Alright, so it's not profound. But the numbers are interesting. A quick Google search turns up the following stats:
- At the last Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, probably the most famous of these events in the U.S., champion eater Joey Chestnut ate 68 hot dogs and buns ("HDB" in the lingo) in 10 minutes.
- One Nathan's hot dog is 309 calories, and a bun from Better Burger is about 110 calories. That's a total of 419 calories per HDB. (Note: I have no idea what kind of buns Nathan's uses in their contests; I just found a bun at random at the above site.)
- The average caloric intake of a Somali in 1988 was 1,736 calories per day, according to one site I found. Another pegged the number at 1,555 calories per day a decade later, in 1999. In Somali refugee camps, the intake may be as low as 1,300 calories per day.
Incidentally, of those 1,555 calories a Somali eats, only 621 come from "animal products" (which I presume includes milk, eggs and the like). If we give hot dogs the benefit of the doubt and consider them animal products, those 68 hot dogs add up to about 21,012 calories, which is just over one months' worth of animal-derived calories for a Somali.
Of course, our mothers' plea to think of the starving kids in Africa who would just love that broccoli is bogus; corruption is probably the biggest plight in Africa, and the question of how to send aid is a difficult one. Still, I couldn't help thinking, as I saw the clip of so many people desperately eating all they could in a few minutes, that anybody who's ever experienced true starvation would be absolutely aghast at the sight.
Updated Nov 29, 2009: Found the nutritional content of Nathan's hot dogs specifically, and updated the numbers.