Mayor Rudy Giuliani With Don “Moses” Lerman at the Matzoh Ball Championship.(Don Lerman)
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Advice from a Jewish Eating Champion

Ahead of a hamantaschen eating contest, Don “Moses” Lerman dished

Adam Chandler
February 22, 2013
Mayor Rudy Giuliani With Don "Moses" Lerman at the Matzoh Ball Championship.(Don Lerman)

On Sunday afternoon, I will embark on my first formal foray into competitive eating. By the grace of God and gluttony, I will be one of the non-professional entrants in the 2nd Annual EL AL Israel Airlines Hamantaschen Eating Championship.

It has long been a dream of mine to win free round-trip airfare to Israel and to be in a country with national healthcare in case I begin to notice symptoms of early onset diabetes. With any luck, Sunday’s event will hasten both!

To prepare for this occasion, I enlisted the advice of Don “Moses” Lerman, who is frequently referenced as a pioneer in the field of competitive eating. Lerman, who is now retired, once ate seven quarter-pound sticks of salted butter in five minutes and housed six pounds of baked beans in less than two minutes. Some of his other accolades include:

• A six-time finalist in Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest (22.25 hot dogs in 12 minutes)
• A record-breaking 12.25 matzoh balls eaten in two minutes and 25 seconds at Ben’s Kosher Deli Matzoh Ball Contest
• Pioneering the water technique
• World records set in bologna, butter, and jalapenos eaten

For an added bonus, here is video of Lerman breaking the world bologna-eating record. (2.76 pounds in six minutes)

*About 2:30 in, he burps and then goes into overdrive*

So I asked Lerman what I should do to prepare for my hamantaschen binge and here’s what the sensei of scarf suggested:

1. Eat as much as I can the day before to expand my stomach
2. Drink one gallon of water, replacing a quart with Gatorade to maintain electrolytes
3. Bring some warm water in a thermos to soften the hamantaschen
4. Don’t focus on the other eaters

Last year’s non-professional winner ate fourteen hamantaschen in five minutes, so that’s the yardstick. I am now drinking water and visualizing myself eating 15 hamantaschen.

I will update everyone on Monday after I bring home the crown.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.

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