Thursday, April 28, 2005

A cultural phenomenon

You'd look queasy, too. The man in the photo just polished off 70 chiles at a jalapeno-eating contest. It is part of our annual Spring festival and chili cook-off here.

Seven people competed, six guys and one girl. Most people were finished after about 20 whole jalapenos. They kept getting redder and redder as they chewed. One bald guy's head looked like a summer sunset.

I talked to the winner for a minute. He said he knew he could win.

The problem was that he thought they weren't going to have the jalapeno contest this year, so he ate a bunch of chili first...urg.

Several contestants lost it in quite spectacular ways during the contest. One guy ate about 40 chiles before staggering offstage, dripping in sweat, to heave on the grass behind some parked cars.

When I caught up with him about 10 minutes later, he was still in an altered state of consciousness and unable to speak intelligibly.

I love food. I don't quite understand the need to turn it into a torture contest. I guess it is kind of like a stomach triathlon. Painful, but I suppose there's the satisfaction of having done it.

No comments: