25 November, 2015
Many Americans spend Thanksgiving with family and friends around a table of roast turkey, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce.
But for others, it's a competition.
Across the United States, there are contests to see who can eat the most pumpkin pie. These events start in October and continue through Thanksgiving.
Elk Grove, California hosts the Giant Pumpkin Festival World Pumpkin Pie Eating Championship. Matthew Stonie won last year by eating 20 pounds, 13 ounces of pumpkin pie in 8 minutes. In other words, about 9 and a half kilograms. That was a "world record," reported the International Federation of Competitive Eating in New York City (IFOCE).
Stonie won $5,000.
The IFOCE website praised Stonie's "effortless speed" at the table:
"Like a silent automobile in top gear careening past you on the highway. Like the boxer with lightning jabs. Like a speed skater in a very tight bodysuit, long limbs stretching further than the clock can tick. The great ones make it look easy."
Some of the pumpkin-pie eating contests dissolve into gluttony. An example is the IFOCE's YouTube video: "Thanksgiving Invitational – Pumpkin Pie" eating contest:
Others have a more light-hearted approach to pumpkin pie-eating contests. Students at the Duthie Center for Engineering in Louisville, Kentucky posted their pumpkin pie-eating contest on Facebook. It was a friendly social affair:
In Broomfield, Colorado, their Turkey Day celebration takes a more health-conscious approach. They hold a pumpkin pie-eating contest, but contestants just have to eat one piece of pie (or about one-sixth of a pie) as fast as possible. There's a 5 kilometer and 10 kilometer "Turkey Day" race afterwards, for those who want to run off excess weight.
And at Pumpkin Palooza -- a pumpkin pie-eating contest in Sparks, Nevada -- the organizers note on their website:
"The winners are chosen by audience applause, so style, flair and humor count as much as anything."
I'm Mary Gotschall.
Mary Gotschall wrote this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
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Words in This Story
turkey – n. a large American bird that is related to the chicken and that is hunted or raised by people for its meat
potatoes – n. a round root of a plant that has brown, yellow, or red skin and white or yellow flesh and that is eaten as a vegetable
cranberry – adj. a small, dark red berry or the plant that produces it
contests – n. an event in which people try to win by doing something better than others
pounds – n. a unit of weight that is equal to 16 ounces or 0.4536 kilograms
ounces – n. a unit of weight equal to ¹/₁₆ pound (about 28 grams)
careening – v. to go forward quickly without control
highway – n. a main road that connects cities, towns, etc.
boxer – n. someone who participates in the sport of boxing
skater – n. a person who skates on ice
limb – n. a leg or arm
dissolve – v. to end or disappear or cause (something) to end or disappear
gluttony – n. the act or habit of eating or drinking too much
kilometer – n. a unit of length equal to 1,000 meters
applause – n. a show of approval or appreciation at a play, speech, sporting event, etc., in which people strike their hands together over and over
flair – n. an unusual and appealing quality or style