Filling Up On Hamantashen


World competitive eating champion Takeru Kobayashi has won awards for downing copious amounts of hot dogs, meatballs, Twinkies, hamburgers and pasta.

Last week, with Purim coming up, he tried his hand at hamantashen.

Actually, both hands.

Kobayashi, winner of the Nathan’s Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest an unprecedented six times in a row and the holder of several Guinness records, needed two hands to hold on to the 30-pound, 200-square-inch holiday pastry with apricot-strawberry filling that was prepared by Brooklyn’s Chiffon Kosher Bakery in conjunction with Jenny Pastries for Kobayashi’s appearance at Yeshiva University. His speech there, under the auspices of the Stern College for Women Chemistry Club, was part of a fundraising event on behalf of Masbia, a nonprofit soup kitchen network and food pantry in New York City.

“I’m a competitive eater but also a foodie,” said Kobayashi, in a discussion of training techniques and health concerns involved in the competitive eating process. “I enjoy food more than the average person. When I’m not competing, I like to focus on the atmosphere, the taste and texture of food, and I eat very small amounts.”

After a question-and-answer session that covered everything from the champion’s favorite foods to the cultural differences between Japanese and American eaters, Kobayashi helped students devour the industrial-strength cookie.

Some 100 people attended the event, asking a wide variety of questions, and sharing bite-sized pieces of the giant hamantasch. Kobayashi didn’t try to consume it all by himself.

And there’s more upcoming hamantaschen news — El Al Israel Airlines will host an Eating Championship here on Purim, Thursday, March 8. First prize is a roundtrip ticket to Israel.

“This championship,” said Todd “The Hungry Genius” Greenwald, chairman of All Pro Eating, who will emcee the event, “will result in the first ever National Hamantashen Eating Record.”