John Grindrud: Gluttony, Coney Island Tradition

With Independence Day tomorrow, I recently thought about all the traditions that surround the coolest holiday of summer. Of course, there will be many people flying the flag who do not ordinarily do so every day, a very different flag than the one attributed to Betsy Ross, the flag with thirteen five-pointed stars arranged in a circle in a field of blue and the accompanying seven red stripes and six White lines.

There will also be a great deal of spray in our local watering holes and plenty of smells emanating from the grills that evoke the olfactory odor in the neighborhoods. The evening will be a nighttime extravaganza full of onomatopoeia, with bursts of light accompanied by all those hissing and fiery guns.

But the one tradition I’ve been drawn to every year is the one that takes place at 1310 Surf Avenue in Brooklyn on Coney Island in an open-air restaurant where she showcased her most famous products on an unforgettable trip in 1988 with my friends John Williams, Rick and Greg Stoly and our native Brooklyn, a guide For the times of the Big Apple, Jimmy Puma, a person who has provided delightful health assistance from Brooklyn to dozens of schoolchildren in the Lima area during his decades of education.

Of course, I’m talking about Nathan, a hot dog place on the boardwalk since 1916 when Nathan Handwerker took out a $300 loan and started selling those dogs filled with his wife’s special secret sauce.

I think of my men’s-only vacation in New York every 4th of July when I see coverage of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, featuring the most famous eater, Joey Chestnut, who is really the elite when it comes to packing the most sausages. And the accompanying cake in the pie hole in the allotted ten minutes.

My, what bizarre rivalries have evolved over time, and competitive eating is definitely at the top of that list, featuring the likes of wood rolling and toe wrestling. According to Major League Eating, the governing body for competitive eating (and yes, such an organization exists), the “sport” has deep roots, and it goes back to 1916, when Handwerker staged the first competition with four immigrants, one won by the Irish national who downed 13 sausages At least that’s the legend.

As for tomorrow’s competition, Chestnuts have dominated since winning their first title in 2007 when they defeated Takeru Kobayashi by defeating Kobayashi 66-63. Consumer tube steaks. Like Babe Ruth who expanded his home title in the 1920s, Chestnut raised the number last year to 76.

Tomorrow’s contest rules are very simple. The winner will be the man or woman (and yes, the female gender will be represented) who drops the most dogs and an accompanying cake in the allotted time of 10 minutes. Eaters will be allowed to drink while eating, and the final rule is the same for Paul Newman’s Luke Jackson in that memorable scene from the 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke when Luke claims Wings successfully eat 50 boiled eggs. This rule is that tomorrow’s winner must keep all the “dogs”.

As for what’s at stake in Nathan tomorrow, big eaters will split a purse (last year’s purse was $40,000), and the winners, man and woman, will also receive the coveted mustard belt, named, of course, for the right condiment for a hot dog (sorry, ketchup on hot dog, You are simply misleading.)

As for the best woman, despite Michelle Lesko winning last year, many feel it’s only because Miki Sudou, who topped the female eater list every year from 2014 to 2020, dropped out of last year’s competition because she was pregnant, and keeps track of what Doctors say it, and I think we can all agree that prenatal care was appropriate. Sudo consumed 48 1/2 dogs in its 2020 winning effort far exceeding last year’s Lesco 30. You will notice that the fractions are already estimated!

And just as the other prisoners bet on Cool Hand Luke’s quest to bring down that 50 egg, there will be those who will bet against tomorrow’s competition. Last year was the first year that Vegas Betting Lines were set up. Last year’s chestnut was so favored that, on the money streak, it was -3000, which means that the bettor would have needed to bet $3,000 for every $100 he wanted to win.

So tomorrow, enjoy these holiday traditions, as much as you can, but try to carve out just 10 minutes in the afternoon to watch those dogs disappear. It is truly a testament to that belly-burst Seven Deadly Sins, Gluttony.

From Grindrod’s 1988 vacation, this is Nathan’s original Coney Island cruise. From left to right John Williams, Greg Stoley, Rick Stoley, and John Grindrod. This will be the location of the sausage eating contest on July 4th.

John Grindrud is a regular columnist for The Lima News, a freelance writer and editor, and the author of two books. reach it in [email protected]

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