"It is possible to die from eating. But I think to be professional means you don't die." (Takeru Kobayashi)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Greatest Eaters Known to Ink

Personality (and a beach ball-sized stomach) plays a big role in succeeding on the competitive eating circuit. That said, I polled some friends and did some of my own poking around to determine the greatest mega munching personalities – human or otherwise – in the history of comics or cartoons. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some key eaters (or misranked some the greats), so feel free to leave a comment with your own suggestions.


Food of Choice: Lasagna

Pound for pound, no Earth-born creature can eat as much in one sitting as Garfield. Being born in an Italian restaurant has given this fat orange cat an insatiable appetite for lasagna, a craving he satisfies by shoveling entire pans of the stuff down his gullet in faster than Kobayashi at ballpark hot dog stand. But it doesn’t stop there. The moment Jon turns his head, cheeseburgers and turkeys vanish. A bowl of cat food? Neighborhood birds? Gone in seconds. Which cuts to the heart of the argument for Garfield’s position at the top of this list. It’s not the quantity of food he eats (which is staggering in itself), but the awesome speed with which he makes it disappear. This otherworldly skill is topped off by an unquenchable addiction to coffee. Now that’s a feline after my own heart – and I’m not a cat person.


Food of Choice: Hamburgers

Besides possessing a phenomenal appetite and a dog named Hot Dog, this Archie Comics star is one of the few members of this list to actually prove himself in a bona-fide competitive eating event. When a rival high school challenged him to a hamburger eating contest against their own undefeated champion, Jughead beat him handily and immediately left the celebration to pursue more hamburgers. In another cartoon, he claimed to have weighed 300 pounds after a particularly massive meal, but burned it off thanks to his awesomely efficient digestive system and metabolism. His love of cuisine has turned him into Riverdale's resident food critic and later inspired him to open his own diner, which can be seen in the Archie spinoff "Jughead's Diner."


Food of Choice: Doughnuts

Homer can’t pass a Krusty Burger drive-thru without ordering up a few double-doubles and when this man spots a plate of doughnuts in the power plant break room, his co-workers can do nothing but stand back and enjoy the show. In one episode, he spent weeks eating an entire giant hoagie long after its expiration date. According to Homer’s Wikipedia entry, the big man’s diet has also included “crab juice, flowers
, Play-Doh, Vaseline, dirt, Legos, pure flour, some novelty plastic lobsters from a salad bar, toxic waste, buttered up bacon, dishwashing liquid, the decorative bride and groom from a wedding cake, fancy soaps, Marge's lipstick, a package of dry gravy mix he found in a parking lot, men's slacks and extremely old baking soda from the family refrigerator.” He’s even been known to clean his family’s dinner plates (even if they’re not quite finished). No wonder Bart, Lisa, and Maggie haven't grown an inch in 17 years.

Food of Choice: Sandwiches

These two are inseparable…sort of like a mega munching tag team. Even when running from ghosts, goblins or creepy lagoon creatures, they still can’t pass a refrigerator without whipping up a three-foot long hoagie. (Scooby gains a slight edge by still having enough room for a few Scooby snacks.) Rumors that the duo’s appetite might be chemically enhanced prevents them from placing higher on this list.


Food of Choice: Massive Sandwiches

If you read my previous post about the world’s largest sandwich, you’ll know that Dagwood Bumstead can whip up a midnight snack in seconds and consume the entire thing before Blondie even realizes he’s left the bed. I wonder what he does to work up such an appetite?

(In an unscientific effort to settle the argument, this site pitted Jughead, Shaggy, and Dagwood against each other in an open debate to determine who’s the biggest eater. I’m not sure Jughead got a fair shake in this one.)


Food of Choice: Assorted picnic fare

No pic-a-nic basket is safe when Yogi is around. Granted, he is a bear, and we assume he’s sharing some of his loot with his little pal Boo Boo, but we’re talking about multiple baskets for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Food of Choice: Dots, Ghosts

Though better known for his role in igniting an early-80s video game craze, Pac-Man was also the star of a Saturday morning cartoon series. He’s a deserved member of the mega munching Hall of Fame thanks to a bizarre taste for little white dots and ghosts (which, admittedly, can’t be all that filling). He’s also been known to consume assorted fruit items hidden throughout his maze-like world.


Food of Choice: Cheesy Poofs, Pot Pie

With a doting mother willing to endulge his every whim and culinary desire it’s no wonder Cartman’s “friends” shower him with insults about his weight every chance they get. But it doesn’t matter. Whether he’s eating the skins off an entire bucket of extra crispy fried chicken or locking poor, gullible Butters in a fall out shelter in order to secure a spot at Kyle’s birthday party at Casa Bonita, Eric Cartman always gets the last laugh.


Food of Choice: Spinach

Perhaps no other character is so synonymous with a particular food as Popeye is with spinach (he's even got his own brand of the stuff). With one squeeze, he can sent the contents of an entire can of the green goop shooting into the air and down the chute like a frat boy funneling cheap beer. The salty sailor gets extra kudos for his ability to get millions of kids across the American to at least try the vegetable before wondering why he couldn’t have drawn his super powers from something much tastier, like macaroni and cheese or ice cream sandwiches.


Food of Choice: Hamburgers

Popeye’s friend J. Wellington Wimpy loves burgers, but is either too poor or too cheap to buy them himself (giving rise to his plea, “I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”). Like his pal Popeye, Wimpy also has his own brand with a chain of UK hamburger restaurants. His dedication to the world’s best sandwich and his ability to con his way into enjoying so many free meals is what earns him a spot on this hallowed list.


Winnie the Pooh
Food of Choice: Honey by the gallon

Fred Flintstone
Food of Choice: Racks of ribs big enough to tip over a car


Blogger Liz said...

Is it sad that the only female addition I can think of is Cathy? She has the love/hate thing going with food, but she puts away whole panels' worth in blind flurries.

1:40 PM


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