Who is the Eater of the Year?
As Endless Simmer nears the end of our first calendar year, we’re ready to look back at the time that was and honor the people who have inspired out palates and our keyboards. In that spirit, we present to you the First Annual Endless Simmer Eater of the Year Award. From the California hippies who told us to put down the foreign produce, to the wiener eating champ who made Americans believe again, these are the men and women who kept our mouths wide open all year long.
If we missed any important eaters, please let us know in the comments, and our awards committee will review them for inclusion. Of course, the final vote is up to you, so tell us who the Eater of the Year is.
The 2000’s have not been kind to America. We’ve seen our troops bogged down overseas, our jobs sent to India, our basketball championships surrendered to Europe. But most damaging to our national pride was a seemingly impossible losing streak. For seven years in a row, America’s most prestigious eating trophy – The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island – was carried away by a man from the efficient, but undeniably skinny nation of Japan.
We don’t always promote binge eating here at Endless Simmer, but even the most left-wing, anti-W hippies have got to admit there’s something wrong when we’re losing a hot dog eating contest to the Japanese.
The shattered dreams of American eaters were resurrected this Independence Day, when Joseph Christian “Jaws” Chestnut, the pride of San Jose, California, swallowed 66 dogs to take the crown back from Kobayashi. And Joey ain’t no one trick pony, he also ruled the day at Philly’s Wing Bowl and has set world eating records in burgers, ribs, waffles, and for good measure, even asparagus.
The Locavore Four
A year ago, we could bite into a mango, an avocado, or a plate of Russian caviar without ever thinking “what is this doing to my carbon footprint?” Not anymore.
This quartet of Bay Area hippies challenged us to limit our intake to foods produced within a 100 mile radius, even coining a crazy new word – locavore – that took top honors as the Oxford word of the year (we hear the cougar set is pissed they didn’t win). And while we may not be able to implement their guidelines fully (who can go all day without eating brie?), they sure did make us consider it.
His constant media presence may put him just this side of irrepressible, but the always-cantankerous chef carved out a new niche for himself in 2007 as the unofficial policeman of the foodie world. Whenever there was a food trend to be scoffed at, a cocky chef to be insulted, a Rachel Ray to be ridiculed, Bourdain was there.
In an age of constant praise for mediocrity, this is one brutal cheflebrity who tells it like it is. He even wins the Dick Cheney award for straight-faced exaggeration for calling anti-foie gras activists “the worst kind of terrorists.” And what other TV chef would have the balls to do this? Bourdain – what would we do without him?
Rarely has someone so deftly turned D-list celebrity into full fledged stardom merely by putting expensive things in her mouth week after week. Top Chef became a cultural phenomenon this year (OK, a basic cable phenomenon) and millions of viewers inadvertently learned the meaning of words like amuse bouche and panna cotta, in between glimpses of Lakshmi munching away in ecstasy. While we periodically got distracted by her messy divorce, cookbook tour, and constant pleas to be taken seriously, all we really want to do is watch her eat.
Also, writing “Padma Lakshmi” multiple times in your blog posts really boosts search engine optimization from India to Indiana.
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Who’s made out of 200 pounds of delicious milk chocolate and makes Catholic League President Bill Donohue pee his bed at night? Why, it’s Chocolate Jesus, that’s who! While legions of Christians around the world debate the true wisdom of the Holy Son, artist Cosimo Cavallaro helped us see the truth – his roots lay deep in milk, sugar and cocoa.
Congress passed a little-noticed law in December 2006 that mandated Al Gore must be nominated for every award given out in the year 2007.