Have you ever been out to brunch with a friend who knows which fork to use, fuels the conversation with witty tidbits of information in between bites of egg white something or other and can’t possibly finish all those hash browns?
I am so not that friend. But I will grab your plate and shove your leftovers in my maw whether you offered them to me or not. Waste a precious potato? NEVER.
You can take the girl outta Jersey, but you can’t stop the girl from growling at her food.
I’m not sure when exactly I turned into such a slovenly beast. Growing up, I don’t recall my parents ever stressing the importance of dinner table manners. I only remember my friends’ parents scolding me for having my elbows on the table or ignoring the gravy smeared on my cheeks. Like, I knew it was there, but I had meatloaf to deal with first. PRIORITIES!
But my upbringing isn’t fully to blame. I really just can’t be bothered to give one single shit about what I look like when I’m eating. I guess some people expect ladies to have their compact at the ready to examine their teeth for an errant spinach particle. Is it wrong to say I don’t care if there’s a tiny piece of food stuck near my incisor for the good part of an hour? In this age of chia seeds, should we all be living in terror? I should hope not.
This is all easily said and done when I’m with friends who understand that my grunting and flailing mean I’m looking for the Tabasco. It’s an entirely different issue if I’m having lunch with my boss, or anyone in a more formal setting. I’m in awe of women who manage to eat their salad without mussing their make-up. In those situations, it’s hard for me to remember that ordering wings and spaghetti isn’t the best idea. Thank god I’m not single. How do you even EAT on a date?
Believe me, I have nothing against manners or politeness. They’re just not at the forefront of my mind when I’m diving face-first into a pile of perogies.
As a result of my DGAF attitude toward table manners, I occasionally dip my toe into the competitive eating game. I can’t resist a stupid challenge and it truly disturbs the vast majority of people, so why not?
My first food challenge took place at THEE best taco joint on the Jersey shore, Surf Taco. Logically, I knew that if I loved Mexican food, I’d REALLY love a two-foot long burrito called the Tsunami. Anyone who eats the Tsunami in 15 minutes gets their Polaroid picture pinned to the Surf Taco bulletin board FOREVER.
I devoured the mess of refried beans, cheese, veggies and guacamole like a boss, shoving massive handfuls into my face without a pause. I felt like a champion until the very end. I finished the Tsunami, but I was way too lightheaded and nauseous to pose for a photo. My friends rushed me back to our shore house where I vomited guac out of my nose into the kitchen sink while they laughed hysterically. Nonetheless, I consider this a personal victory.
I did some math (no I didn’t), and figured out that two feet of burrito must equal a whole lot of tacos. So when I heard that two of my dude co-workers wanted to ruin Taco Tuesday forever, I was in. We had one hour to consume as many beef tacos as possible while the waitstaff cursed the day they decided to serve unlimited tacos.
Sadly, I didn’t win, but I did eat close to a dozen tacos. The winner ate 14. I’m positive that if we calculated the ratio of taco meat to body weight, I would have been the Taco Belle that day. I was just glad I was able to return to work without spewing condiments through my nose.
I like tacos so much I BECAME ONE.
My fledgling career in competitive eating was truly put to the test when I signed up for a local hot dog eating contest last year. This was a bad idea from the get-go for a lot of reasons, but mainly because I don’t have a real passion for hot dogs. Burritos and tacos? All day, every day. Pizza? I have unlimited capacity for you. Hot dogs? Eh, as long as there’s enough sauerkraut.
I was up against a dozen people, mainly hungover-looking college students. I didn’t stand a chance. There weren’t only hot dogs to contend with, either. We had to eat a basket with the hot dog, bun and one ounce of fries. Whoever could consume the most baskets without regurgitating hot dogs into the crowd of onlookers would win.
If you’ve ever watched a hot dog eating contest, you’re aware of the repulsive practice of dunking your bun into water before shoving it in your face. This is a disgusting but necessary part of competitive eating, I quickly learned. I watched everyone else dunk both their bun and fries into the water, so I figured they must be onto something. Not surprisingly, I lost my appetite the second I tasted those sad, soggy fries.
I only made it through two full baskets. The winner ate four and won a hefty cash prize, which I’m sure came in handy for the colonoscopy that he likely needed afterward.
I still have a few shreds of dignity left, so I’d like to spend them wisely -- perhaps on a pizza-eating competition one day. I don’t believe in "too much pizza." I could eat an entire pie without thinking, so I might as well do it for sport, right?
Now that you understand why certain people won’t go to Waffle House with me ever again, please tell me: Are you a disgusting eater? Do you too lack the common sense it takes to avoid attacking your food ravenously in public?
Or do you totally hate people like me? I may be gross, but the one thing I can’t tolerate that makes me want to stick sporks in my eyes is chewing with one’s mouth open. Or when people MAKE SOUNDS as they’re chewing. NO. NO. NO. I can’t. Gotta have SOME standards, you know?