The mission: Colds must be fed. Where better to test this out than an `all-you-can-eatery'? Matthew Sweet suffers for science

wo phrases underpin this week's mission: "Feed a cold" and "All you can Eat". And this is the story of their horrible collision. Some people have tested the limits of the human frame by scaling mountains or blasting themselves up into space - either of which I would have been prepared to do to furnish material for this column. Instead, I was forced to take up a less noble challenge - testing how much food one human being could consume in a day. A fairly greedy human being with a stinking cold. Anyone with a weak stomach should probably now flip forward to the Crossword.

Breakfast is three Shredded Wheat, a tough assignment for anyone with a gippy throat, so I take a preparatory Menthol Lemsip to dull the pain. People say that Shredded Wheat has the taste and texture of mattress-filling, but I find it quite agreeable. (Shredded Wheat that is, not mattress-filling.) Eating three, however, is hard work - mainly because of the combination of fatigue and boredom that hits you halfway through your second one.

By 1pm, I'm hungry again, and looking for a challenging lunch. London's Pizzaland on Charing Cross Road currently has an all-you-can-eat offer. Rather tempting, you might think, until you peer through the window and see the sorry mulch of pasta and limp slices of pizza that are busy losing their flavour on the hotplate. I march bravely in, and get a table at the back so that I can't be seen from the street by anyone who knows me. After my first five slices, the novelty of this cornucopian experience is wearing as thin as the topping on a Pizzaland pizza. The burpy drink they throw in is no help to the digestion, either. One slice later, I've surrendered.

At 6pm, I think I could manage a bit of dinner. So it's off on the Heathrow Express to visit my nearest branch of Harry Ramsden's, in order to take up the gauntlet of Harry's Challenge, a full-on ultralard experience that very few have had the stamina to complete. To my surprise, I realise that the man in the seat parallel to mine is Irvine Welsh. I think about asking his advice on excess and indulgence, but I'm still a bit queasy from the pizzas, and don't want to run the risk of puking over a celebrity.

I'm disappointed to find that the waiter at Harry Ramsden's in Terminal One is from France, rather than Yorkshire. He explains the terms of Harry's Challenge: "You merst eat everyzink. Not on ze table, not on ze floor". Moments later, dinner arrives. It is a gigantic deep-fried version of the Krypton Factor assault course. There is a shovelful of chips; two large ramekins of mushy peas; a big pot of tartare sauce. Most frighteningly, there is a monstrous battered halibut that hangs over the edges of the plate.

Feeling a little like Captain Ahab going for the kill, I tuck in. And it's good. Very good, in fact. The mushy peas are nice and vinegary; the batter is deliciously crisp. But there is so much that it feels more like an ordeal than a meal. By the end, I'm reduced to squashing up the chips and concealing them under the surface of the tartare sauce. I even consider hiding a fistful in my napkin and slipping them into my satchel, but there are too many people around for this to be a viable option. Someone might grass me up to the waiter, and then I might be stripped of my honours at a later date. With the aid of a cup of tepid Yorkshire tea, I slosh the last few chips inside me. I feel like death, but I now have a certificate to put on my toilet wall, which I can gaze up at between rounds of vomiting. "Would you like anything else?" asks the waiter, sarcastically.

Back home, I'm still sneezing, and rather sceptical about the idea that eating like a pig will cure a cold. So I round off the day's toils with a wafer-thin mint. Unlike the man in the Monty Python film, I don't explode. Which is probably more of a relief for the upholstery than it is for me.

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living