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

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Thirty-six hours till Wing Bowl and I have to say I'm feeling pretty excited, but also a little nervous about what sort of unexpected debauchery and obstacles lie ahead. Actually the debauchery part is mostly exciting. The obstacles -- like arctic temperatures, overnight rain and snow showers, and a drunken mob scene -- make me nervous. But in an excited sort of way.

We've been kicking around some emails and I think we're going to try to rent a U-Haul box truck like the one pictured above ($19.99 a day) and turn it into our own semi-heated tailgating Wing Bowl party wagon. We're going to try to swing by a Salvation Army or Goodwill and pick up an old couch to throw in the back. Gotta be comfortable, you know. If they don't have one, I'm sure we can just drive around Philly for a few minutes and find one that's been "discarded." After 6 or 7 beers, the funny smell and sticky cushions will be barely noticable.

Monday, January 29, 2007


This year's fantasy competitive eating league is up and running strong thanks to Liz Kellermeyer and the gang. The teams have been drafted and yours truly is captain of The Hungry Hooligans (working title for now). Here's this year's winning squad:

Patrick Bertoletti (3)
Chip Simpson (6)
Arturo Rios, Jr. (9)
Frank Wach (18)
Jim Hamrick (19)
Chris Abatsas (20)
Jim Reeves (28)
El Toro Jimenez (32)
Paul Barlow (35) - Pending a trade, may be replaced by Mongo Marquez (unranked)
Kevin Ross (unranked)

I'm pretty happy with my team overall. Three top 10 ranked eaters (only Steakbellie's line-up can boast the same). Marquez and Ross are unranked, but have tons of potential and passion and are poised to have breakout rookie seasons on the circuit. Each team (there are five, captained by different eaters) will accrue points based on the IFOCE's new points system. Should be fun and I look forward to kicking some fantasy ass.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


I found a couple stories on Yahoo! this morning that I found interesting for different reasons. The first is about a food scientist in North Carolina who found a way to infuse doughnuts with caffiene. According to the article, each donut packs the eye-opening power of two cups of coffee. I'm a regular coffee drinker, so this "caffnut" (I just made that name up) means nothing to me, but I can understand how it might appeal to non-coffee drinkers. Although I'd like to see what would happen if someone wandered into the kitchen at work and accidentally ate one or two of these things with their double shot of espresso.

Eat enough doughnuts and this second story might apply to you. Researchers at some college found that dieting and exercise are equal when it comes to losing weight. In other words, a calorie lost by dieting is the same as a calorie burned by exercise. So while I'm reading this I immediately thought, "That's bullshit." After all, I you burn 100 calories while running, aren't you also adding muscle? And the more muscle your body has, the more calories your body burns on a daily basis, right? So exercise is actually better...RIGHT? Seriously, please tell me that's still true. Well, according to these "researchers," my high school gym teacher and every trainer I've ever talked to is dead wrong because the next sentence in the article was:

"And their carefully controlled study added to evidence that adding muscle mass does not somehow boost metabolism and help dieters take off even more weight."

That news really sucks. If there's one thing that motivates me while I'm lifting weights (which I hate only slightly less than running), it's the thought that my futurely muscular body will be capable of consuming massive amounts of calories every day without risking my six pack. Stupid researchers.

By the way, the study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. I go to the book store all the time and read lots of magazines while drinking my coffee and I've never seen this "Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism" anywhere. Just saying.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Sometimes I think OJRifkin, the mysterious and unidentified entity behind the competitive eating news blog Eat Feats is the most powerful person in the entire competitive eating community.

For those not in the know, Eat Feats is pretty much the hub of all CE news on the internet and is where many competitive eaters and fans gather to bicker, slander, question and congratulate each other, often using aliases to disguise their true identities when leaving particularly critical comments and feedback. I'm guilty as charged, but proud to admit that I put my real (nick)name on 9 out of 10 of my comments.

What makes OJ so powerful? Not only does he/she/it decide what news we consume on a daily basis (I actually visit the site two, sometimes three times a day while at work), but by cross checking the IP address and other geographic and unique computer signatures, OJ is also the only person who knows the true identity of each and every "anonymous" commenter. At least if that commenter also weighs in from time to time under their real name. That's power. And what scares the fuck out of me is not knowing the true identity of who holds this power. Is is someone at the IFOCE? Is George Shea sitting a dark, smokey office reading my scathing IFOCE critique and thinking, "Your IFOCE days are over Mega Munch! Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!"

Actually, probably not. I'm pretty sure OJRifkin isn't someone at the IFOCE (way too much AICE coverage on Eat Feats). So who is OJRifkin? Let's assemble some clues and try to find out, shall we? I'll get us started:

CLUE: Before mid-2006, Eat Feats was known as "Trencher Women", a website dedicated to great feats of eating by women (the content eventually expanded to include all competitive eating news and thus the name change). But my point is, would a man create a web site dedicated to female eating habits? I think not. Therefore OJ could very well be a woman!

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I've been talking to my posse (I guess you can us that) about our plans for Wing Bowl and we've agreed only on two things: that we'll be taking part in some sort of eating competition the night before and some sort of drinking competition between 10pm and 6am. That's always a good combination.

I'm beginning to think that trying to "plan" the activities that take place the night and morning before Wing Bowl is like trying to plan...for something that's really hard to plan.

Here's what we know so far. Myself, Beau and Evan will be taking the 4:30 pm train from Harrisburg and arriving at the 30th Street Station in Philly about two hours later. That's when Carey -- a good friend from my Navy days who I haven't seen in eight years -- will pick us up. He might be with his sister. She, Carey assures me, is cool, and drawing on her experience as a bartender, more than capable of holding her own in drunken debauchery fest that is sure to be Wing Bowl 15. After that we know we'll eat and we know we'll drink (and repeat), and we know we MIGHT see Pete Miernicki and his crew at the bars or in the Wachovia Center parking lot. We might also cross paths at Steakbellie's post-Wing Bowl afterparty.

Notice I didn't include any plans to "sleep" in there. That's because I'm not entirely sure if that will happen, what with all the eating and drinking and whatnot. If only I knew that what the whatnot was.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


I realized today that it's been four days since my last post (thanks Carey) which breaks my personal promise of never going more than three days between updates. Sorry about that. It'll never happen again.

Anyhow, awhile back a friend introduced me to a site called Engrish (yes, with an "r"). It features real examples of signs and packaging that have been translated from Japanese or other Asian languages into English but came out a little...funny. Here's some of my favorite food-related samples:

Mmmm...love them fragrant nuts.

Sometimes you just have to wonder, what the hell does the Japanese portion of the package really say?

Hot man dogs on a stick of course. Because putting it in a hot man bun would just be ridiculous.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Our cupboard is always stocked with at least four boxes of cereal. Three are usually healthier, “grown-up” cereals, but at least one is a sugary throwback to Saturday mornings past. Cookie Crisp, Cocoa Pebbles, Cap’n Crunch, Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms…take your pick. They’re still great for Saturday mornings, but now I’m watching Sports Center or CNN instead of Scooby Doo. And the good thing is, Heather doesn't eat the sugary cereal, which leaves it all for me. Then again, she typically has one or two boxes of her own ultra-healthy cereal up there too, but that stuff usually has twigs and pebbles in it which means I wouldn't eat that crap on a dare.

There’s even a restaurant called Cereality that serves nothing but cereal. Over 30 brands of the stuff with your choice of dozens of toppings (including chocolate chips). There are only a handful of the restaurants nationwide -- most on or near college campuses -- but there’s one at 3631 Walnut Street in Philly and one coming to State College sometime this month. Pretty damn sweet.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


When I visited Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in November with some fellow members of the United Eaters of Pennsylvania (UEPa), Denny shared with us that his staff had already begun working on a new world record largest burger, a title taken from Denny when the Clinton Station Diner cooked up a 105-pounder just one week prior.

I’ve been to both restaurants and I have to say, Denny’s absolutely deserves the title. Hell, the Clinton Station Diner doesn’t even have a single mention of its new record-breaker on its website! (They only list the puny 50-pound Mt. Olympus.)

Anyhow, I got an e-mail from Denny the other day and he told me that he and his staff have finished their plans for the new record burger including a name (the promoter in me doesn’t want to spoil the surprise, so I’ll keep it a secret) and a size (in excess of 110 pounds). The ceremony to unveil the giant burger is set for February 24th.

Here’s the kicker, Denny asked the UEPa ("about 12 eaters") to attempt to eat the meaty beast on that cold and historic Saturday in central Pennsylvania. In the words of the Denny himself, “free publicity for your organization!” Not to mention about 10 pounds of lunch for each of us.

So I guess this is my official call to action for the UEPa and any other “honorary members” who want to join the festivities (that means you Hickman). I’m not sure what the restrictions are for ranked IFOCE eaters when it comes to participating in things like this. Since it’s not a contest with prize money on the line, that might make it okay, but who knows. I know the AICE guys are good to go, so I’ll be reaching out to Arnie Chapman tomorrow to ask him if he can help drum up some participants. Regardless of who participates--IFOCE, AICE or independants like me--it would be great if we could all come together for this.

So that’s that. The burger title will be coming back to Pennsylvania and the UEPa will be there to take a bite out of it. I wouldn’t miss it for all the Chicken McNuggets in the world.

Monday, January 08, 2007


(Because I'm sometimes lazy and because I just like some of my old entries, I've decided to re-post a few in a series I'll call "SECONDS". I won't do it often...maybe once a month. There's nothing wrong with some left overs now and then. This one was orginally posted in June 2006.)

You know how some old people eat canned dog food because they don't have any money left over after paying for their medication? Yeah, that's sad. Well this guy isn't poor or on any medication (that I know of), but he decided to live on nothing but monkey chow for a whole week. Each day he logged his weight, mood, poop, and "monkey-like attributes." He blogged it too. He said he's tired of people telling him he should've gone Spurlock with it by doing it for a whole month, but I have to agree...seven days isn't exactly pushing the boundaries of the human body.

The whole thing reminds me of the time when the great
Crazy Legs Conti lived for an entire week on nothing but Guinness beer (his friends dared him to do it after Conti described how Guinness is packed with vitamins and nutrients). The man travels the world, works in a strip club, gets paid to eat massive quantities of food...how does he not have his own comic book by now?

Friday, January 05, 2007


The food lovin’ folks over at Slashfood recently mentioned a CNN.com story about the top 10 jobs to have if you like to eat. The big ones are all there: chef, caterer, dietitian, food scientist and “server” but they forgot the most obvious one—competitive eater.

I don’t need to remind most of the people who read this blog that if you’re blessed with a stomach the size of a basketball, there’s serious money to made in competitive eating. According to Eat Feats, three eaters—Joey Chestnut, Pat Bertoletti and Sonya Thomas—made $35,000 or more last year. Chestnut made $48,750 (that includes the $20,000 car he won in Wing Bowl). Those totals don't count the appearance fees Sonya is rumored to make.

The CNN list-makers might also consider including “any job at the advertising agency where I work.” Seriously, we’ve always got food lying around, either provided by our food clients or by generous co-workers. In fact, just today a friend of mine (she’s the PR director for the local Girl Scout chapter) stopped by to give me six boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Yes, it’s that time of the year, so please support your local Girl Scouts. The cookies are expensive (even though mine were free, suckers!), but they’re so worth it. Especially the Caramel Delights.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


This picture has been my computer wallpaper for about two weeks now. I don't cook hot dogs in a frying pan (for me it's all about the grill), but if I did fry my franks, I hope they'd look this good. I'm n0t sure what kind of hot dogs are featured here, but they look sort of like Nathan's.

Monday, January 01, 2007


2007 finds me in a self-improvement mood like no other. Two days ago I actually wrote down a short list of New Year's resolutions. I never write down New Year's resolutions. I guess I've always figured that if I write them down I have to stick to them (and failure to do so would be, well, failure) which is why I've never bothered to bring paper and pencil into the mix until now.

Here's what I came up with:

1. FIGURE OUT MY PLACE IN COMPETITIVE EATING. Will I be a "competitor" or will I be a table-ender who fills one of the "local eater" spots. That means training more. I owe it to the competition and myself to be as good as I can be. I also need to figure out if I'm going to be an IFOCE guy or an AICE guy. Both have their benefits and both have their drawbacks.

2. EXERCISE MORE REGULARLY. (A.k.a. use my $40 a month YMCA membership more than once a week.) This is, of course, related to resolution #1. Eating more means working harder to keep the "belt of fat" off and since I'm not willing to starve myself between training sessions and contests, I guess I'd better drag my ass onto a treadmill now and then. I fucking hate running.

3. LEARN MORE ABOUT BEER. This one's pretty self-explanatory. I like beer, but I don't know much about it (this includes its history, the many different types of beer and the science behind how its made). I'd even like to try my hand at home brewing. Which leads me to my next "things a man should know" resolution:

4. LEARN MORE ABOUT POKER. I've been wanting to do this for awhile now. Last night we were playing poker at a friend's house and I caught myself glancing at the "ranking of hands" cheat sheet that the women were hoarding to remind myself if a flush beats a straight (it does). Of course, I knew that, but the fact that I had to look made me feel like I didn't deserve my testicles (as I drank my Corona that I also knew very little about). I've always envied the guys who seem so confident and care-free at the poker table, with their poker slang and witty one-liners. I want to be one of those guys.

That's about it. There are a few other small things on my list (open my mail more than once a month, stop chewing my fingernails, start doing some freelance writing on the side to make extra money, read more, golf more), but nothing too exciting. Only six hours left in day one of 2007, which means I'd better sign off for now. Only 364 days to go before I have to make my next list.