When I was in high school, the guys I hung out with used to hold their very own Wing Bowl, as an alternative to the official event. I never wanted to participate – frankly, I thought it was kind of sickening – but I *did* want to attend. Even if only to have a couple drinks and a handful of wings.
I was denied.
I had assumed that the “no girls allowed” sentiment would have subsided shortly after elementary school – around the same time when we all stopped being afraid of cooties. I was wrong – kind of. My friends assured me that I could come, but only if I *served* the wings. And the idea of wearing a particular serving outfit was tossed around as well (several options were mentioned). It just wasn’t worth it to me to see the guys stuff their faces and then, inevitably, puke, so I bailed. But I heard all the stories about how Nick won by scarfing down 75 wings (I don’t know how long he had), which both appalled and impressed me.
I was even more appalled/impressed when I read that this year’s official amateur eater ate 203 wings in 20 minutes! Just the thought makes me gag a little bit. That gut reaction is probably why I’ve only ever entered two, albeit unofficial, eating contests in my entire life.
1) I don’t know if it really qualifies as an eating contest, but once (okay, a few times), out of sheer boredom, I attempted the Saltine Challenge. You know, eating 6 crackers in less than a minute? Not a success. And possible spewing of unchewed crackers on the carpet. I’m soooo attractive.
2) One summer in high school I went to Shanghai with a group of about 20, and our guide introduced us to traditional Chinese food. One dish was “drunken shrimp” – meaning that the shrimp were still alive, but soaked in wine, so they weren’t really moving, except for the occasional twitch. We went around the table, trying to see who could stomach the most, and the majority of the group dropped out after one or two. (It’s a little disconcerting to eat something that wiggles, no? TMI?) I stayed in, running neck and neck with a guy who was about twice my size, and just as competitive. In the end, we had each eaten 13 live shrimp, and decided to stop while we were ahead (and not sick).
Maybe it’s a little gross, but I’ll take a few drunken shrimp over a couple hundred wings any day.
Anyone up for a challenge?