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

Thursday, June 28, 2007


RonaldMcHummer.com has a tool that allows you to create your own McDonald's marquee signs. It's a little unrealistic though, because it seems to have an unlimited supply of letters. How 'bout a 5 for an S or an upside down 7 for an L? The site was created by activists who were pissed off that Mickey D's gave away toy Hummers in its Happy Meals despite the restaurant's supposed committment to Earth-friendly issues. Do toy Hummers use gas too? Wouldn't surprise me.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Some of you know that I donate the dollar value equivalent of all food I consume in eating contests to America's Second Harvest. It's a great charity. Every dollar you donate helps deliver 20 pounds of food to families in need across the U.S.

I get emails from them now and then and today's email was well timed because I forgot to give for the whopping one shoofly pie I ate this past weekend. Even though the pies are worth about $5 each, I decided to up the ante a bit to cover the four untouched pies that were stacked neatly in front of me. I assume they went to waste; not boxed up and resold. (Yecch!)

Today's email said that rising gas prices have resulted in the double whammy of more families strapped for cash (and thus in need of help) and higher costs for America's Second Harvest to make deliveries. Three cheers for the fucking oil companies on that one. Consequently, ASH is over $600,000 behind budget, and the fiscal year closes at the end of June. I'm not sure what that really means, but it made me move pretty quickly. If you feel like doing the same, go here. You can donate as little or as much as you want and all you need is a credit card.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Less than a minute into the contest I knew it -- this wasn't going to end well. And it didn't. But I didn't finish last. Let's just get that out of the way right now. In yesterday's World's Greatest Shoofly Pie Eating Contest in Lancaster I managed to down a measly 2.7 pounds of pie in the longest 8 minutes of my life.

Pat Bertoletti would outeat me by almost 8 and a half pounds to take first place and set a new shoofly pie world record with 11.1 pounds eaten. He also took home $4,000 for his efforts (a complete list of winners can seen here). Overall it was a good clean contest (clean as in no need for judge intervention, not clean as in...clean). The weather was perfect and the crowd was really into the action. The emcee work by Mike was spot on as usual, although the introduction music was hit or miss. Here's a few pics of the action.

Here's a shot of the amateur round, held right before the pro contest. That's Pete on the left. He drove up from NJ to compete. Sean Gordon would win this round with just over four pounds eaten. He also won the amateur shoofly round last year. There were over 20 amateur eaters which initially caused the judges to fear that there wouldn't be enough pies left over for the pro round. They were going to give each amateur one pie and the first to finish would be declared the winner, but they ended up having enough pies after all and avoided what would have been a difficult contest to judge (as first to finish contests with sloppy debris foods like this often are).

The Eagles cheerleaders were on hand to keep things lively before and during both the amateur and pro rounds.

This picture shows Pat Bertoletti somewhere near the end of the contest. One spectator said Pat finished his first pie (2.7 pounds) in 55 seconds (the countdown clock was located immediately behind him).

Yeah, I'm NUMBER ONE! No, I was actually signalling how many pies I had eaten. One stinkin' pie. For a total of 2.7 stinkin' pounds. A few moments later I was chatting with Juliet Lee, who had eaten 6.6 pounds. What happened next was a little heart breaking. From the side of the stage I heard two little voices saying "Mega Munch, Mega Munch!" To my right were Juliet's two daughters, about 9 and 6 years old. "Mega Munch," they asked me excitedly, "How many pies did you eat?!" I smiled, held up one finger and shrugged. They kept smiling but I knew what they were thinking.

I love this picture. It's my computer wallpaper right now. It's the perfect summary of the sticky, gooey mess that is "wetbottom" shoofly pie (the gooey kind). This was actually taken early in the contest. My hands -- and everyone elses -- would get much messier. It made post contest handshakes pretty interesting.

Sonya Thomas and Bob Shoudt head down the home stretch. With Pat being the odds on favorite to win it (which he did), Sonya and Bob Shoudt were left to battle it out for second place. Sonya won the battle, outeating Bob 9.3 pounds to 9.25 pounds.

Here's Sonya giving the eye to the pie after the contest. Beau was snapping pictures throughout the contest and watched her afterwords pulling lumps of pie out of her hair as she told someone, "I felt something in my mouth and I was eating my hair!" Here's another shot of Sonya not looking like she wants more shoofly pie anytime soon.

Here we see the plates being weighed to determine the top finishers. The judges were very careful about getting an accurate total for each competitor. All eaters were told to scoop their table debris into the tins of thier uneaten pies, so no one received credit for anything that they didn't swallow. I like how visibly bloated Pat Bertoletti looks in this picture. That's what 11.1 pounds of pie will do to you. Enlarged version here.

I love how Sonya is looking up so happily at Pat and his new championship belt. Anyone who says she's a sore loser would have been proven dead wrong on this day.

A full set of pics can be seen here. More pics, from Beau's camera, can be seen here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Most of you already know Liz from her appearances on Eat Feats and at East Coast eating contests (when she was living in NYC). Her online resume includes competitive eating superfan, regular contributor to Urban Honking's True Fan, future Bunnette Captain, author of her own blog and, of course, UEPa fan and honorary member. Here she is showing some UEPa love from her new home in Denver.

On the "Show Off Your UEPa Shirt" page of our future website, this photo will be listed first. Carey has flashed his colors. I've shown mine. Get your shirt here and say cheese (possibly while eating cheese).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I really wish I knew more about the competitive eating training process. That is, the part of the process designed to increase stomach capacity though various stomach stretching "exercises." I'm trying to cram some training in before this Saturday's shoofly contest and I have no freakin' idea if what what I'm doing is even doing me any good (or harm).

Today I ate three peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and chugged two liters of water. Did that really do anything for me besides makes me feel a little woozy right before my 1:30 meeting? I don't know. Can repeating that process again tonight and twice tomorrow really make a difference before Saturday? I don't know.

I can't wait until "The Science of Speed Eating" airs on July 9. That show might answer some of my questions. Or raise a whole bunch of new ones.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I just got an email from Kate Westfall over in the IFOCE offices. She said a spot opened up in this weekend's shoofly contest and she offered it to me. I actually had to think about it for a few minutes. I was going to be there either way, but mentally I just wasn't prepared to eat four days from now. Of course, I ultimately accepted the spot. Over the next 96 hours I will endure my usual "mental toughness" training process. Look out "other eaters"...we all know how effective that process can be.

Speaking of other eaters, Kate was kind enough to give me the scoop on who will be in on this year's molasses mayhem. The list of notables includes Pat Bertoletti, Sonya Thomas, Bob Shoudt, Hall Hunt, Juliet Lee, Steakbellie, The Mad Greek, Wild Bill Myers, Brian Subich, The Sane Greek and Russ Keeler.

The most notable exception is Eater X, who won the event two years ago and finished just behind Bob in last year's contest. It just won't be the same without him, but this is definitely the most star-packed table in the contest's history. Should be a good show. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a shoofly contest to cram for.


Did anyone see this on IFOCE.com? They posted it a few weeks ago, but some 7 foot 8 inch dude from India will be among the eaters on Coney Island during this year's hot dog contest. They claim he's the tiki masala eating champion of the world and the hot dog eating champion of India. Although, to be fair, the hot dogs in India are actually called "tiki masala."

Monday, June 18, 2007


Eat Feats just reported that, for the first time ever, there will be a cash prize during the Nathan's Famous hot dog contest on Coney Island. The IFOCE has split the $20,000 purse among the first five finishers, with first place getting $10,000.

It's great that there's finally some money on the line in MLE's crown jewel. Some people think that just getting to the table is reward enough, but I'll bet if any of them are at the table this year and happen to finish in the top five, they won't be refusing their giant cardboard checks. Personally, I think the money should go all the way down to 18th place. Sort of as an added reward for all the trouble the eaters went through just to get to the table (and to prevent anyone from pulling a Jed). Something like this would work well. Sorry if my math is wrong:

1st - $10,000
2nd - $2,500
3rd - $1,250
4th - $1,000
5th - $700
6th - $650
7th - $600
8th - $550
9th - $500
10th - $450
11th - $400
12th - $350
13th - $300
14th - $250
15th - $200
16th - $150
17th - $100
18th - $50

Friday, June 15, 2007


I've always been a sucker for new soda flavors. I remember when I was a kid living in Hawaii I was addicted to Apple Slice. Yeah, an apple flavored soda. It was the shiznit, even before things were described as the shiznit. Then they discontinued it. Fuckers.

I was excited when I saw this new Pepsi "Ice Cucumber" flavor over on The Hungover Gourmet. Even though it's not diet, I'd try it a few times. Sure, it's a vegetable flavored soda, but it sounds somewhat interesting. Of course, it's only available in Japan. Figures. They get all the cool food stuff. A Singapore soft drink maker has created a soda flavor called "Anything." It's for those indecisive friends who tell you "Oh, just get me whatever" when you ask them what flavor they want. The can offers no clue to which of the five mystery concoctions are inside. You'll either get Cola with Lemon, something called "Fizz Up," Cloudy Lemon (?), Root Beer or Apple (!!).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


There's been a lot of speculation on Eat Feats and some Asian blogs about Kobayashi's participation in the upcoming Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Competition on Coney Island. Some say the Tsunami is taking a sabbatical following the March death of his mother. Others think Joey's obliteration of Koby's world hot dog record has made the six time champ nervous and on the verge of sitting this July 4th out. That's right, for the first time this century, Takeru Kobayashi might not be kicking ass and taking names on the corner of Surf and Stillwell. (ABC News article here)

I'm actually very afraid of that scenario. Not so much for my own entertainment reasons. I'm intimately familiar with all the eaters, so I know that I personally would still enjoy the show, but 99.9 percent of the American populous only knows competitive eating through Kobayashi. Without him, well, who knows. It'd be like that first Van Halen concert without David Lee Roth. Or showing up for a Bulls game in 1993 after Michael Jordan's first retirement. Both shows sucked at first, and sure, they bounced back (both would regain their front men only to lose them again), but the fans were less than enthusiastic during those periods.

Speaking of Asian speed eating, this video is hilarious. It's the work of Burger King's U.S. ad shop, Crispin Porter Bogusky, an agency known for pushing the comedic boundaries of advertising (you may remember their BK office lunch break gang spots and, of course, breathing new life into the now infamously creepy King).

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Does anyone know when the new IFOCE rankings are coming out? Seriously. They were last updated on November 8, 2006, which was over seven months ago. How often SHOULD they update the rankings? I guess that's a better question. Every six months? Every quarter? If anyone should be itching to see the new rankings, it's Steakbellie. That man has been BUSY during the last half a year and will be a top 20 eater by the end of 2007. If they update the damn list before then.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Another great qualifiying weekend is in the books. Hall Hunt, whose Axis of Eaters squad is solidly in first place in our fantasy competitive eating league, edged Juliet Lee by three-quarters of a hot dog to earn a spot at the table on Coney Island this year. Of course, that's IF there's a table at Coney Island. I'm really starting to worry about whether the July 4th showdown will even happen. It's STILL not listed on any of the IFOCE's five websites. There's a graphic of the Mustard Yellow Belt on ifoce.com, but that just takes you to the Nathan's Famous home page.

Contest or no contest, I'll be there either way. (Actually if there's no hot dog contest, I won't go to Coney Island on July 4th, so I'm not really sure why I said that.) For a second I considered doing something manly like sleeping on the beach or crashing on a bench the night before (Heather isn't going with me), but then I remembered: IT'S CONEY ISLAND. I felt marginally safe there last year in broad daylight, so I'm thinking spending the night on the "beach" would be a bad idea. Although it can't be much worse than the Econo Lodge Heather and I stayed at in New Jersey during last year's contest.

Friday, June 08, 2007


I finally received word from Kate Westfall from the IFOCE about my registration in the World's Greatest Shoofly Pie Eating Contest on June 23rd in Lancaster. My official status is, wait for it, wait for it...STANDBY! Yeah, not exactly the "spot at the table" I was hoping for, but that's what you get when you register a whole 45 minutes after a contest opens. Kate said I'll know by June 12 if my standby status is upgraded to "eater."

Either way, I'll be there, whether it's as a spectator or as an eater. I like spectating sometimes becuase it allows me to take lots of pictures and play the "journalist" role. Regardless of which hat I'll be wearing that day, it's going to be an awesome event (as always). Did anyone else make it in?

One other thing Kate mentioned in her email was the prize money breakdown for this contest. It pays out to 7th place as follows: 1st ($4,000), 2nd ($2,000), 3rd ($1,500), 4th ($1,000), 5th ($750), 6th ($500), 7th ($250). Hopefully the IFOCE does this with future events as well (instead of only paying out to the top three). It's good for competition and it not only rewards lower ranked eaters, it also gives the occasional unranked entrant a chance to take home some cash.

I can't tell you how RIGHT this system is. Granted, this contest put up $10,000 in prize money, which is more than most sponsors are able to afford, but this can be done with even a $5,000 purse. Even if fourth through seventh got $100 each, it's still SOMETHING. And as Steakbellie recently wrote, it doesn't matter what the total is; everyone's happy when they get an oversized cardboard check.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


The guys over on Will Ferrell's new website Funny or Die (of crazy two-year-old landlord fame) recently ran an experiment called "Girl or Food." The test: Will a man trade his recently purchased lunch for a lap dance from a Penthouse Pet? The results may surprise you. Or not.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


In case anyone's up for a trip to Lincoln City, Oregon in mid-July, MLE has listed the Chinook Winds World Rib Eating Championship on the events page. The event will take place at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort and registration opens June 6. Joey is, of course the reigning Chinook rib champion and he could three-peat here just 11 days after winning (perhaps?) the Mustard Belt on Coney Island.

Speaking of Coney Island, why hasn't MLE listed the July 4th contest on the event pages of either of their websites? I know it's not a contest that's open for official registration, but to keep fans and media in the loop, shouldn't it be listed and acknowledged? They should be pumping that crown jewel up with it's own page (on the MLE website) with commentary and predictions and other cool things like that "who's in" graphic Liz used over on True Fan recently.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I definitely ate more Doritos this past weekend during our campout than I do during most entire years. Partly because Doritos is running this special contest promotion thing involving a "mystery" flavor called X-13D. It comes packaged in a plain black bag with directions to visit the website to name the flavor based on whatever it is you think the mystery flavor tastes like. The only clue on the bag to the chip's flavor is "All American Classic."

So naturally when I was shopping for the campout and I saw these chips, I had to buy a bag. Somehow I resisted the urge to tear it open in the car and sample them right then and there. Instead, I waited until we were gathered at the campsite to dig in and guage the reactions of the rest of the gang. What I tasted was...strangly familiar. Definitely cheesy with something else mixed in. Several different flavors actually. Some sort of meat flavor danced across the left side of my tongue while something tangy skipped across the front. It was killing me. I knew that I'd tasted this before. But where?

(NOTE: Mystery flavor revealed in paragraph below, so skip it if you want to try some and judge for yourself.)

Campsite feedback ranged from some kind of seafood to hot dogs (which would fit in with the "All American Classic" clue on the bag). After some post-camping research online, it appears the mystery flavor isn't so mysterious after all. Most people agree that it's a very close rendition of a cheeseburger. More specifically, a McDonald's cheeseburger (possibly a cross promotion between the two companies). A post on Yahoo Answers reveals some interesting feedback, but most responses agree on the cheeseburger flavor. Personally, I think the concept of a cheeseburger flavored chip, while freakin' amazingly awesome, just doesn't seem to work here. Judge for yourself...if you can find a bag.

The Doritos X-13D website has an option for people to name the flavor. There's also an "Ad Generator" with two TV commercials which fans are asked to write the dialogue to. The spots are pretty funny, with the actors saying "blah blah blah" throughout. Is it just me or does the kid in the first commercial ("Perfect Mom") look like a dead ringer for a young Chip Simpson?

I tried to find a picture of the X-13D bag, but all I found was this bag of Doritos from Japan. I guess this flavor tastes like some dude jamming his foot in your crotch.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Joey Chestnut shocked no one in Pheonix this weekend by eating a shit ton of hot dogs. Fifty-nine-and-a-half hot dogs to be exact. Actually that is shocking and, of course, a new world record (beating Kobayashi's 53.75 set on Coney Island in 2006 by more than 10 percent).

It's a great performance and all, but I really don't see why he couldn't have eaten half a stinkin' hot dog more to make it an even six-oh. Seriously, "60" sounds much better than "59.5". I mean, come on Joey, half a hot dog.

All kidding aside, this may be a new hot dog record, but is it THE record? It seems the only record that matters is the one that's set on July 4th at the corner of Surf and Stillwell on Coney Island in front of 20,000 people on national television. This was a qualifier event and, while it's still an awesome feat (which would have been awesomer if it had been SIXTY), it still feels...different. No matter. In four weeks the question won't be IF a new Coney Island record will be set, but by how much and by how many people. My wild guess: Joey 54, Koby 56. Look for Bertoletti to flirt with the 50 mark too.

I don't think Kobayashi is capable of putting up more than 59.5. He's been eating and training for over seven years now and if he could eat that much, he'd have done it by now. What I'm counting on at Coney is a case of nerves keeping Joey's total in the mid-50s and him pushing Koby just enough to allow him to take another Mustard belt. I also wouldn't rule out a reversal by either one.

In related news, Joey Chestnut himself confirmed in a San Francisco Chronicle article that he fasted before his record-setting run (and between training runs) for not one, not two, but THREE days. Yes, no beer and pizza for him the night before. And you all though I was crazy for skipping dinner and breakfast before a contest.