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

Thursday, November 30, 2006


This god damned cold that snuck up on me in the wake of my nugget fest (I still shudder when I think about nuggets...I hope that passes) has developed into a full blown headachy mucus fest. It comes complete with a deep, raspy voice--which is kind of cool in an Issac Hayes sort of way--and, here's the worst part, decreased appetite. Just in time for my Taco Challenge tomorrow evening. Great.

But it's all good. I'll still be physically hungry tomorrow, even if I'm not mentally hungry. It'll be up to me to override that mental block. Or is it the other way around? Mentally, but not physically? I don't know. All I know is that I really really really don't want to lose this thing, and I think I know what I have to do: Eat every damned taco or puke trying.

I'd rather get DQ'd for a reversal than lose and have to blame it in a cold. Thing is, I've only reversed (in a contest or otherwise) once in the last 8 years. I hate it. I'll do anything to prevent it from happening. Especially in front of 20 people I know and have to work with. Fuck.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


From one fast food challenge to another. This friday after work six or seven of us from the agency are throwing down in the first annual (and probably last annual) Taco Bell Taco Eating Challenge Extravaganza. It's pretty simple; 20 tacos, first to finish--or whoever's leading after 30 minutes--wins. Buy your own tacos, plus there's a $5 entrance fee. Winner takes all. Yeah, we bust out the big bills here in H-Burg.

We couldn't decide whether the tacos should be hard or soft, so we went with 10 and 10. Seems pretty obvious to me though. A taco "shell" is supposed to be hard. Anything less is a burrito, right?

Sunday, November 26, 2006


A few days ago, SuperSizedMeals.com posted something about a man who failed to reach his goal of eating 27.5 Wendy's nuggets in one sitting (he would eat 26 before calling it quits). It was all the inspiration I needed. At 5:35 pm this evening, I walked into the McDonalds on Front Street in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and ordered 80 chicken McNuggets. My heart and stomach swelled with pride when the cashier screamed to the crew in the back, "Y'all better drop some more nuggets! Like a lot!"

Damn right. What follows is a pictoral account of my attempt to eat all four 20-piece orders in under one hour. For the record, yes, I know I used McDonald's nuggets instead of Wendy's nuggets. It was simply a matter of personal preference. In the Flickr photo set linked at the bottom of this post, you'll find a picture of two Wendy's nuggets side-by-side with their Mickey D's brethren and you'll notice both artery cloggers are eerily similar in size and shape.

Me and my prize
This is a shot of me showing off my bowl 'o nuggets. This was also the bowl I used to weigh the little bastards (just shy of 2.75 pounds).

Nuggets and Pete
My Boston Terrier, Pete, keeps an eye on my nuggets. Normally he'd get yelled at for getting that close to my food with that look in his eye, but not this time. Dipping sauces are visible in the foreground. From left to right: barbeque, sweet and sour, honey mustard and buffalo sauce (just like the stuff they use on buffalo wings). During the latter, nauseous stages of the contest, I used considerably less spicy buffalo sauce.

Nugget number 50
Tearing into nugget #50 around the 12 minute mark. I wasn't speed eating (like I would during a timed contest against other eaters), but I was eating a slightly faster pace than I would normally. Early in the contest, I was popping one and sometimes two nuggets at a time. By nugget 50 I'd slowed to one.

10 more nuggets
Around nugget #60 I hit "the wall." I was startled at how quickly it overtook me. One second the nuggets were going down fine and two nuggets later I was starting to sweat (literally!). Here I am taking a breather 25 minutes into the attempt with 10 nuggets remaining. By this time I was no longer popping them into my mouth whole, I was taking half-nugget (or smaller) bites.

80 Nuggets Down
Done! I pushed myself to get the last three down during the final minute and finished with an official time of 29 minutes and 57 seconds. Before I started, I thought I'd only be able to do between 50 and 60. But, in the minutes after I'd completed the admittedly disgusting feat, I was confident that I could have downed another 20 over the next half hour to lay claim to 100 in one hour. Oh well, another day.

A complete set of pictures can be seen here.

UPDATE: 24-hours later, the effects of the nuggets on my body are debatable. I woke up at 4:30 this morning with an incredible thirst (a byproduct of taking in 370 percent of my daily intake of sodium) which couldn't be quenched. I tossed and turned for about an hour before rolling out of bed. Besides feeling generally slow and groggy today, I'm also coming down with a cold. I get only one or two mild colds each year, so this is either a coincidence or somehow the nuggets have eroded my immune system and have left me vulnerable to all sorts of diseases. Syphillis, dandruff, dyslexia...I can only imagine what's next.

Friday, November 24, 2006


I'm constantly emailing myself links of things to write about. Sometimes I actually end up writing about them, and sometimes I don't. Here's a few that I've found buried in my inbox:


Originally posted on Super Sized Meals, this guy tried to eat 27.5 Wendy's chicken nuggets, but alas, threw in the towel after just 26. What a slacker. Seriously, I try not to heap criticism on underachieving feats of eating (I've had my share), but 26 nuggets? I eat 20 piece boxes from McDonalds for breakfast -- with milk and sugar on top with a side of double Whopper.

But seriously, I've never tried more than 20 nuggets, so I guess I can't talk too much smack. Crap, looks like I'll have to go grab three 20-piece boxes sometime soon. I'm soooooo upset that I have to do this. I reeeaally wish there was some way to get out of this, but I guess I'll just have to do it and take way too many pictures and write about it on my blog. Stay tuned.


Hungover gourmet broke this story on his blog. Taco Bell is offering $12,500 in Taco Bell Bucks (the equivalent of a lifetime supply of diarr...tacos) to the first geek willing to trade in their precious PS3. Taco Bell will then donate the overpriced game system to the Boys and Girls Club.

I'm pretty sure someone already did it, but I emailed the folks at the Bell and told them I'd be willing to trade in my PS3. I don't have one, but if they take me up on my offer I'll buy one of several thousand listed on eBay (average going rate, around $1,000), trade it for my Taco Bucks and then sell the Taco Bucks at 50 cents on the dollar for $6,250. Or just keep them. I haven't decided yet.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Tomorrow is the day. Turkey Day. For competitive eaters, Thanksgiving is like the best holiday of the entire year (right next to Halloween, which is when many of us discovered our talents, many Superman costumes ago).

Of all the Thanksgiving fare, I'm definitely a green been casserole kind of guy. You know what I'm talking about...green beans, cream of mushroom soup and those cripsy onion things on top. It's weird because I don't eat a lot of green beans the rest of the year (they're not even in my top 5 of favorite vegetables) and I don't eat green bean casserole but maybe three times January through December. That's good. I wouldn't want it to lose it's charm.

The turkey, of course, is excellent as well. Mashed potatoes (don't apologize for the chunks, mom, I like 'em that way). Today is the Axia 3 Thanksgiving Invitational. About a dozen of the best eaters in the nation will face off. The discipline? Whole turkeys. My head aches at the awesomeness of that contest.

Of course, turkey contains a lot of tryptophan, an amino acid that triggers the production of the calm and sleep inducing chemical, serotonin. But it's actually a myth that the turkey and its tryptophan is what causes drowsiness. Truth is, tryptophan actually works best as a free amino acid and on an empty stomach (you like how I'm spouting this off like I know it off the top of my head?), but the tryptophan in turkey is acutally part of a protein. For some reason, that means it doesn't work quite the same way. What really causes us to be sleepy is just over-eating, lots of carbohydrates and, you guessed it, branched chain amino acids. Like the kind found in green bean casserole.

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels to everyone!

Monday, November 20, 2006


I love this picture. I want to put in on a t-shirt and wear it under a rumpled cordoroy blazer. It makes me laugh, even though it probably shouldn't, given the origins of the image. Heather thinks it's a slant against Western commercialism and rampant consumerism (or worse, it's a piece of pro-vegetarianism propaganda). I just think it's a bold statement about the mind blowing power of a good burger.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

THE CIRCUIT (Episode 4): "Unshellfish Agreement"

Here we get our first look at our up-and-coming competitive eater outside the office.


Friday, November 17, 2006


Kharma bit me in the ass yesterday in the Hess gas station across the street from where I work. I went over there to buy a crappy sub from the gas station's Blimpie and a few sodas (my workplace stopped stocking sodas after people stopped paying for them...stupid honor system).

As I was waiting in line at the sub counter, I scanned the bins of single-serving creamers at the coffee station for new stuff. Same old selection, until I saw the new bin chock full of "pumpkin spice." I glanced around before stuffing five or six of them in my pocket. Is that stealing? I don't know. I don't think so. If you buy coffee, you don't have to pay for the cream and sugar. It's free, right? Or is it only free if you buy coffee? Sort of the gas station's way of saying, "Hey, we know our coffee tastes like ass-filtered dishwater, here's some free stuff to make it better."

In either case, about three minutes later, just as I was telling the Blimpie girl to hold the mayo, I felt something running down my leg. It was kharma.

One of the little suckers had sprung a leak. I sure as hell didn't want it soaking through my pants, so I thrust my hand into my pocket--all while trying to comprehend the difference between white and yellow American cheese--and tried to look as inconspicuous as possible as I removed the free goodies from my pocket and reached behind me to toss them into the coffee station trash bin. She didn't notice a thing. Not sure she would've cared either.

Before I left, I grabbed five more creamers before heading back to work. Kharma be damned.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Just like Liz and many Republican members of Congress, Heather and I spent this past weekend moving out of our old place and into a new one. The new apartment is on the third floor. No elevator. My legs aren't happy, but they're coming around.

The process has also thrown off our normally healthy diet. We usually eat good-for-you meals with lots of vegetables and fiber and lean meats (thanks to Heather's library of Cooking Light magazines), but for the past four days we've eaten--if my preservative clogged memory serves me right--pizza, subs, Wendy's, Chinese, and Burger King. Pretty much in that order.

Yeah, I know, when I went to BK I didn't HAVE to order the double Whopper (with cheese). I could have ordered a grilled chicken sandwhich or a salad. But I didn't. And now four days of trans fats are catching up to me and I'm feeling kind of...slow. So bear with me while I try to get back on track.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Each day I stop by the IFOCE’s “Eating Contests” page to see if any new contests have been announced. For the last several weeks (seems like months) the only two up there other than last month's Krystal Square Off has been the posole eating contest in Acoma, New Mexico and meatballs in Atlantic City.

Unless the posole contest is less than three hours away, I ain't making it. (Mapquest says it's a hair under 29 hours. Damn.) And the meatball contest is full, but I'll drive to that because it's sort of a winter reunion for the eaters and Atlantic City has lots of buffets. Someone also told me you can gamble there.

Yeah, I guess this is the “off season” for competitive eating. It’s my first.

When I first became a baseball fan a little over 20 years ago, the off seasons were brutal. I counted the days until spring training. Now the off seasons don’t phase me as much. I’m used to them. I have a feeling my first competitive eating off season will be like those first baseball off seasons. My newfound passion, wrestled away from me just as the weather begins to turn cold and bitter. Just when I need my pastimes the most, they’re not there.

Oh well, at least the local buffets are there to keep me busy.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I stopped by the Dennys Beer Barrel Pub website today and look who I found on their homepage! The United Eaters of Pennsylvania: We're everywhere you want to be (and probably many places you don't).

I'm definitely going back up there where Denny unveils his new world record burger (rumored to be 120+ pounds). According to the man himself, that should be sometime in late December or January. Sounds like a good time for our second UEPa meeting!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

THE CIRCUIT (Episode 3): "Fatal Distraction"

Another day in the life of our wannabe competitive eater. I still need to come up with a nickname for him. Episode 1 and Episode 2 are also available. There was something else I wanted to say here...oh yeah,


Sunday, November 05, 2006


I suck. Let me just get that out of the way right now. If I’m ever in a competitive eating contest with you and I start talking trash, just say, “Hey Dave, how’d you do against that three-pound burger at Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub?” That’ll shut me right up.

Yesterday Pete “Broken Wing” Maurizio, Derek “Wing Tut” Payne, Ian “The Invader” Hickman and myself met at Dennys Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, PA to eat some of the biggest burgers ever created. They all attempted the 6-pounder (10 pounds total) and I tried the three-pounder (four to five pounds total). And, even though we all failed to finish in the prescribed three hour time frame (90 minutes for mine), we learned a lot about ourselves as eaters and as men on that day.

I’ll let the pictures (and captions) below tell most of the story. A link to a full set of pictures is at the bottom of this post. Captions also accompany those Flickr photos, so don’t do the slideshow. For some reason it hates captions.

DENNYS - The Gang
From left to right, Pete “Broken Wing” Maurizio, Dave “Mega Munch” Shoffner, Ian “The Invader” Hickman and Derek “Wing Tut” Payne. We look pretty happy here, even though this picture was taken about 10 seconds before we left. Pete, Ian, and Derek are all AICE guys. Since I’m not ranked in the IFOCE or AICE, I guess that makes me sort of a free agent. Regardless, this day wasn’t about AICE or IFOCE or any of that crap…it was just a bunch of guys who love food coming together to have a good time. The way it should be.

DENNYS - Two 6 pounders and a 3 pounder
Here we see our waitress, Kimberly, bringing out the second of our three 6-pounders. That’s another in the background and my 3-pounder on the table. Something we learned when we placed our order is that you get to hold one ingredient (besides “beef” or “bun”). I held the onion, Hickman held the mayo, Pete held the tomato, and Derek held the…mayo? Funnily enough, only Pete’s burger came with his ingredient held.

DENNYS - Me and the 3 pounder
This is me. Don’t I look so confident? So full of energy and machismo? About 70 minutes later I’d be full of beef and bread and mayonnaise and looking much, much less aggressive. I ordered a 26-ounce beer to drink with my burger (and I drank it). I’d like to blame that on my disappointing performance, but I know it’s not the Yueng-Ling’s fault.

DENNYS - Broken Wing digs in
I love this picture because it captures the mood of the day perfectly. That’s Pete “Broken Wing” Maurizio biting into his 6-pound burger for the cameras (Hickman laughing in the background). Of course, it’s impossible to actually eat the burger that way. In reality, Broken Wing would eat both buns, his veggies, his souplike mass of condiments and nibble about a pound of his 6-pound beef patty before calling it quits.

DENNYS - Denny and Me
This is me with Denny himself, the owner and founder of Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub. He was really happy to see us and even dispatched his webmaster/local newspaper photographer to get some shots of us while we were eating. The pics will be on the Denny’s website and in the local paper. Denny said he’s already begun working on a new World Record “Largest Commercially Available Burger” (topping Clinton Station Diner’s recent 105-pounder) which he hopes to launch around the New Year.

DENNYS - Wing Tut Full
Here we see Wing Tut after admitting defeat. He had hoped that the glare from his stomach would blind The Invader and cause him to lose his focus, but it didn’t work. On this day, Tut was nursing a “case of sniffles” and a “tooth brushing injury” he’d sustained a few days prior.

DENNYS - Invader full
This is The Invader after he’d thrown in the towel. He outlasted us all. The angle doesn’t show it, but he ate about two-thirds of his beef, along with most of his buns and condiments. He was also the most upset at himself for not finishing the burger. Our humbling defeats lead us all to wonder exactly how an average gal like Kate Stelnick was able to eat that whole burger. The world may never know.

A full set of pics and captions can be found here. Don’t miss the shot of The Invader’s bread dunking cup. As Borat would say, “Very nniiiiiice!”

Thursday, November 02, 2006


One of our fellow UEPa members—Derek “Wing Tut” Payne—has a busy eating schedule over the next few days. He’ll be in a sausage contest tonight and he tried to enter a live radio show event on Friday, but missed being the lucky 18th caller by four lousy callers. And on Saturday he’ll join us at Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub where we’ll each attempt to eat some of the largest burgers in the civilized world.

Multiple eating contests in short periods of time is rough, but it can also make for some great stories.

After my very first IFOCE event (Shoofly Pie in June) I was entered in a hot sauce eating contest in Harrisburg that was scheduled to take place about three hours later. I had signed up a few weeks prior thinking the sweet pie and spicy sauce would compliment each other well. Maybe even cancel each other out. Whatever that means. I drove back from the pie contest in Lancaster feeling bloated, but not horrible after eating two-and-a-half pounds of gooey pie in 8 minutes.

I found the hot sauce contest organizer and he let me test the sauce. It was called "Rectum Wrecker" and it was…how do you say?...hot as fuck. I walked around the block to think about things and savor the feeling of my tongue slowly melting and running the back of my throat. When I returned, I offered my apologies and bowed out of the competition about an hour before it started.

On one hand, I think I made the right decision. Drinking hot sauce isn't really "competitive eating" and as a food-based athlete you have to push your stomach to its limits but you also have to respect your stomach. On the other hand, it would have been pretty cool to compete in two such different contests in one day. Damn contradictory hindsight.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Yesterday I got a call at work from a guy in Clearfield. It seems Denny from the burger mecca of the world, Denny's Beer Barrel Pub, wants to take out an ad in the local paper to announce, at least in part, the United Eater's of Pennsylvania's plan to visit Denny's this Saturday for our first "annual meeting." The ad is scheduled to run in this Friday's paper.

The ad will include the UEPa logo (that's it in the right hand column of this blog) that was created by the great Steakbellie himself just a few weeks ago. It will also encourage all other aspiring eaters to come to Denny's and join us for our open meeting. The more the merrier. After all, as anyone in competitive eating (or anyone who served on a submarine) can tell you, we're used to eating at crowded tables. At last count, according to a recent Wing Tut blog entry, the line-up at Denny's will include:

"The Boy King" Derek "Wing Tut" Payne
Ian "The Invader" Hickman
Pete "Broken Wing" Maurizio
Micah "Wing Kong" Collins
Eric "Steakbellie" Livingston*
...and myself

* Steakbellie is on the roster but is listed as "questionable" due to impending family "obligations." "Gooey" Sean Gordon will, coincidentally, also be at Denny's that day, about three hours before us as part of a family gathering. If ANYONE else wants to come, let either myself or Wing Tut know. I'll be travelling from Harrisburg and Tut will be coming up from Philly, so if you're near one of those areas and want to hitch a ride, chances are one of us has an extra seat.