Friday, January 29, 2010

On eating contests

January 29

My old Jewish youth group chapter, Judge Saul Pinchick AZA 6, in Denver, has a Facebook fan page.

That’s not surprising.

Its profile picture is a shot of the members of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity from the movie Animal House, which either shows a certain continuity of culture from when I was in AZA 6, or simply illustrates what a seminal work (the second definition) that film was in creating the vision of a society to which so many fraternal organizations aspire.

When I was president of that chapter, we had a social event called The Food Olympics, that was a series of eating competitions. Being a Jewish youth group, we would say the Hebrew blessing appropriate for the food that we were about to try to eat more of faster than our fraternal brothers. Instead of firing a gun, or shouting "go," or counting down from 3, to signal the start of the competition we would say "amen."

The regional adviser at the time suggested that perhaps we were being sacrilegious — actually, she said it outright and wasn’t very nice about it — and in retrospect she had a point.

But it still won an award at the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization international convention as the best social function of the year.

I think it won in large part because I filled out the application using all the typographical bells and whistles that were available on my family's new MacIntosh 128k computer. It being 1983, unusual shadowed fonts were novelties that likely impressed the judges.

So I was delighted to receive the press release below a few minutes ago — so delighted that I thought I’d write a blog entry about it.

Because Jeff Ackerman was also in AZA 6 at the same time I was.

He didn’t participate in the Food Olympics as he was already Grand Aleph Mazkir (AZA language for international secretary) and didn’t fiddle much with our little chapter activities.

But still, well, I’ll let the press release speak for itself (except to point out that Chair 5 is also the name of a ski lift in Vail, and to note that Jeff graduated from Boston College in 1990):

Qdoba Mexican Grill Spices Up Hockey Beanpot

With Sixth Annual Rice & Bean Pot Burrito-Eating Contest

Local College Students Vie for Coveted Chowing Crown in Preliminary Rounds; Final Showdown Benefits Kevin Youkilis Hits for Kids Foundation

BOSTON – (January 29, 2010) – Winter is heating up thanks to Qdoba Mexican Grill’s spicy sixth annual Rice & Bean Pot Burrito-Eating Contest, scheduled to sate appetites at the Paradise Rock Club on February 10.

In celebration of Boston’s real Winter Classic, the venerable Beanpot College Hockey Tournament, Qdoba Mexican Grill will give students from Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University and Northeastern University the chance to demonstrate their speed — and appetites — as they battle for the coveted Rice & Bean Pot championship title. The high-stakes competition consists of four teams of four students from the Beanpot schools facing off in a speed-eating showdown for ultimate bragging rights and a trip for four to Mexico.

“We’re thrilled to unite our loyal Qdoba customers, sports enthusiasts, local musicians, and hockey fans alike to enjoy a fun-filled night celebrating one of Boston’s most beloved traditions, the Beanpot,” said Jeff Ackerman, President and CEO of local Qdoba franchise Chair 5. “We are overjoyed this year to support our partner Kevin Youkilis and his Hits for Kids Foundation, as we strongly believe in its mission and goals for the youth of Greater Boston and beyond.”

To advance to the final round, teams must win their preliminary round, held on or near their respective campuses on the following days:

Tuesday, February 2, 7 p.m. - Boston College Preliminary Round, Conte Forum (Gate C), Boston College Campus

Wednesday, February 3, 7 p.m. - Northeastern University Preliminary Round, Qdoba Mexican Grill, 393 Huntington Avenue

Thursday, February 4, 7 p.m. - Boston University Preliminary Round, Qdoba Mexican Grill, 961 Commonwealth Avenue

Saturday, February 6, 7 p.m. - Harvard University Preliminary Round, Qdoba Mexican Grill, 1280 Massachusetts Avenue

Teams of four students may register at or by emailing with the names, phone numbers, and email addresses for all team members. The first 25 teams to register will compete in the preliminary competition round.

Tickets for the Rice & Bean Pot finals may be purchased for $10 in advance at or by calling the Paradise Rock Club box office at 617-562-8820. Tickets purchased at the door cost $12.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Kevin Youkilis Hits for Kids Foundation, a charitable organization focused on raising support and awareness for the health, advocacy, safety and well-being of children.

The Rice & Bean Pot also features Qdoba’s Beanpot Battle of the Bands, with bands from BC, BU, Harvard, and Northeastern — all voted into the battle by their respective classmates. Local band Bad Rabbits will headline the event with their soulful dance blend, while WAAF-FM’s morning-show host Greg Hill will serve as the evening’s host.

As part of Qdoba’s support of Kevin Youkilis Hits for Kids Foundation, the fast casual restaurant will offer the baseball star’s personally designed “Youk Burrito,” a chicken queso burrito with a choice of fajita or grilled vegetables, at all Qdoba locations in Massachusetts. A portion of the proceeds from every Youk Burrito will benefit Youkilis’ foundation.

“I’m honored and grateful that Hits for Kids is this year’s Rice & Bean Pot beneficiary,” said Youkilis. "I am personally a huge fan of Qdoba and am thrilled that the restaurant has chosen to support our charity, not only with the Youk Burrito but with this year’s Rice & Bean Pot.”

It goes on for a bit more, but you get the idea.

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