Once upon a time there was a [insert your gender], who became a god damn legend at parties. All because of The Cheddar Cheese Challenge, something that could add some fun to your Labor Day cookout or any other party you host or attend during the holiday weekend — or any other time of the year.

What is The Cheddar Cheese Challenge, you may be asking?

The Cheddar Cheese Challenge is a British drinking game that you’ve likely never heard of, unless you know someone related to me. It’s not a drinking game like flip cup or beer pong, where you drink as you go along. No, this is a game you play after you’ve consumed enough alcohol for what I’m about to describe to seem like a good idea. Sort of like eating a whole pizza seems reasonable after drinking your weight in your beverage of choice.

Before I jump into the specifics of how to play, let me give you the backstory. The Cheddar Cheese Challenge has been around for longer than I’ve been alive, so I turned to my trusty Uncle Derek for the scoop since he was there in the beginning. His description of The Cheddar Cheese Challenge’s genesis is in bold and my commentary is italicized.

“It started in 1982 in the North Briton Public House in Aycliffe Village.”
He’s trying to be fancy for the US audience, but he means “a bar.” A pretty skanky one at that.

“We were having a few beers…”
Definitely in excess of 10 beers, TBH.

“… and for some reason…”
Some reason = aforementioned gullet full of lager.

“I thought it would be a good idea to try and get a cheddar cheese from my head to my mouth.”
A couple of points here: 1) A ‘cheddar cheese’ is slang for a small, circular, cheese-flavored cracker. They are actually called Mini Cheddars and apparently you can buy them in the U.S. on Amazon for a small ransom. 2) LOLOLOLOL. What a legend.

Instead of me badly describing how to compete in The Cheddar Cheese Challenge, why don’t I have Uncle Derek demonstrate?:

First of all, yes, he is speaking English. But here’s the translation for those not fluent in Legend:

“This is Jill’s Uncle Derek in England and I’m putting a challenge out to all you folks in America: The Cheddar Cheese Challenge.”

He would like it noted that he had stage fright and can usually complete The Challenge in just a couple of seconds.

Also note the background antics: my Uncle Lee providing moral support (key to this game) and my Grandad screaming something about the toilet (neither key to this game nor the video).

Over the years, a Cheddar Cheese Challenge tournament has become the main event at just about every family gathering. You start with one mini cheddar and everyone who accomplishes that feat moves on to the second round. Then things get more difficult.

In Round 2, each remaining contestant stacks two mini cheddars and attempts to transport both from head to mouth. Those who succeed move on, and another cheddar is added to the stack in each new round. After a while, blood alcohol levels spike and the game devolves into people experimenting with enormous stacks of crackers and occasionally foreign objects (a slice of pizza, a cup of tea, a newborn baby… you get the point).

The Cheddar Cheese Challenge is by far my favorite party game, perhaps the only game I cheerfully participate in with my hypercompetitive family, because it’s low stakes and rarely results in furniture being turned over. In a weird way, The Cheddar Cheese Challenge brings people together. Here’s another excerpt from Uncle Derek’s story:

“One Sunday on a football trip, they stopped the bingo and 150 people came through to the bar to watch me do seven, which was overwhelming.”

Hyperbole, sure. But probably not by much.

If a Challenge breaks out in a bar or otherwise around new people, you’ll notice something interesting. Initially, folks stand back and watch, not wanting to be involved. Then the bystander will progress to cheering on the contestants, celebrating victory and bewailing defeat. Eventually, though, they’ll want their turn. This game is just ludicrous enough to bring us closer in a wacky shared human experience. We’ve had tournaments at birthdays, Christmases, weddings, and yes, even funerals.

I like to think that the people we’ve introduced to The Cheddar Cheese Challenge have shown their friends and family members, and that maybe there are people we don’t even know engaging in this silly game around the world. One can only hope. Because the world could use more god damn party legends.

America, are you in? My uncle has thrown down the gauntlet.

About Jill Whisnant

Jill earned an honorary degree in sports snark from Twitter University. She resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she spends the fall months at Stanford Stadium. Jill loves flea flickers, Spider 3 Y Banana, and Jim Harbaugh rage. She detests visors and The Wave.