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

Thursday, November 29, 2007


At the suggestion of Carey and the guy on the right, I called the Niner Diner just to make sure they'd be ready for an assault of 8 to 10 competitive eaters on Saturday.

In a nutshell, they're not. BUT, the waitress and I talked it out and she talked to her manager and they'll be able to accomodate us. Glenda assured me that they're "just a rinky dink diner" and the burger challenge is just something the manager does for fun. Turns out, they've never had a group this size turn out for the burger. Not even close.

When the manager got word that eight competitive eaters were showing up, he immediately back peddaled on his promise of a free meal to everyone who finishes it in the two-hour time limit. I assured Glenda that only a few of us even had a chance of finishing it. She then offered gift certificates. I countered with the suggestion that they give away a free meal to the first person in our group to finish the burger and fries. After a quick consultation with the manager, we had a deal. Actually, a customer in the store this morning offered to pick up the tab on the winning meal.
Glenda called me back a few minutes later and said that the manager agreed to pay for EVERYONE'S meal (whether they finish or not) if the person who finishes the burger challenge can ALSO finish the pancake challenge in an additional two hours. He also said he's closing down the diner from 11:30 to 1 pm to accomodate our group, but a bunch of customers will be on hand to watch the action unfold. I just sent a news release about the event to area newspaper and TV stations, so there might be some media coverage in this too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I'm assuming everyone is ready for our big burger-and-fries throwdown at the Niner Diner this weekend. Mentally ready at least. The hunger part will come later. At last count, the posse included myself, Carey, Wing Tut, Ian Hickman, Philly Guy, Sweet Jill, Big Brian Subich and Wild Bill Myers (tentative). I may be bring a friend or two with me as well.

Not sure how anyone else is planning to attack their three pound burger and five pound mound of fries, but Carey and I have been talking strategy and we're tackling the burger first. In fact, he and I are going toe-to-toe in a race to speed eat the mf'er. Our hope is to finish the burger as quickly as possible and use the remainder of the two hour time limit to pick away at our fries. Thinking back on hundreds of fast food meals, it definitely seems easier to snack on fries on a full stomach than it would be to attempt a burger with a belly full of fries.

I wonder if they'd be willing to delay our fries by about 30 minutes so they don't sit there and get cold while we scarf down our burger? Then again, hot or cold, will it really matter after downing three-plus pounds of beef, bun and condiments?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


The following was printed on the Fox News website (so you know it's true) and it was sent to me by a friend. It's got all of the elements of a great story: pissed off trannies, bad grammar, tire irons and scalding french fry grease. Seriously, I want to witness something like this just once in my lifetime. Just once. Maybe we'll see something like this at Wing Bowl. You never know.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A troublesome trio of transvestites allegedly laid siege to a Memphis McDonald's restaurant Sunday night, sparking a brawl with the restaurant's crew, according to reports.

Police said they were working on a more detailed description of three men dressed in drag who came into a McDonald's restaurant and started swinging.

Restaurant employee Martez Brisco was working the drive-through window when he reportedly got into an argument with the suspects. When Brisco ignored them tapping at the window, they came in.

"They come to the window, 'Tap, tap, tap.' I'm still ignoring them," Brisco told WMC-TV. "I guess that just pissed them off worser."

The transvestites allegedly struck the manager with a tire iron, and when he swung back, the drag queens took off their stiletto boots, removed their earrings and prepared to attack. The manager, Albert Bolton, was covered with scratch marks after suspects clawed him with their fingernails.

Bolton grabbed a pot of scalding french-fry grease and hurled it at his attackers. One of the cross-dressers then smacked Bolton with a wet floor sign, sending him to the hospital in an ambulance, WMC-TV reported.

Before driving off, the three attackers smashed the drive-through window.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


According to Eat Feats, a recent online article says Wing Bowl tickets will go on sale tomorrow (Monday) at 10 am. The WIP website doesn't confirm that, but it does say a "huge Wing Bowl 16 announcement" will be made on Monday. If anyone hears what that announcement is, leave a comment (if OJ doesn't announce the news first).

I don't think tickets will go on sale tomorrow, but I could be wrong. It seems like WIP would announce when the tickets will go on sale at least a few days in advance (both on the air and online) in order to give people a chance to talk about it and get ready. Either way, I'll be ready to make the buy and, if they do go on sale tomorrow, I'll swoop in and buy 15 tickets for the whole gang. Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE: As predicted, WIP only made an announcement about future Wing Bowl ticket sales. Tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, December 12 at 9 am for $5 each (same as last year).

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Popeye and I have a lot in common. He joined the Navy, I joined the Navy. He eats spinach by the can, I eat spinach by the can (I'm still working on the "squeezing it into the air and catching it in my mouth" part). He smokes a pipe and has freakishly large forearms, I once smoked a pipe and...you get the point.

He was also fond of saying to anyone who would listen, "I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam!" I don't really remember why he said that, but it got me thinking: When it comes to my classification as an eater, what am I?
Truth is, I've been defined as a lot of things. I've been called two-faced and a traitor (for eating in IFOCE contests and with AICE eaters). I've been called a blogger (because this website overshadows my eating skills, which I won't argue). I've been called "a limp-wristed pansy" (because I gagged on the balut...that stuff was nasty, people!). And, most recently, I was called "independent" (according to Carey, an unnamed assailant branded me with that label).

Funny thing is, "independent" is a pretty fair description of who I yam.

I'm not an IFOCE eater, meaning I'm not ranked or contracted by them and I don't limit myself solely to IFOCE contests. Honestly, the thought of swearing off local contests, restaurant challenges and competitions against friends is horrifying. I'm also not an AICE eater, even though the term "independent" is in their title. It's true that I have eaten with AICE eaters in restaurant challenges and I call more than a few of them friends, but I've never eaten in an officially sanctioned AICE contest.

So I guess that makes me an independent eater. There, I said it, I'm independent. Not tied down by contracts, rules, commissioners or any other organizational bodies. I eat what I want, when I want, with who want, where I want, and how I want. And, if I'm not feeling in the "fertilized chicken egg mood," I'll even eat as little as I want.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


On one day each year, everyone is a competitive eater. Of course, we call that day "Thanksgiving."

Is there any other day of the year that a majority of Americans come together to engage in a sport? I can't think of one. There's no "Hit a Ball With a Stick Day" in which everyone goes out in the backyard and plays a quick game of baseball. And good luck finding a "Skate Around on Ice and Slap a Puck Through a Net While No One Gives a Crap Day" (although they might call that "Saturday" in Canada).

Yes, competitive eating truly is America's pastime.

So enjoy your day fellow eaters. Fight your crazy Uncle Al for that drumstick. Cut that mass of cranberry sauce (the one in the shape of the can) into six pieces and take three for yourself. Have a second piece of pecan pie -- and then a third. And for dessert, eat the other drumstick.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Not long ago at our office Halloween pot luck lunch party one of our web design guys (Edwin) brought half a dozen balut eggs to the festivities. For those unfamiliar with balut, it's an Asian delicacy described thusly on Wikipedia: "balut is a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell." In other words, it's not something most people in the Western hemisphere would eat on a regular basis.

Edwin is from the Philippines and also eats in all of our office eating contests. We had been talking about digging into some balut eggs for a while and, as soon as I saw them all nestled in paper towels in that Tupperware container next to the sloppy joes I knew it wouldn't be long until Beau, Edwin and I were eating them. I just hoped that they weren't the "almost fully fertilized" embryos with the beaks and soft bones. Thankfully, these weren't.

According to Wikipedia, the type of balut we ate is 17 days old (preferred in the Philippines), whereas the Vietnamese prefer their balut 19 to 21 days old (with beak, feathers and claws).

Here's how the balut chow down went down. First of all, balut is always stored and served warm (or at room temperature). We cracked off the top and tilted it back to slurp the reddish broth that surrounds the fetus. It's not much liquid but it tastes salty and pretty much like egg juice would -- if eggs could be juiced. Then comes the fun part. With a fork, we scooped out a yellowish veiny mass followed by a white glob of something. Overall, the taste was sort of like an egg yolk, only slighty metallic and a little bit like blood. At the bottom of the egg was a hard, white mass which Edwin told us we weren't supposed to eat. We didn't argue with him.

I have to admit, I was a lot more skittish about my balut eating experience than Beau and Edwin were. We're already trying to figure out how to incorporate balut into an upcoming inter-office eating contest involving several disgusting foods. Oh boy. I can't wait.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Some of you may have noticed the countdown under my mug shot on the right. It displays the time until midnight on Friday, February 1, 2008, seven hours before Wing Bowl (and roughly 6 hours before we're in the Wachovia Center). Technically, the first beer will be swigged and the grill will be fired up by 10pm on Thursday, January 31, but the countdown timer didn't let me input specific times.

Carey expressed concern in a comment on the previous post (in between tearing his house apart looking for that McDonald's training video) about whether or not we're ready to go. The good thing about Wing Bowl is, it doesn't require a lot of planning -- but it does require a little. Here's a rundown of what I think we'll need:

  • U(EPa)-Haul - This is our cave. We'll call ahead a few days before to reserve a small to medium sized vehicle (anyone remember what size we got last year?) and arrange to pick it up sometime on Thursday.

  • Stripper pole - Seriously, we need to figure out how to mount it to the U-Haul. It doesn't do any good propped up against the truck. I'm really hoping we don't have to drill into the side of the truck (but I'll do it if I have to).

  • Beer - And lots of it. The good thing is, with temperatures hovering around 20 degrees, we don't need a cooler!

  • Snacks - I still remember our late night shopping spree from last year. Chips, hot dogs, buns, more chips. We're not picky. Maybe this year we'll get some wings too.

  • Grill - Any cheap charcoal grill will do. Under $20 is fine, because this this will probably be thrown out the next day. We'll also need charcoal and lighter fluid.

  • Chairs - I think I still have my inflatable chair from last year. I have some pimpin' camping chairs too, but I'd have to haul them on the train. No biggie.

  • Other crap - This includes paper towels, trash bags, cigars, cameras, beads, and any other personal effects.


In this picture from last year's festivities (that guy was really happy that we let him use our grill), we see most of what we'll need. Except for the Coors Light. Seriously, who bought that?

Monday, November 12, 2007


After 23 years of devouring Big Macs (I remember talking my parents into buying me one at the McDonald's on the Naval base in Hawaii when I was 10), I decided it was only natural to try the "Big Mock." I found a recipe for the burger clone on page 28 of The Great Big Burger Book -- including step-by-step instructions for creating the "special sauce" -- and knew pretty much immediately that it would be #3 in my quest to expand my burger-making skills.

Admittedly, it had been a few years since I'd had a Big Mac. I'm more of a BK kind of guy and when I do go to McDonald's I usually get the Quarter Pounder. So, in order to accurately compare the look and taste of the Big Mock to its real life counterpart, I grabbed two Big Macs on my way home from work.

BIG MOCK - Ingredients

Anyone born before 1980 remembers the commercials. A Big Mac is made of "two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun." Pictured here is the finely chopped onion, chopped lettuce, two thin three-ounce beef patties (90 percent lean) and the special sauce (2 tbsp Thousand Island dressing, 1 tbsp French dressing, 1 tbsp mayo, 1 tbsp sweet pickle relish, 1 tbsp finely grated onion, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp distilled white vinegar and a pinch of salt).

BIG MOCK - Side by Side

Here we see the Big Mac (left) with the Big Mock (right). Overall, the Mock tasted very much like the Mac. The obvious difference between the two being the slightly meatier Mock. Despite how flatly I pressed each three-ounce patty, it still plumped up when I cooked them in the oiled pan. The meat was the hardest ingredient to duplicate and, as the dominant fixture in both sandwiches, it clearly made the biggest difference in taste, texture and appearance.

In the end, I liked the Big Mock. The tangy special sauce was a nice break from the usual ketchup and mustard combo. The diced onion was also a tasty addition. It's something I rarely put on burgers, but plan to try more of in the future.

A full set of pictures, including a side-by-side interior shot, can be seen here.

Friday, November 09, 2007


A wise man once said, "Mo' money, mo' problems." Roughly translated, it means "more money, more problems."

The argument about whether prize money should be spread farther down the table is raging again on Eat Feats. It seems most people are in favor of kicking some cash down to 7th or 8th place. And why not? Even if it's a hundred bucks, it can't hurt, right? Well, most people agree, except "McCain." (Not John McCain. Though he is a republican, so he'd probably support a "rich get richer" strategy.) In this Eat Feats post, McCain proposes "that if you want Super Paul (unknown), [...] Megamunch (a blogger), and Carey Poehlman (banned) to headline your event, then adopt the pay structure they’re pushing for."

He goes on to half-heartedly argue that "well-known eaters" will only show up to contests under the current pay structure. I don't agree with him and I think he's not fulling comprehending the simplicity of this proposed pay-out system. I won't break down my proposal here, but I will say it only requires a few hundred dollars shaved off the top and trickled down to the 5 through 8 spots. Hell, keep the big fat top prize and shave some money off the second and third place totals if you want to! (I offer proposed numbers here and so does Rhonda Evans in a very smart way.)
McCain is obviously inside the IFOCE or a top-ranked eater who doesn't want his (or her?) share of money to shrink. My guess is he's an IFOCE lackey, since, as an eater, you'd have to be a huge fucking dick to want to not reward the passion and hard work of lower ranked guys.

After all, some of the sport's most notable and endearing personalities are lower-ranked eaters. And they're often the ones who are most passionate about the sport. You'd pretty much have to be to keep traveling to contests to get nothing in return.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Hear that Hollaback Girl ring tone? It's the 21st century calling and the IFOCE finally answered (but they really do need a new ring tone). A little over four months ago "MajorLeagueEating" created a YouTube account and they have since begun uploading videos. That's right, they have embraced the wonders of the motion picture (with sound...the old folks call that a "talkie") and are diseminating the videos for all to see on the interwebs!

Earlier today, they posted two videos to promote their upcoming Turkey Bowl event (airing on SPIKE on 11/22 at 7 pm). See, that wasn't so hard!

In this video, George Shea calls the turkey contest "the challenge against which history will measure these eaters." I'll bet the Nathan's folks would disagree. The other video is a little better, playing up the "what the hell is happening to Koby?" angle and setting the stage for a Chestnut/Bertoletti rematch. Not a bad start. Here's hoping we see a lot more videos in the future. Next up, give us some cool behind-the-scenes stuff and make us laugh.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


That was the three-word email response I received from WIP when I asked when tickets for this year's Wing Bowl will go on sale. Last year's festivities sold out on the first day. Thankfully there was no shortage of tickets on eBay (around $10 per ticket versus the $5 face value), but I'll still try to get our tickets when they go on sale in 20 days.

I can't remember if seating was assigned -- or if anyone really cared -- but if it is, I'll buy tickets for the whole group. That's assuming I can buy 10 or 12 at once (stupid limits). Here's a random memory from last year's contest (stupid paint):


Monday, November 05, 2007


Supposedly if you're ever in Chicago and you've got a hankering for pizza, you've got to stop at Giordano's and order one of their famous stuffed deep dish pizzas. Steakbellie was there not long and snapped the picture at right. It's pretty much one of the most incredible things I've ever seen.

I went to the Giordano's website and you can order one of their stuffed heaven pies for only $22 (plus $40 to have it shipped in dry ice). I'm very tempted to do it. Check out the video below and tell me you aren't tempted too.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Our upcoming Niner Diner challenge includes FIVE POUNDS of french fries. That's the equivalent of 20 medium servings of McDonald's fries (four ounces each). Don't forget to save room for the three-pound burger.

Friday, November 02, 2007


So it's settled. On Saturday, December 1, 2007, the UEPa will meet at the Niner Diner in Nanty Glo, PA. Following Ian's suggestion, we'll set the meeting time at NOON.

As of now, it's shaping up to be the biggest UEPa meeting yet, with attendees including myself, Carey, Tut, Ian, Pete ("watching"), Jill, Wild Bill Myers (tentative and "watching") and Big Brian Subich ("watching"). I might be bringing at least two others (Beau?) with me. With eight or more in attendance, I'll call ahead sometime this month just to make sure they'll have enough ground beef and fries on hand to support such an onslaught of unabashed gluttony.

Maybe afterwords we'll visit Wing Tut's alma mater so he can relive his glory days as the tapioca pudding eating champion of Torvian Dining Hall (spring semester 1999).

By the way, Pete, Jill, Bill, and Brian will all be attending their first UEPa meeting, which, of course, means they'll have to endure the usual initiation ceremony. Oh man, remember when you went through it at Denny's, Carey? Good times.