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October 29, 1998
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Dog Days of Summer

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DOG DAYS

ITS THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER SO WHAT BETTER TIME TO PONDER THE SIMPLE HOT DOG. SOMEHOW THIS GERMAN-AMERICAN CREATiON HAS COME TO SYMBOLIZE THE AMERICAN SUMMER EXPERIENCE, AND WHETHER YOUR TASTE RUNS TO KOSHER BEEF, CONEY ISLANDS OR FOOT LONGS---THERE’S NO BETTER WAY TO EAT CHEAPLY AND FEEL PATRIOTIC AT THE SAME TIME. LOT’S OF PEOPLE MUST AGREE WITH ME-SINCE ACCORDING TO A RECENT COSTCO FRANKFURTER FLYER---WE AMERICANS CONSUME AN AVERAGE OF 80 OF THE WEINERS A YEAR. NOW I FIGURE I HAVEN'T EATEN MORE THAN 80 IN MY LIFETIME, SO SOME OF YOU OUT THERE MUST BE TAKING UP A LOT OF SLACK.

BUT NO MATTER HOW FOND YOU ARE OF TUBE STEAKS, I DOUBT THAT YOU COULD COMPETE IN THE ANNUAL CONEY ISLAND HOT DOG EATING CONTEST. HERE--THE WORLD’S HUNGRIEST--OR CRAZIEST--FRANKFURTER FANS COMPETE TO SEE HOW MANY FOOT LONGS IN A BUN THEY CAN DEVOUR IN 12 MINUTES. AND FOR THREE YEARS RUNNING NOW 5 FOOT, 6 INCH, ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY POUND HIRO FUMI NAKAJIMA--FROM JAPAN OF ALL PLACES--HAS BETTERED HIS OWN RECORD. THE LAST TIME CONSUMING 24 AND A HALF OF THE LITTLE DEVILS AND LEAVING HIS COMPETITION WITH A LOT OF RELISH ON THEIR FACES. AND JUST TO PROVE THAT SIZE DOESN’T MATTER--IN EATING CONTESTS AT LEAST--THE GUY WHO CAME IN SECOND STANDS SIX FOOT, SEVEN INCHES AND WEIGHS 360 POUNDS--HIS NICKNAME IS “THE ANIMAL”--BUT ED KRACHIE FROM GOOD OLE QUEENS NEW YORK--ADMITS THAT AFTER EACH OF HIS DEFEATS BY THE LITTLE GUY--HE WAS READY FOR THE HOSPITAL AND NAKAJIMA LOOKED LIKE HE WAS STILL HUNGRY.

THE WAY I SEE IT--IF SOME BIG FAT AMERICAN CAN’T WHIP A LITTLE JAPANESE GUY AT EATING HOT DOGS, THEN ITS TIME TO CHANGE THE NATIONAL FOOD OF SUMMER---SUHSI ANYONE?

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