Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Nov 30, 2009 04:06 PM

What do you think about competitive eating?

I don't know, seems like there are other "sports" that require more elaborate skills than stomach stuffing. At the same time, a number of places offer cheeseburger eating challenges nearby that I can't help but find interesting....could I eat a three pound cheeseburger with fries in a half hour and get it for free? Should I? Why? I don't know, what is the appeal of food stuffing challenges?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. "what is the appeal of food stuffing challenges?"
    if you ever figure this one out, please enlighten me.

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I think the appeal for these businesses is money from people doing the attempt, getting the customer's acquaintances into the store to buy, and earning publicity.

    2. Stuffing your face with as much food as possible is just about as opposite as you can get from "chowishness." No one with any respect for food would participate in this obscene display.

      10 Replies
        1. re: MattInNJ

          I've never encountered one of these. How do they work?

          1. re: pikawicca

            Example: eating 6 of the hottest buffalo wings ever (usually created with an insanely hot sauce). A guy in my town makes his own hot sauce and every once in awhile he does an event at the local bar where people can try his sauces. The suicide wing challenge is always looked forward too and people have a lot of fun. No one is eating 10 pounds of mayo or anything like that, just having some fun with some insanely hot food.

          2. re: MattInNJ

            I used to work in an office full of spicy food aficionados. Every so often at this one pizza joint, they'd have a jalapeno contest. Hold a slice of jalapeno under your tongue, and the last one to break a sweat wins. The winner, consistently, was this pale willowy girl you would have assumed would be first out.

            1. re: jmckee

              There have been experiments where they've seen how long people can hold their tongues in carbonated water. Surprisingly it wasn't that long. But, I read about this decades ago before all this extreme spiciness challenge. Maybe people build up tolerance to everything.

              1. re: jmckee

                While it's probably true that more men are into macho-competitive hot pepper eating than women, the only person I know who can eat the hottest of the hot without even blinking is also a demure-looking female. Face it, they're tougher than us.

                1. re: BobB

                  And this comes as news to you?

                  Two words: Child. Birth.

                  1. re: alanbarnes

                    Not news to me - I'm just pointing it out to jmckee. ;-)

                    1. re: BobB

                      Oh believe me, I'm married to a 6'2" nurse who specializes in Pain Management and put the AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA in type A personality

              2. re: MattInNJ

                Is it possible to actually sustain physical harm from this?

            2. Should you? Kinda depends on your capacity for pain.
              I occasionally watch Man vs. Food on Travel and find it akin to a gory accident I can't look away from. It's less about food and more about something I just can't figure out the reason for.

              "Just because you want to, doesn't mean you should."

              32 Replies
              1. re: bushwickgirl

                I've never watched Man v. Food but I checked out the web sure does look disrespectful to food. What's surprising is that a guy who supposedly has a lot of restaurant experience (even though he never even went to culinary school) would do this. Where is the enjoyment?

                1. re: observor

                  Excuse my ignorance but how does one show disrepect food? By eating lots of it? You can be disrespectful to people, institutions, cultures, religions, etc. etc. but how can you disrespect food?

                  1. re: KTinNYC

                    Because food gives you something essential, and when you use it without any consideration of its purpose, you are ignoring its status in the world. By shoving 15 gallons of ice cream, or what have you, into your mouth you are not remotely considering the life giving, pleasure, and perhaps artistic elements and reducing it to something to put into your face.

                    1. re: observor

                      Please. Food has no status in the world. Food is food. It provides, energy, nutrients, enjoyment. After you eat it it becomes shit. Do you give status to shit?

                      If you honestly believe that eating food without consideration reduces "its status in the world" then you are better off railing against the 65% of Americans that are overweight then attacking the strawman that is competitive eating. Obviously overweight people are not taking "consideration of its (foods) purpose".

                      1. re: KTinNYC

                        "Please. Food has no status in the world. Food is food. It provides, energy, nutrients, enjoyment. After you eat it it becomes shit. Do you give status to shit?"

                        i was going to write this almost word for word!

                        1. re: thew

                          Rare as this may be jfood agrees with both Thew and KT.

                          Food having status in the world. Wow.

                          1. re: jfood

                            I *still* think Rafiqui's is just okay ; )

                            1. re: KTinNYC

                              Oh Man jfood forgot that was you with the anti-Raffique palate. ;-))

                              Good news is jfood works outside NYC these days (all the way in MN), so he does not have a dog in that hunt. in the midwest there is no bagels, no gyros, no novey, but other foods are absolutely outstanding.

                              1. re: jfood

                                I would gladly give up one year of gyros for one year of fish fries. Enjoy.

                            2. re: jfood

                              I'm agreeing with all three of you. I don't think food is some type of sacred product. It is a product that I am free to purchase with my money, just like anything else.

                              1. re: kwjd

                                It is a resource that is not always readily available to everyone on the planet, and as such it shouldn't be wasted. I think that's what is meant by respect in earlier posts.

                                I find the eating contests really disgusting, but then I've always had a problem watching any act of gluttony.

                          2. re: KTinNYC

                            thank you. someone needed to say it. FOOD has no status in the world. The entertainer or chef or restaurant that serves good food has the status. And if an establishment tries to get more business by having an eating contest of sorts and ppl go to it, then that restaurants advertising or marketing person will get status.

                            1. re: cookieluvntasha

                              Everything has status. Just like everyone who said "food is food" showed they have an understanding of low status. If food is not significant, why don't you try going without it for a few years.

                              1. re: observor

                                I hope you're not guilty of over-breathing. Because you can't go without oxygen for even a few MINUTES. So don't ever break into a trot, or anything, because then you are not respecting the status of air. Word.

                                1. re: small h

                                  Until the day when they put a tax on air and cut you off if you can't afford to pay it, air and food are not in the same ballpark. Food has VALUE. It costs real money for someone. The real problem with eating contests is they're yet another encouragement of blatant consumerism and lack of consideration for others.

                                  And yes, animal food does deserve respect. A living creature gave its life to make that hamburger. Animals are part of the food chain and you could argue that they were 'meant' to be eaten, but give them a little respect while you do it! Eating till you puke is not respect in my book.

                                  1. re: Kajikit

                                    Everything has value. That's my point. We happen to be on a site that is primarily concerned with food. Thus, wasting food is particularly galling to (some) people who post here. But as in so many of these tut-tutting threads, everyone professes to know exactly where the respectful enjoyment ends and the waste begins. Maybe you don't eat 'til you puke. But you probably have eaten to the point where you said to yourself, "wow! I'm really full." Which means you ate too much. You wasted food. And if you drove 10 extra miles because you like the pizza place in the next town better than the pizza place in your town, then you wasted gasoline as well.

                            2. re: KTinNYC

                              "Please. Food has no status in the world. Food is food. It provides, energy, nutrients, enjoyment. After you eat it it becomes shit. Do you give status to shit?"

                              Well, while I have been guilty of eating thoughtlessly, I must point out that if food deserves a certain respect it is because it came from a living thing. People who talk of respecting food are referring to the living things that it came from, and ultimately the land that sustains us. I believe these things deserve a certain status.

                              1. re: haggisdragon

                                You can and should treat the living creature with repect and consideration but once the creature has been dispatched it no longer really cares how it gets treated. It is now just food. You can appreciate food, you can be thankful you have it but respect it? I think not. My shoes are made of leather and I'm guessing yours are as well. They were once part of a living creature. Do you respect your shoes? I don't. I'm glad I have them but respecting them is something that would never even cross my mind. Maybe we all have different definitions of the word respect.

                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                  There are three necessities of life: Food, clothing, and shelter. (And a friend of mine suggests that clothing is not a necessity.) Food is the one without which you'll die most quickly. I think that's worthy of respect, and so do a great many food writers and chefs. I could go home, page through my cookbook / foodbook collection, and come up with a hundred citations of "respecting" food without too much difficulty.

                                  1. re: jmckee

                                    It's pretty ironic for someone to think respecting food is a ridiculous idea.... on CHOWHOUND.

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      i love food. i think about it and grave it. i make it and consume it.

                                      i respect good chefs.

                                      1. re: thew

                                        should that read 'gravy it'? '-)

                                  2. re: haggisdragon

                                    Food has no status? In what corner of Nowhere do you live? Ever heard of caviar? Belugta to lumpfish, status at one layer of haute or another. Foi gras? Tenderloin? Truffles? Escargot? Marrons? Wagyu? Abalone? There's a really really loooooooong list of status foods. You should explore the world! It's an interesting place!

                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                      I think your reply was intended for the person I quoted.

                                      1. re: haggisdragon

                                        Possibly. Sometimes the attributions get confusing. Sorry.

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          If you're not sure who's replying to what, click the "re:" name at the top right of a post and it will take you directly to its proper antecedent.

                                          EDIT: Oops! Just realized that's not what was misleading here. Never mind. Still a useful tip.

                              2. re: KTinNYC


                                You are using an extremely narrow definition of "respect," which can mean that one prizes something, or holds it in esteem. Those of us fortunate to have enough to eat should prize the food we consume. I can assure you that, given the chance, hungry people around the world would.

                                1. re: pikawicca


                                  The word may be appreciate versus respect

                              3. re: bushwickgirl

                                You really think he makes good cash?

                                1. re: observor

                                  For all the pain (think ghost peppers episode) he goes through, I would hope so. Or maybe he's got excellent medical coverage.
                                  On another note, as the world moves away from agrarian economies, countries that don't have other resources to trade, say oil or minerals, tend not to have much food either. In these economies, food has status.

                              4. I watched a TV documentary on Takeru Kobayashi once...he was planing on competing in a hot dog eating contest and spent literally months preparing for it. They showed him grocery shopping every day, stuffing himself with lettuce (apparently a good choice for those preparing to seriously gorge themselves?), and then he went to a conveyor belt sushi restaurant and just kept pulling plates off the belt and eating them. By the end he had several massive stacks of empty plates on the table. I was exhausted just watching him!

                                I think the whole idea would be a lot more appealing to me if I thought he could actually ENJOY the food while stuffing himself...then I would probably want to do it myself (but with real food, not water-soaked hot dogs).

                                2 Replies
                                1. End of it for him too. Think if it comes back up you're DQ'd.

                                  1. re: monku

                                    No, they counted it because he caught it in his hands and ate it again. No disqualification involved, it was just how much you ate (and kept down). I can't believe they broadcast this in its entirity on Sports Channel, it was on a rainy Fourth of July with nothing going on so we watched it, thank God we weren't planning on hot dogs for dinner!

                                2. I couldnt do it and I don't understand it well... not even with beer, if i can't drink 2 liters of waters at once, why would i do it with beer? so i guess it all depends on if you actually enjoy it.

                                  that's why i dont do buffets either, i mean unless is very good food then i could have a bite of everything, but if it was just countless buffalo wings, or burgers if it i delicious after the 15 wing or the second burger it wouldnt be enjoyment anymore, but competition.

                                  I would do it for money though.. lol

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: helenahimm

                                    This one place near me offers a three pound burger with half a pound of cheese and bacon etc. (and a beer) for $23.00 and if you eat it in 35 minutes...they give you a 25 dollar *bar tab*. You don't even get it for free, they give you about 5 dollars worth of alcohol for assaulting yourself with this concoction *and* shelling out money.

                                    1. re: observor

                                      At The San Francisco Creamery if you eat their "Kitchen Sink" in a half hour it is not only free ($40 value) but you get free ice cream for a year. Now that is at least some incentive.