Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Great Eater Of Kent

Competitive eating has grown into a mainstream spectator sport with professional eating contests offering big prizes. But long before Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest began on Coney Island in 1972 there was The Great Eater of Kent.

Nicholas Wood, The Great Eater of Kent, here eating a duck.
RACCOONISH/PUBLIC DOMAIN

Nicholas Wood may be one of the earliest examples we have of a true competitive eater. Story has it that English poet John Taylor saw Wood devour some 60 eggs, a good portion of a lamb, and a handful of pies at an Inn in Kent. Taylor was so astounded by the man's monstrous appetite that he became Wood’s representative.  He wrote a pamphlet, called The Great Eater, of Kent, or Part of the Admirable Teeth and Stomach Exploits of Nicholas Wood, of Harrisom in the County of Kent His Excessive Manner of Eating Without Manners, In Strange and True Manner Described.

Read more: Atlas Obscura

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