Sure, sure, everybody knows that there’s a female nominee for president. But did you know that another major stride in gender equality was made on Saturday afternoon at the NYC Dumpling Eating Contest?
Here’s how it went down: Jason and I, along with thousands of other dumpling enthusiasts, crammed ourselves into Sara D. Roosevelt Park and watched in astonishment as Molly Schuyler, a competitive eater whose other accomplishments include eating 33 corndogs in eight minutes and 440 chicken wings in 26 minutes, crushed not only every other competitor in the park but also her own previous dumpling world record, eating an incredible 115 dumplings in two minutes. Nearby, an anthropomorphized dumpling named Dumpling Mama (the mascot of the sponsoring company, Chef One) jumped up and down in excitement and clapped her little dumpling hands.
What I found truly shocking about the feat was not the fact that Molly easily outpaced men who were two to three times her size (many competitive eaters are really quite svelte), but that she looked perfectly comfortable after the competition, mugging for the camera and calmly chewing, yes, another dumpling. Her punk rock hairdo was barely mussed. There was none of the puking into a bucket that I witnessed among the top contenders at the Coney Island hot dog eating contest a few years ago.
In other words, she’s pretty much my new hero.
I’ve often wondered (yes, this is the kind of thing I wonder about) how I would fare as a competitive eater. When there is no fetus squashing my internal organs, I can pack in surprising amounts. I think that all I would need to do would be to work on suppressing my impulse to chew and to think of a really kickass nickname, like Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas or Crazy Legs Conti. Shannon “Ravenous Hyena” Leahey? I’ll keep working on it.
I decided that it was best to start training immediately by eating some of the dumplings on offer at the festival and quickly downed about nine with no problem. The kale and vegetable dumplings were particularly delicious. That, however, was before I made the mistake of eating something called a custard bun that was less like a bun and more like a delicate lattice of oil suspended around a core of cream. Jason declared it to be the most fried thing he has ever eaten, and I am inclined to agree. And I have been to the Minnesota State Fair! Twice!
Despite my rookie error, I still harbor fantasies of high-fiving Dumpling Mama after eating a dumpling per second. Don’t count me out for next year, Molly. A girl’s gotta dream.