th, and we have added a whole bunch of new attractions to make sure that everyone attending Chicago VeganMania has the most wonderful and exciting experience of the season.

In the next few days, we'll put out a flurry of posts designed to get you caught up with all our progress. There is so much to say. Stay tuned!