I love competitive sports. I also love eating. One day each year, both passions converge into one glorious event: the Coney Island (NY) Hot Dog Eating Championship.
Set on the Fourth of July, when most Americans are out on the lake or otherwise enjoying the fruits of our great land, this gastronomical competition is what holds my attention all afternoon. Prestigious names like Ed “Cookie” Jarvis, “Eater X”, and Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas engage in an epic battle of stomachs. Some may say that this event isn’t considered a “sport”, but I would severely beg to differ, seeing as how it features the three main components of any sporting activity:
-Prize on the line? Yep…the prestigious “Mustard Belt”.
-Rivalries/Competition? Years ago, Japanese competitor Takeru Kobayashi dominated the event…but was eventually dropped due to a contract dispute. Apparently, eating can pay! In his wake rose the great Joey “Jaws” Chestnut (pictured below), who in 2013 consumed a record 69 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. A “dog-off” (should it ever occur) between these two would stand next to Ali/Frazier & Red Sox/Yankees in the pantheon of sports rivalries.
-Talent? The next time you are at a bonfire and start feeling full after 2-3 wieners, run the numbers on 69 in 10 minutes.
Simply put, is there anything more American than watching sane (?) men & women gorge themselves on processed meat and bread? I think not. Here are some books we have to get you into the hot dog spirit…
Hot Diggity Dog by Adrienne Sylver. 9780525478973. 2010. Grade K-3.
Hot Dogs & Croissants by Natasha Saulnier. 9781629145365. 2015.
Man Bites Dog: Hot Dog Culture In America by Bruce Kraig. 9781589799325. 2014.
Hot Dog! Eleanor Roosevelt Throws A Picnic by Leslie Kimmelman. 9781585368303. 2014. Grade 3-6.
How The Hot Dog Found Its Bun by Josh Chetwynd. 9780762777501. 2012.
The Skinny On Hot Dogs by Catherine Ipcizade. 9781429666619.
Hot Dog: A Global History by Bruce Kraig. 9781861894274. 2009. Grade 9-Adult.
Hot dogs can even be used to teach math to younger students…
Picnic Fun: Hot Dog Operations by Donna Loughran. 9781599535487. 2013. Grade K-2.
Finally, a few books (both fiction & nonfiction) on the world of competitive eating itself…
Eat This Book by Ryan Nerz. 9781466802322. 2006.
Big Mouth by Deborah Halverson. 9780375849046. 2008. Grade 5-8.
Hardy Boys: Feeding Frenzy by Franklin W Dixon. 9781416954996. 2008. Grade 3-6.
Horsemen of the Esophagus by Jason Fagone. 9780307237392. 2007.
The final verdict: Grab the Pepto-Bismal and settle in!
Blogger: Zach K.