Move Over, WWF

I would have thought this was a Modern Humorist hoax—The International Federation of Competitive Eating–were it not for an IFOCE-sanctioned burrito-eating contest I happened to attend a few days ago in Tribeca. As the burritos disappeared down the gullets of a half-dozen competitive, uhm, eaters, the crowd boozily chanted “Eat! Eat! Eat!”, and a guy next to me shouted to his girlfriend, “America’s a great country!” One of the eaters, as well as his “cornermen,” wore a T-shirt that said “The Doginator.” Another eater (what should one call these people?) was the famous Edward “Cookie” Jarvis, who ate one gallon and nine ounces of vanilla ice cream in twelve minutes last October. The winner, Eric “Badlands” Booker, a corrections officer from Philadelphia, turned out to be a charming fellow and, unsurprisingly, stupendously large of girth, into which he packed more than a dozen burritos in eight minutes.

Author: Peter Maass

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. In 1983, after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, I went to Brussels as a copy editor for The Wall Street Journal/Europe. I left the Journal in 1985 to write for The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune, covering NATO and the European Union. In 1987 I moved to Seoul, South Korea, where I wrote primarily for The Washington Post. After three years in Asia I moved to Budapest to cover Eastern Europe and the Balkans. I spent most of 1992 and 1993 covering the war in Bosnia for the Post.