Why do Americans have eating competitions
When she eats, up to 23,000 fans come. Molly Schuyler, 36, is by far the best woman in the American professional league of weather eaters. She holds the world records for chicken wings (440), hands-free pumpkin pie eating (47 pieces), eating fried mushrooms (5.2 kilos) and eating sausages (50 in eight minutes). On Saturday she wants to break her sausage record at the "Bratwurst Eating Championship" in New York. The meeting with Schuyler - hat, sunglasses, tattoos, 34 nose and ear studs - takes place in the afternoon in a restaurant in Sacramento, California. There are "bottomless fries", meaning as many French fries as you want with each meal. We order a burger and a basket of fries each. It shouldn't stay that way. During the conversation, she regularly asks the astonished waiter for more supplies.
SZ: Bon appetit! Probably not your first meal today?
Molly Schuyler: No, I already had coffee for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch. I don't eat fast food, I don't like it. Instead, a lot of vegetables, everything in moderation. I weigh 54 kilograms and, after all, I don't want to get fat. Many believe that you have to be fat to survive an eating contest. But most weather eaters are in top shape. The belly fat layer is even counterproductive because, like a tight ring, it limits the intake of large amounts of food.
How do you train for an eating contest?
I don't really exercise. I couldn't afford to eat more than ten kilos of steak or pizza just to practice. I drink six to ten liters of water every few days in less than ten minutes. That stretches the stomach. Like other sports, stretching helps. I know of others who chew a mouthful of gum to strengthen their jaw muscles. I also do video analysis, trying to improve my breathing or hand technique. But the most important thing is talent.
What does that mean, talent?
You have to have a very flexible stomach. Whoever wants to be at the forefront of "competitive eating" has to be able to overcome the gag reflex. I don't chew, I just bite off and swallow whole chunks. Whoever chews has no chance. The basic requirement is to be able to continue to eat when you are full of paper.
When did you first realize that you could eat more than others?
When I grew up in the Midwest, we often went to all-you-can-eat buffets. My parents said that if we ever went to a restaurant, we should make the most of it. Sometimes there was a little competition with families at the next table to see who could empty the most pudding glasses. My three older brothers and I have rarely lost.
There is still a long way to go to the first professional eating contest.
That's true. I ran a bet in February 2013 and took part in a ham eating contest. To my surprise, I won. The prize was $ 500 ham, well. Then I continued to look around to see what was out there. That's how I slipped into the scene. Strangely enough, I was almost always in the top three.
Two years ago a man in South Dakota choked to death on a hotdog eating contest. Do not be afraid?
That was very tragic. However, it was an amateur who had competed for the first time. Paramedics were with him within a few minutes, they couldn't get the sausage out of the windpipe in time. As a professional you are of course aware of the risk. But we have a lot of practice and are only a few meters away from an emergency doctor. All sport is dangerous, people also die while running or playing tennis.
Is really healthy But eating contests Not.
I go to the doctor every three months, my blood counts are okay. Of course, I have diarrhea or stomach pain every now and then. I once ate eleven kilos of potatoes, that's more than 20 percent of my body weight, you have to digest that first - in the truest sense of the word. There are no medical studies on the health consequences of eating contests. Of course, it's not a good thing for a 150-pound man with high cholesterol to go out to dinner every weekend. Most professional eaters, however, are fit and toned and eat sensibly outside of competitions.
Do you specialize in certain foods?
Some things are unreasonable. Pork brains, for example, are rubbery and taste gross. Never again! Or tacos, they are so hard and angular when swallowed. Raw broccoli is also difficult to eat. I love steaks, chicken wings and hot dogs for that!
Do you throw up regularly after your competitions?
That's the question I get asked the most - and it pisses me off. Forgive my language of expression. It's a rude question that you surely wouldn't ask any other person.
Well, yes, but other people don't stuff themselves with pounds of fish fingers either in the stomach and can be celebrated for it.
I understand you are doing your job. So: I've rarely felt sick so far. Actually only twice really, with the pork brains and with the chili peppers.
The question of all questions: Why are you doing this?
Our family needs the money. My husband is a soldier and doesn't really earn a lot. We have four children who have to be fed first. Fortunately, the organizers pay for the flights and hotels. Sometimes I get an entry fee, otherwise it's a very simple calculation every time: If I have to fly away for two days for a competition and pay $ 200 in childcare costs for every day, I have to take at least $ 1000 in prize money with me so that the whole thing pays off. In addition to coal, of course, I simply enjoy eating large quantities.
In the USA there is a bitter battle between two types of competition, Picnic style and freestyle.
This is a war of faith. We picnic-style eaters are for a dignified approach to food. With us there is no tearing, soaking, dipping or crushing. All of this is allowed in freestyle. It's disgusting when the athletes tear up a hot dog, then dip the bread roll in water and gulp everything down mashed and dripping wet.
In competitions, each participant is assigned a referee. Why?
It's about a hell of a lot of money. Disqualifications happen all the time, people deliberately drop food, put food in paper cups or illegally dip. One of them even tried to stuff carrots into his trouser pockets. Of course, anyone who vomits will also be disqualified. In the case of chicken wings, the umpires also check that each bone is well drained. In the last few seconds, the athletes stuff as much food into their mouths as they can fit. After the final siren you have to swallow everything within 60 seconds. It's hard when you've got four burgers in your mouth.
A YouTube video showing you eating four kilos of steak has been viewed almost 1.2 million times. How about the fame?
The sport is growing tremendously fast. A hot dog competition in New York is even broadcast live on the sports channel ESPN. There are two million people hanging on the screen. Still, I'm not a football star or Tiger Woods. Occasionally I am recognized in the supermarket or at the airport. Most people just want an autograph or a quick photo. For some it's more complicated, they want to take photos that show me eating. They then buy five hamburgers and ask me to pose with them and pretend I'm going to bite into them. By the way: if you want to touch my stomach, you get popped.
Can you make a living from food?
Sure, that's my job. I worked as a waitress for seven years for $ 2.13 an hour. A miserable existence. At the Wing Bowl in Philadelphia, I won $ 22,000 in half an hour, plus a Harley Davidson. I think half a million will be in five years. Compared to other sports, that's okay, but not by much.
Should eating contests be a sport?
It's the most natural sport in the world - or do you know someone who doesn't eat? It requires strength, perseverance, concentration and willpower. I love the adrenaline rush of competitions and I have a thieving pleasure in beating men who are three times as heavy as me.
Do you have to be a rampage pig to eat in front of an audience with a smeared face and a drooled T-shirt?
In my biggest competition, I am driven into the hall in a sailor costume, riding on a plastic rocket, 23,000 people scream: "Molly! Molly!" It helps not to be shy. During the actual competition, after the national anthem and the introduction of the participants, you sink into your own world. I'm one hundred percent focused, like Usain Bolt in the 100-meter run. After the start signal you have to hit it, go full speed. It doesn't look nice, but a marathon runner doesn't look good after 42 kilometers either.
They have four children, ages eight, nine, ten and thirteen. Are you believable when you are your daughters admonish not to fill your mouth too full?
You would be surprised how it works at our dining table. Manners are important to me. I never talk about my job and I don't want my children to see the videos on YouTube. One is sport, the other is life. A racing driver doesn't drive at 300 km / h on the way to go shopping either.
What do you want to do when your stomach no longer works?
I know I might be able to eat at this level for another eight to ten years. There's hardly a weather eater over 50. Maybe I'll go back to college, become a vet. I have four cats.
People are starving to death in many countries around the world, and you can get your food needs of one in ten minutes Village in the mouth. Do you think that's okay?
Oh, you know, every supermarket in America throws away more food each week than all the weather eaters put together in a year. I don't even want to start with all-you-can-eat restaurants, thousands of tons are thrown away every day. Hardly anyone talks about it. Many of the Wettess organizers donate part of the income to the homeless, soup kitchens or hunger relief.
Molly Schuyler has Ate a burger and 18 servings of fries. The waiter wants a photo. you says: "Sorry, have to go home. For dinner."
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