The First-Ever Eating Contest in Orange County History?

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Flickr user abbynormy
Note: not a historical photo from that original contest, but most definitely the same espirit de corps...
I'm deep in the archives in doing the research for my book--that Roosevelt chap from New York sure might make a good running mate for McKinley!--and all sorts of historical ephemera have passed through my microfilm-burned eyeballs, but I do believe I've discovered the first-ever documented eating contest in Orange County history.


From the April 11, 1885 issue of the Los Angeles Times:

One of the queerest and most hotly-contested contests of which we have any authentic account occurred in a saloon at the corner of Los Angeles and Center streets [Gustavo note: this would now be the corner of Anaheim Boulevard and Lincoln Street, and that saloon no longer exists; that area is either now the Muzeo, Higenfeld Mortuary, a branch of the Anaheim Public Library, or an Arco station] one evening last week. The contestants were a Frenchman and two Americans, whose names we withhold from print out of consideration for the feelings of their families and friends, and the point at issue was to see which of the three could eat the greatest amount of raw garlic at "one sitting," to decide a bet.

The winner was one of the Americans, who the reporter felt "must have stowed away over three pounds. He will have to bury himself for three weeks in order to get rid of the smell, or else he will have to remove outside of the town limits."

So for those of you who live for that 24th taco, that eight cheeseburger, that big batch of Nutella, rejoice: you will barf on the shoulders of giants!

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