30 August 2006

Competitive eating

It's almost twenty-four and a half years since boot camp, with my company commanders standing there at every meal urging everyone to stuff the food into their mouths, swallow it, and get out of the galley to make room for the next company of boots. ("Don't worry about the taste - it isn't that good anyway.") And I still have to force myself to eat slowly, like a civilised being, and not be the first one to finish at the table.

I've been seeing a lot of articles in the last year or two about the, ah - sport? pastime? hobby? - of competitive eating. Pie-eating contests have long been a common event at fairs, with people attempting to be the first to finish a whole pie. But now there are international events, of which the best known is probably the Nathan's hot dog eating contest at Coney Island; they even show that one on ESPN. The goal there is to eat the most hot dogs - with buns - in twelve minutes, and at this year's event Takeru Kobayashi took the title for the sixth straight year. His score? 53.75 (they go to the nearest eighth). The second-place winner was right behind him with 52, and third place was a distant 37.

There are plenty of other contests, too, involving such things as ice cream, crabcakes, hamburgers, oysters, hard-boiled eggs, and of course pizza. In some contests, such as Nathan's, the goal is to eat the most in a set time; in others, the goal is to be the first to finish a set amount of the product at hand.

So what got me thinking about this? I heard from an old shipmate a week or two ago, and it turns out he's into that sort of thing. Even has a blog about it. The only subs he's likely to blog about are sandwiches (and he's from PA, so he probably calls them hoagies anyway), so don't ask him for any sea stories, but pop on over to Mega Munch and say hi to the Kokomo Wing Eating Champion of Harrisburg.


Mega Munch said...

Hey! Thanks for the mention. Yeah, we call 'em hoagies.

This weekend I'm travelling to Hamburg, PA for my second attempted at winning their annual Hamburger Eating Contest. One year ago, it was my very first eating contest--and my very first defeat.

SIGO said...

Heh heh. Your mention of eating in the military brought SO many lurid memories. To this day I have trouble with eating too fast or taking too large a bite. Of course, I got to a point with MREs that I'd puke just thinking about 'em too (after eating nothing but them for 3 weeks one time).