Things I learned about competitive eating this weekend:
—One can be a world eating champ in anything, as long as one picks a sufficiently obscure category: Chili, you’re going to have competition. Better: frog legs. Clementines.
—There is big cash money to be had, or at least a free meal, in getting food down fast and keeping it down, but the downsides are (1) it’s still Sbarro and (2) you will be immortalized in the media with food all over yourself. The media (including me) cannot resist the spectacle.
—Sometimes, just watching people eat is enough to kill the appetite. My stomach was saying lunch, but my brain was saying no, no, no.
You can hear it yourself: here’s my audio postcard on the 2010 National Food Court Championship, at Madison’s University Mall food court. I threw it together for WORT 89.9 FM‘s evening news show, In Our Back Yard, where I volunteer each Tuesday. The production was quick and rough—but I think the charm of Arnie “Chowhound” Chapman, the competitive eater from Yonkers, still comes through loud and clear. Very loud.
Warning: It doesn’t pass the breakfast test.