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

Monday, October 09, 2006


One of the criticisms (maybe the only real criticism) about competitive eating is that it's "a waste of food" and "people in Sudan/Somalia/Tulsa are starving."

Blame it on my evolving politics, but I sort of agree. Well, the latter statement about Sudan is pretty much a fact, so you have to agree with that one. And the former, well, that's open to interpretation, but given the amount of food wasted every day at Old Country Buffets across the nation (to say nothing of how much is thrown away at closing time), it seems like the amount of food "wasted" at the average competitive eating table is like a drop in the bucket -- if the bucket were the size of small to medium-sized lake.

Anyhow, I've decided to try to make it right by my conscience. Not by giving up competitive eating, but by giving back a little bit to those who need the calories more than I do. To do so, I'll be donating the monetary value of all the food that I eat in competitions to America's Second Harvest, a network that helps collect and distribute more than 2 billion pounds of food to 25 million low-income hungry Americans each year. It's also the charity that the IFOCE donates to. In fact, if you donate here, the IFOCE will match your total. Not too shabby.

My own contributions started with last week's hot dog contest in Lancaster. At two bucks each, the 9 and a half hot dogs I ate equal a $19 donation to America's Second Harvest. And if, according to the A2H website, every dollar helps distribute 20 pounds of food, then my pathetic performance will move 380 pounds of breakfast, lunch and dinner to families across the nation. If you put it that way, I didn't do too badly.

Future donations will include food eaten in IFOCE competitions ($6 for the shoo fly pies and $14 for the Three Brothers pizzas) and food eaten in local competitions. They'll also include food consumed for personal challenges (like the Wendy's Dollar Menu throwdown in my office).

It's funny. One of the running jokes in competitive eating circles is that even if you lose the contest, at least you'll have gotten a free meal. Well, this new system of giving back sort of eliminates that perk. In fact, the more I eat, the more I'll have to give, but I hope that that will actually inspire me to eat more. Of course, the pride of winning the contest (and maybe some extra money) will inspire me too!

Before I sign off, I want to make it clear that I'm not talking about all of this because I want a pat on the back or to guilt others into giving or any of that crap. I just wanted to put it out there just in case anyone else felt the same way. And if you do, just stop by this page, have your credit card ready and be prepared to feel pretty okay about yourself afterwords.


Blogger steakbellie said...

A very interesting idea. I'm always amazed at how altruistic the eaters can be when the whole event is really just a Marketing Stunt.

I like that you're actually doing something about an aspect that bothers you.

Maybe it will catch

12:28 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Maybe. Like I said, I don't care if others do or don't give. That's up to them, and I'm sure many of them are already donating time, money or supplies to worthy charities.

Truth be told, I actually struggled for about week with the decision of whether or not to even write about this. But in the end, I though it was worth a mention. After all, it's just blog about crap I do in my personal life, so it seems appropriate.

Okay, that's enough of me blabbering. Though I will say that the IFOCE donations page kept giving me errors when I tried to submit my donation (so I had to give on the A2H page). I'll send an e-mail to Kate and see what's up.

1:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too have struggled with the ethical factors as of late. It is refreshing to see someone with the courage to stand up for what they believe in. I have been inspired and will join you in this cause. Thank you very much for your post.

5:58 PM

Anonymous savage said...

that previous post was me

5:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

so those links really come straight to you, right?

just kidding.
do your good thing my man.

and don't let all those IFOCE guys crap on your parade..... you and steak both seem more like AICE guys to me anyway.
and you're welcome to any of our events any time.
as long as you don't beat me.

8:01 PM

Anonymous Philly Guy said...

This reminds me of when Dave and I went against a homeless man in wings.

11:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wing Tut,

I remember Joey donating $2500 of his $5000 prize last year in Atlanta...

11:22 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

SAVAGE AND TUT - Thanks for the support. Tut, you'll have to define what the difference between and AICE eater and an IFOCE eater is on your blog. Seriously, I agree that there are differences and I'd be interested to hear your opinions on them.

And that's awesome to hear about Joey. He's a good guy.

PHILLY GUY - I remember that homeless guy in the wing contest. I was going to mention him in my post, but I wasn't sure if he was homeless or just dressed poorly.

I remember thinking, "Holy shit, there's a homeless guy in this contest." Afterword he came up to me and asked what prize I'd won and I told him ($25 gift certificate). About 30 seconds later I felt like crap for not just giving it to him. I still feel shitty because the gift certificate is sitting at home on my dresser unused.

9:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wonder why anony-moose addressed me in stating that joey gave back "x" dollars of "y" dollars.

did I say anything that had to do with that?

3:21 PM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Yeah, you said, "Joey Chestnut is a greedy, money hungry fuckwad who tortures puppies on the weekends and steals food from homeless shelters for training purposes!"

You don't remember saying that? I didn't want to say anything because I thought you were drunk again.

8:33 AM

Blogger bothenook said...

hell, i don't even know the guy, but i heard that too....

7:23 PM

Blogger gilbert said...

it would be far worse if you were actually eating hungry sudanese, boss.

like in a wok. with i guess teriyaki.

9:08 PM


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