Pop Culture
Jul 07, 2008, 06:51AM

Overeating: An American Tradition Since 1916

What's more American than stuffing your face with hot dogs? As you feel your belt getting a little bit tighter after the holiday, take a look at the rich history of the Fourth of July Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Ahh, the Fourth of July. Hands down, one of my favorite holidays.

After all, it's during summer vacation, the weather is nice and at least in my family, there's the annual tradition of shoving as many crabs as you can down your throat. The smells of Old Bay seasoning and fresh sparkler burns fill the air, and gathering with the family on the roofs of our cars to watch the fireworks display is something I'll always remember.

It's the holiday to end all holidays. But amidst all of the patriotism and sentimental crap baked into this one day, there is one tradition that takes the cake.

That's right, it's the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, held annually in Coney Island, N.Y.

How great is our society that we can sit and watch a group of people shove as many hot dogs as they can into their mouths in only 12 minutes? For me, it's one of the highlights of the holiday. No wait...my life.

The contest began all the way back in 1916, and has been a staple in American culture ever since. During the late 90s, and into the early part of this decade, the competition was dominated by a most unlikely "athlete," Takeru Kobayashi, who created a dynasty, winning the event six times.


  • Cramming 60-some hotdogs into your mouth is American only in the most embarrassing sense. It's completely ludicrous that someone is actually celebrating this event when our economy of consumption is so obviously running out of, ahem, gas, nevermind the global impacts of rising energy and food costs.

    Responses to this comment

Register or Login to leave a comment