This event was everything we had hoped for. The highs were high, and the lows were so very low. To the surprise of many, the winner finished seven cans, and in total it took several hours of cunning, fortitude, and sweetened condensed milk to decide the champion.
We had nine entrants, each bringing their $10 and ten cans. Most people had the maximum of 5 sponsors, and therefore a budget of $15. Of the seven items revealed in the first round only one, tomato paste, was not from the safe list.
I pulled off a coup (and reached my high point of the evening) by going into the mystery can pile for what I knew were 100 calorie peaches, which no one placed a bid on. I thought I had made a similar move to get my canned pineapple in round three, only to open the bag and to my horror see whole serrano peppers, which knocked me out.
In the meantime, a large (and frankly, illegal) "can" of peanuts took out Rob, and sweetened condensed milk eliminated Dan. Amelia proved that sweetened condensed milk could be beaten, however.
Trexler powered through some canned salmon, using his heat option. This was particularly surprising since couldn't stand the smell of tuna wafting across the conference room in round one, but apparently he's just very specific about his canned fish. All this work only to walk away after he opened a mystery can to find queso blanco.
Abhi, going for low-volume, high-disgust food, drew some sort of squid in the first round. His strategy held until VJ stuck him with the largest can in the pile, which turned out to be a fatal loaf of bread.
This left VJ versus Garrett for the win. VJ had all the advantages: he had money left in his budget, and was acting last. Garrett chose a mystery item, which VJ bought. Then VJ went for an item, which Garrett would have to eat. He went for the size, shape, and weight of sweetened condensed milk. In a delicious (?) twist, it was a concentrated caramel sauce.
Garrett chipped away at the caramel, just in case VJ couldn't eat any of his item (a can of jalapenos). Instead, VJ finished both the jalapenos and Garrett.
We'll pretend that he is wiping his face in this picture. In all, we ate about half the cans, and donated over a hundred, in addition to $100, to the Connecticut Food Bank. I'm not sure they'll appreciated the quail eggs or four cans of mackarel that went uneaten, but we did our best.