The Year in Food 2008

The Year in Food 2008

Olympic Appetites

That Darn Penis Restaurant

It’s difficult to prove, but it seems likely that the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games received roughly equal to or slightly less coverage than Beijing’s now world-infamous Guolizhuang penis restaurant. Not since the premiere of Deep Throat ... what’s that? Rein it in? OK, just the facts. Go to Guolizhuang and order lovingly prepared deer, snake, yak, horse, seal, and/or duck wangs, among others. Eat them. Gain strength! Improve the quality of your skin! And, most important, finally look Andrew Zimmern in the eye and say: “Andrew Zimmern, I have risen to your level.” —James Norton

Michael Phelps Miracle Diet Found to Work Only for Michael Phelps

While many Americans failed once again to lose weight on the latest diet, it was revealed that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps gorges himself on 12,000 calories a day. To reach his astonishing intake during Olympic competition, Phelps routinely breakfasted on a five-egg omelet, three slices of French toast, three chocolate-chip pancakes, and a bowl of grits—all at one sitting. Lunch was a pound of pasta, two large ham-and-cheese sandwiches, and 1,000 calories of energy drinks. Dinner? Another pound of pasta and an entire pizza, washed down with more energy drinks. As Phelps gamely ate—and swam—his way to eight gold medals, Pizza Hut offered to feed him and his team for a year, and Fox News actually soft-peddled the story with its headline “Michael Phelps’ 12,000 Calorie-a-Day Diet Not for Everyone.”
—Traci Vogel

Ordering Out for Chinese Misses the Point

After months of incessant Chinese food-safety scandals, a single worry crystallized in the heads of Olympic organizers everywhere: Would eating zha jiang noodles kill their athletes? What followed was farce. The USOC announced that it would import 25,000 pounds of protein to Beijing. In response, China pointed out that foreign athletes were technically banned from bringing food into the Olympic Village, which then caused Australia to panic about its athletes’ access to Vegemite. When American distance runner Shalane Flanagan did come down with food poisoning, it turned out to be a good thing: Her husband credited the forced rest that accompanied the illness with restoring her vigor and helping her win the bronze. —Nicholas Day