science of speed eating and the natural history of the chicken

watched two fun documentaries.

The Natural History of the Chicken
, from PBS & Nat’l Geographic’s Science of Speed Eating

i tend to like things that are titled “natural history of______”. not sure exactly why, but in this instance there were all sorts of diverting chicken related vignettes that spanned from agribusiness to small farms to household pets. yes, they interviewed the woman who brought one of her beloved brood back from the brink of death using mouth to beak.

science of speed eating was very interesting, largely because of the portrayal of the topic and the resulting audience reaction. i wish i had a screenshot of the hulu comments (vitriolic, even for the internet), but the video is no longer on hulu. why? i’d be guessing. anyway, the film follows a nice regular family guy training to become a competitive eater, as well as veteran gurgitator Tim Janus.

so, doctors from the departments of radiology and gastroenterology at upenn did some diagnostics on Janus’ bread basket, using a young doctor whose family used to call him the garbage disposal, as a control. basically, dr. metz hopes he might glean insights to help dyspepsia sufferers from the study of competitive eaters.

now, i’m a fan of competitive eating. i’ve cheered on competitors July 4th at Coney Island. i know lots of strange and wonderful stats. and matter of fact, i recently took 3rd in a german food eating competition. but science of speed eating seemed to want to conclude that elite competitive eaters were mysteries to science, somehow able to do the inexplicable without repercussions. it’s true that the good doctors seemed legitimately amazed, which is hilariously reflected in the paper that dr. metz and his colleagues published in the American Journal of Roentgenology, Competitive Speed Eating: Truth and Consequences. however, the documentary didn’t really convey the full range of the doctors’ dispositions, which i’d describe as amazed, interested, concerned and cautionary.

aaaaaanyway, i enjoyed both movies. sort of a nice middle ground between food movies (yay, dessert!) and food lectures (it’s a single celled protein combined with synthetic aminos, vitamins, and minerals. everything the body needs).

One thought on “science of speed eating and the natural history of the chicken

  1. margot

    both sound great; if you haven’t read it yet, fagone’s Horsemen of the Esophagus (which also features Eater X prominently) is wonderful. i’m dying for an opportunity to teach it.

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