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New York Daily Photo: Hot Dogs and Fries
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Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Hot Dogs and Fries

As a child, I loved hot dogs. In fact, if it were not for dietary concerns, I would still be eating them. And as you descend the slippery slope of fast food and stratospheric calories, you might as well throw in some French fries. On my recent pilgrimage to Coney Island, which I wrote about yesterday, four of us decided to stop by the original Nathan's Famous on Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Brooklyn, started in 1916 by Nathan Handwerker. I wrote of Nathan's in 2006 - you can read it here.
We had decided to snack only and ordered French fries and fried clams. For myself, since I eat fries so infrequently, there are only good fries or very good fries.
What's more American than hot dogs and fries? Eating to excess, so a hot dog eating contest is the perfect American sport. Since 1916, Nathan's has been sponsoring a hot dog eating contest. In 2007, the Japanese hegemony was finally broken by Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, eating 59 dogs in 10 minutes, beating Takeru Kobayashi who had held the record for 6 years straight.
I learned today that competitive eating is actually an official sport with an organization - International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE). They sponsor more than 100 international eating events. Personally I find eating contests rather disturbing - at a time where health consciousness, obesity and food related illnesses are paramount, I do not see embracing a sport like like this to send the right messages to society. But perhaps if it were found that eating large amounts of French fries or ice cream was actually a health benefit ...


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