Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I watched the Thanksgiving episode of CSI and thought it was gross, but I had a really hard time reading this article without wrinkling my face and pursing my lips.
Down the Hatch, Then What?: "Thomas said she prefers soft chow, like spaghetti, eggs, and oysters, because they go down easier. At a regional qualifier earlier this year, a potato skin lodged painfully, if briefly, in her throat. A week later, she had to eat through the pain to win the final.

'Maybe women have smaller throats than men,' she speculates.

Stanford's Triadafilopoulos has another theory. When the muscles that line the esophagus initiate swallowing, they alternately relax and contract in a rippling pattern that pushes food downward. It typically takes 9 to 15 seconds for a swallow to convey food to the stomach, he said. This makes the esophagus the real bottleneck in competitive speed eating, with a mouth full of food waiting for traffic to clear in the tunnel.

Some people can relax all those muscles at once, momentarily turning the esophagus into a hollow pipe. 'That's how people in circuses can swallow swords,' Triadafilopoulos said. Some eaters may do the same thing, and literally pour food down the hatch.

'These people have somehow developed the ability, probably through some kind of training, to relax everything at the same time,' he conjectured."

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