Eating Authors: Larry Correia

No Comments » Written on July 4th, 2011 by
Categories: Plugs

Welcome to the first of our special Campbell Award Nominee addition of our regular Monday feature in which I ask authors about their favorite meals. All month long we’ll be hearing from that select group of writers who are vying to be the one to walk home with the coveted John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer plaque (not a Hugo) at this year’s World Science Fiction Convention in Reno, NV.

This week, we hear from Larry Correia. In addition to being a gun dealer, firearms and certified concealed weapons instructor, and accountant, Larry is the author of Monster Hunter International, and Monster Hunter Vendetta, as well as Monster Hunter Alpha due out later this month.

Monster Hunter International Larry Correia Monster Hunter Vendetta Monster Hunter Alpha

LMS: Welcome, Larry, and congratulations on the Campbell nomination. You know the question, right?

LC: What was the best or most memorable meal I remember having? Wow. That’s an interesting question. I love to eat. Absolutely love it. I’m an adventurous eater. I’ll try pretty much anything, as long as it is considered vaguely edible, somewhere, I’ll probably eat it. My wife put herself through college running the international kitchen at our university, so she’s a really good cook, and can do excellent Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Indian, you name it. I seek out interesting food wherever I go.

However, the single tastiest thing that I’ve ever eaten was a simple hamburger. I grew up on a farm. When I was about eight years old, I was run over by a very angry cow. This was a Brahma/Holstein mix, which is an odd combo anyway. I was helping my parents herd them into a pen, when psycho cow turned around and banzai charged me. It wasn’t enough just to run over the eight year old fat kid… Oh no. She had to stop and dance on me for a while. I got a bad case of hoof to the face. My face lost. Badly. Later, when we ate that particular cow, I remember that the beef was delicious, perfectly seasoned with just a hint of vengeance. My burger tasted of victory.

My most memorable meal however has to be the Wall of Flame Challenge. The following account of this adventure has been copied from my blog.

Imagine going into a Chinese restaurant. Now imagine that they have a sign saying that if you do this certain little challenge, you get the meal for free, your picture on the wall, and a fifty dollar gift certificate. Your picture goes on the Wall of Flames… Sounds neat, huh?


I’m a sucker for this kind of thing. My picture was on the wall at Fudruckers for their 1 pound challenge. (1 pound after cooking burger, w/ giant basket of chili cheese fries and a huge milkshake) I didn’t even break a sweat. I got the t-shirt to prove it. (ironically, the biggest 1 pound challenge shirt available was a Large).

I love this place in Layton called China Wok II (1266 South Legend Hills Dr). I eat lunch there all the time. The food is cheap, really good, and the service is always great.

So today I tried this “Wall of Flame” challenge. How hard could it be? There are five pictures on the wall. So five people managed to do it and not die screaming in horrible fits of agony. Piece of cake.
The challenge. Any of their regular dinners, “spiced up” a bit. With one bowl of rice and one glass of water. You’ve got a half an hour. You can’t get up to leave until you are done. You have to eat the whole thing. Easy, right?

Except that the “spices” they use did not evolve on Earth. You know the spice made out of giant Dune worms that makes your eyes turn weird colors, travel through time, and knife fight Sting? No, this is worse. These spices are made from a pepper that evolved on a strange alien world of fiery death pain suffering. This pepper laughs at jalapenos. This pepper makes the habenero it’s bitch. This pepper has no name, and the ancient Middianites who discovered it referred to it only as – TERRIBLE SHRIEKING DOOM – before it destroyed their entire civilization. This pepper exists in multiple quantum dimensions at one time. This pepper divides by zero.

Are you guys getting me yet? Can you feel it? It is watching you…

So one of these pepper seeds was discovered and brought to Layton Utah. (it was probably discovered on the moon, hell if I know). The seed was then planted in a giant tub, but instead of soil, it was placed in a fine dust made of ground habeneros and napalm. It was watered daily with shoggoth tears. Villagers sacrificed chickens to the Seed. The Seed sprouted (henceforth to be known as the Sproutening) during a lunar and solar eclipse (at the same time!) under Halley’s comet. The pepper grew, and soon replaced Pluto as the ninth planet in the solar system.

My coworker, Dan, decided to try this too. We did not know about – TERRIBLE SHRIEKING DOOM! The owner tried to warn us. He told us that yes, there were five pictures on the wall, but that was out of the 160 people that had tried it so far. (none of them are smiling in those pictures either). It is currently unknown how many of them still live. (one is still in an insane asylum).

The owner said that if you could make it about 5 or 10 minutes, then everything would be fine, because that is when you would start to go numb. (now there’s something to look forward to!) Some people had actually eaten their napkins. Some had gone mad from the pain and gnawed their own limbs off. I was warned not to drink the one cup of water, because water only made IT angrier, and we really didn’t want to make IT any angrier. Satan won’t put these in Hell’s cafeteria’s because he decided that these would be cruel and unusual punishment…

This thing is stupid hot. Only a fool would willingly put it in his mouth.

So there I was, and they bring me out something that had started life as General Tso’s chicken, before it had been covered in a sauce that looked suspiciously like fresh asphalt. Somebody had been screaming in the kitchen a few minutes ago. I think they might have gotten some of the fumes in their eye. But the screams had stopped… Abruptly.

You know food is scary when in order to be eaten, it can’t just be free. They have to give you $50 to eat it and put you on a wall so that you can declare you are more badass than everyone else. You know all those statues of Julius Ceaser? Yeah, it is because he ate one of these once. Pompey Magnus was like, dude, I can’t compete with that. It’s all you. I’m going to Egypt.

I ate a piece. Hot… but not too bad. Kind of like getting pepper sprayed. Nothing I can’t handle. I look over at Dan. He’s playing it cool… I take another bite… still okay… but then a single air molecule hit the Lovecraftian sludge on my tongue and it awoke. Oh yeah… that is starting to hurt. One of my other coworkers (who was smart enough not to put poison alien pepper spores in his mouth) looks over and remarks about how fast my eyes have turned red. It burns. IT BURNS!!!!

At this point I’m about five bites in. Involuntary tears are coming out of my eyes. My hands are starting to shake. Bite six, the hallucinations start. A submarine came out of the floor. The walrus that got out asked me for directions. Man, I’m tripping out. Bite seven… wait… that was my napkin. Bite seven. My brain said “Screw this!” and shut down.

At three minutes and thirty seconds, I surrendered. I made it to the bathroom and blew my nose for awhile because the contents of my entire skull had turned to water and came running out my nose. Dan made it six minutes, which makes him twice the man I am.

Now, for the five men on the wall, they are manly men amongst men. They are titans. I salute them. I tried to pay homage to the Wall of Flame. I might still have still been hallucinating, but I believe the pictures were of George Washington, Vlad Dracula, Miyamoto Mushashi, Optimus Prime, and Christopher Walken.

So, if you are as manly as Christopher Walken and you like to eat molten lava for fun, you need to go to the China Wok. It was literally the hottest thing that I’ve ever eaten. (well, attempted). Now if you’ll excuse me, that walrus is still lost.

= = = = =

Thank you, Larry. And thank you for invoking Christopher Walken here on my blog. Maybe all you needed to make it through the Wall of Flame Challenge was a little more cowbell. I’m just saying…

You know, I’m a big fan of Chinese food, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to enter a Chinese restaurant in Utah without hearing the echo of TERRIBLE SHRIEKING DOOM!!!

Next Monday: Another of this year’s Campbell Award nominees and, of course, another meal!


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