Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Good Bye, FatMan and Catfish Frying and Racing in Tennessee

Good Bye, FatMan !
For those of you who may have followed or occasionally read Fat Man Seoul, a blog about a Foodie's journey through Korean cuisine, it should come as sad news that FatMan ended his Korean saga with Saturday's blog post. He is moving on, leaving Korea, and setting off on new adventures. At this time, he has no plans for a new blog.

I always liked (and identified with) this statement from FatMan's "About Me" blurb:

"Some people eat to live. some live to eat. I belong to the latter, and it shows . . . at all the anatomically wrong places !"

We will miss you, FatMan.

Interested in the food of Korea? You can still read old posts of Fat Man Seoul here until next year.

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Perhaps FatMan is on his way to Paris, Tennessee, in my quest to bring you news of Food Events from across the nation (maybe even the world), I've found we've already missed the first day of The World's Largest Fish Fry , held there every April. There's still plenty of time to enjoy this event, though, as it continues through Sunday.

Dating back to 1961 when the Jaycees took over the one-day Fish Fry from the Chamber of Commerce, the event has grown to an entire week and includes a myriad of activities. In addition to a daily $10 all-you-can-eat meal in the Fish Tent, there's a carnival, a cowboy rodeo, arts & crafts show, Grand Parade and, later, a Small Fry Parade and fishing rodeo for the kids. The two most noted events, however, are the Hushpuppy Eating Contest and the Catfish Races.

The winner of the Hushpuppy Eating Contest is the person (18 or over) who eats the most hushpuppies in 3 minutes or who is the first to finish the allotted 30 hushpuppies. When finished, they must stand up and clearly shout "Done" to prove their mouth is empty. The official application for the contest specifically states no "yupping, or otherwise losing the contents of one's stomach" is not allowed (Duh!!!) and will be grounds for disqualification.

The most noted event is the "Catfish Races" which are preceded by the spectacle of "tall tales storytelling." Sponsors of each fish in the races vies for honors by telling a tall tale of how their fish came to be considered for the race or how their fish was named. The wilder the tale, the more likely they are to win a plaque proclaiming their storytelling prowess, a gift certificate from a local merchant and bragging rights as a storyteller. Anyone can sponsor a fish for $25 and one can elect to have a handler or wrangle their entry themselves. Either way, these fish will NOT be part of dinner in the Fish Tent. A side business of selling caps, T-shirts and aprons specific to the race has sprung up in recent years and business sponsors have even been known to field cheerleading teams for their fish!

By the end of the Fish Fry on Sunday, over 5 tons (10,000 lbs.) of fish will have been served and over 100,000 folks will have visited some area of the festival.

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