Tuesday, June 12, 2007

You are what you eat - brachot and competitive eating

I am going to begin teaching the laws of brachot from next week, both at Shapells and at Midreshet Rachel (and I just found out in the middle of writing this that I'll be teaching a bekiyus shiur of gemara brachos - the 7th perek). Brachot is by far the most complicated halachic area that I teach, and it is quite unfair that it is one of the most basic areas of halacha, which even kids are expected to know how to keep.
One of the many difficulties is to know what bracha to say on which food, a problem exacerbated by the complex food production techniques - we don't even know what we are eating some of the time! Not to mention what is the main component and what is secondary. Life would be so much simpler if we just ate simple foods that were prepared at home.

Random thoughts- Do they have meaning?: What The World Eats has a link to a wonderful little photo essay showing what different peoples in different countries eat (and how much they spend on food a week). Wouldn't life be simpler if we spent only $5 a week of food and ate more healthily. The essay is here - well worth a look: Time photo essay

At the other extreme we have 'achila gassa' which is eating not for enjoyment or pleasure but just to stuff food in. This kind of eating does not require a bracha at all. But did you know there are world rankings for 'competitive eating'? Number 1 in the world is Takeru Kobayashi.

He competed against a kodayak bear for goodness sake!!!

But June 2nd was a significant date (apart from being my birthday) because he was finally beaten then (last week in fact). He was beaten by an American called Joey Chestnut. He ate 59 hotdogs in 12 minutes!!!

If you are really up to it you can watch a clip of him here:

Bon Apetit!

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