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Students Tackle Cheesecake Challenge

Too Much to Swallow for Some


For the last two years David Rowinsky, the owner of Rowinsky's cake shop on Mt. Auburn St., has bet $25 that no one can have one of his five-pound cheesecakes and eat it in one hour, too.

So far, over 100 people have tried it but only four have proved him wrong.

Alasdar H. Halliday '82, who struggled through seven pieces-about 2.1 pounds worth-yesterday, is Rowinsky's latest victim. Although the first piece went down quickly-"No problem," he said-Holiday faded fast and by the sixth piece had lost some of his confidence. "This is huge-I can't believe somebody actually did this," he said.

James Friedman '80, a six-foot-four-inch, 245-lb, cheesecake victor, ate it all in 59 minutes last year.

"I always thought that I could eat more than anyone else and I wanted to prove it," Friedman said yesterday. He said that his training included going to dinner with his friends and getting all their food for them on the day of the attempt and using "a special burp technique" while eating the cake.

But polishing off five pounds of cream cheese, whole eggs, cane sugar and water, no matter how well Rowinsky puts it together, has proved impossible, and sometimes revolting, for many lesser gluttons.

One freshman who took Rowinsky on last week said, "I figured it would be a waste of cheesecake so I gave up after 15 minutes and took it home. The consistency was just too much."

Rowinsky said yesterday a contestant's supporters usually add some life to the ordeal, especially when the contestant's confidence begins to wane. "You're going to be immortal, Al. Very sick, but immortal," a member of Halliday's entourage said at a particularly low point yesterday.

"Being that sick isn't worth $25," a spectator said.

Rowinsky's cheesecake challenge is also good for business. Each contestant must pay for the cake in advance and is only repaid if the cake is eaten within an hour. At $11 each and about 100 unsuccessful attempts, that adds up to a lot of cheeseeake.

Rowinsky got the idea in 1970 at his original store in Porter Square.

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