Sweet Science of Matzo Ball Eating

In a hotly contested match, Eric Badlands Booker again took the matzo ball title by consuming 30 matzo balls in five minutes, 25 seconds, at the Ruthie & Gussie’s/Empire Kosher Matzo Ball-Eating Championship, which took place at the Friar’s Club in New York City on April 20, 2005.

Finishing second with 24 1/2 matzo balls was Hungry Charles Hardy and Eater X placed third with a notable 24. The results were the subject of controversy after Booker was handed a new bowl of matzo balls before completely finishing his first bowl. While no formal complaints were registered, many believe Hardy could have requested an official administrative review.

The event featured matzo balls from the official “kvetch-proof” Ruthie & Gussie’s recipe cooked in chicken soup made with great tasting Empire Kosher chickens. Initially it was planned to be a 10-minute competition, but officials reduced it to 5 minutes, 25 seconds minutes upon sampling the product.

"Those babies were fast," said a proud Badlands who competed while wearing his iPod headphones. "I was listening to a mix. One Nerfherder tune then into The Show by Slick Rick and Doug E Fresh. With under six minutes you got to pick your contest music very carefully."

"The matzo balls were of a terrific quality and flavor," said Dave Baer, director of global expansion for the IFOCE. "They looked to be very fast and that was proven during the contest. Great numbers posted for just under six minutes."

The eaters were coached by authentic Jewish grandmothers from New York's critically acclaimed Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre, the world's oldest and best-known professional Yiddish theatre. The Folksbiene is now celebrating its 90th consecutive season, and will feature Mandy Patinkin at a benefit at Carnegie Hall on June 16. One of the grandmothers, who was assigned to coach the eye-patch wearing Crazy Legs Conti, left as the contest began reportedly to catch a matinee.