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Now that's a mouthful!

Fastest to get pasta down the hatch wins

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Wrigley (Aug 02/02) - It went against everything Mom always said at the dinner table.

Etiquette was discarded at the spaghetti-eating contest in Wrigley on Saturday afternoon. The rules were simple: wolf down a heaping plate of pasta as fast as possible -- without using your hands.

Dwight Moses, 10, practically inhales his victuals during a spaghetti-eating contest held in Wrigley on Saturday. - Derek Neary/NNSL photo

Contestant Dwight Moses, 10, spent as much time joking with his aunt -- recreation co-ordinator Rose Moses, who organized the competition -- as he did eating.

"It feels weird. It's too cold, Auntie. Will you go heat this up ... Ahhh, who cares?" Moses said before diving into his next face-full of chilled spaghetti.

It wasn't long before he reconsidered.

"Auntie, I give up. This tastes gross," he said.

Rose Moses, who spent an entire afternoon cooking four boxes of spaghetti for the occasion, didn't take any of the comments personally.

The contest drew plenty of interest and an equal serving of laughter as kids took turns getting covered in tomato paste and having pieces of noodles dangle from their noses.

"Oh yes, they enjoy that stuff," said Moses. "You've got to keep them busy."

Remarkably, comparisons between noodles and worms were kept to an absolute minimum on Saturday.

Equally remarkable, despite dining so swiftly, nobody lost their lunch.

"Don't gag," Rose Moses encouraged one contestant who was looking a little queasy. After quickly polishing off a plate, seven-year-old Jerry ten Brinke said he may not ask for spaghetti again soon, but it will remain acceptable on his menu.

"I still will (eat it)," he said. "I got used to it, but there are onions in it."

The kids walked away with video cassettes, tape cassettes and packages of Pokemon cards as prizes.

The biggest winner of the day may very well have been a loose dog that gobbled up the leftovers.

He was surely the fastest eater overall, but he declined comment.