Watching This Show Makes Me VERY Hungry

One of my recent television discoveries was purely accidental.  I was flipping through the satellite guide a few weeks back and saw a show called Man vs. Food running a marathon on the Travel Channel.  I wasn’t sure what the show was, but the title was intriguing enough, so I flipped over to it.  Needless to say, I was hooked, and I’ve now made it a point to try to catch as many of the reruns of the show’s most current season (its 2nd) whenever possible.  Tonight, Man Vs. Food will be live from Miami and the Super Bowl with a two-hour special, on the Travel Channel at 9:00 ET, and I’ll be one of the ones watching.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the show before, the premise is pretty simple: host Adam Richman (an actor who has two qualities necessary for a show like this — extensive culinary experience and a hearty appetite) travels around the country, sampling popular local dishes at restaurants, diners, and other eating establishments. We’re not talking about high-brow dishes either — no, the choices on this show’s menu are all American classics: pizza, hamburgers, steaks, chili, sandwiches, and more, often coming with unique compositions or constructions.

The highlight of every show is a local “eating challenge” at one of the local establishments in the host city for that week, where Richman tackles a dish that’s often larger than what I manage to put away in a whole day’s worth of eating.   I’ve seen the host tackle 12-pound hamburgers, 12-inch, 22-pound stuffed pizzas, a 74-ounce steak challenge, and foods made with multiple Naga Jolokia peppers, certified as the hottest peppers in the world (so hot, that not only are they rated with an intensity of more than 100 times that of Tabasco sauce, they’re also smeared on fences in India to keep away wild elephants).

As much as I love burgers, I can't even fathom putting this down in one sitting

The eating challenges are absolutely staggering in their size and intensity.  Normally, I’m not a fan of anything that even resembles competitive eating — there’s something unsettling to me about watching one person plow through a ton of food, while knowing how many people in the world still go hungry every day — but Richman is admittedly not a competitive eater (along the lines of a Joey Chestnut).  The challenges themselves, while huge helpings of food, aren’t impossible for the heartiest appetites to overcome.  And boy, do they all look tasty — at some point in the episodes I’ve seen, invariably, I find myself heading to the fridge.

After now seeing most of the episodes of the show’s two seasons, I’ve made a note to myself to check out some of the establishments spotlighted the next time I’m in any of the cities that have been featured (for the regular dishes, and not any of the monster challenges, of course).  The Man vs. Food episode tonight will see Richman tackle a 48 ounce Steak Challenge.  While it’s probably safe to say that none of the dishes you see on the show are the healthiest options for a person’s diet, if you a fan of good food as a guilty pleasure, this show is pretty easy to consume.

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