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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

The Perfect Eating Machine

November 2, 2015

There was absolutely nothing I wanted to watch on any of the 700 channels I receive as a part of my television viewing package. Nevertheless, I kept a death grip on the remote and continued to flip through channels, mindlessly, hopeful that something would catch my interest. Somewhere in the 200s a program on one of those nature channels seemed familiar. I passed it at first, but then flipped back and stared at a pack of hungry wolves in what looked like the deep woods of the American Northwest. They were tearing into some type of animal they had just stalked and killed.

It was a free-for-all. The wolves were snapping at each other and ripping the flesh off of some poor critter that wasn’t fast enough, or smart enough, to snub Mother Nature’s inevitable plan of natural selection. It was a very violent and bloody scene. There was a lot of growling and yelping and general mayhem. I was struck with a quick case of déjà vu and wondered if I had seen the show before, even though that type of programming is not a part of my viewing habits. It wasn’t until I switched to the 600 level channels in search of football that I realized— I had never seen that show before. My perceived memory wasn’t of wolves tearing up a carcass, but of my 14-year old son and his teenage friends ripping open boxes of pizza, and not in the Great Northwest, but in my kitchen a few days earlier.

Seriously, teenage boys are their own unique breed. Sharks might be the “perfect eating machine” in the ocean. But on dry land nothing can come close to the sheer volume and ferocity of a teenage boy in front of a plate of food.

My son has always been an eater. When he was in a high chair, his mother and I developed a feeding method we called the “two-spoon technique.” One of us had a spoon of baby food in his mouth while the other was dipping their spoon into the baby food container. The continual motion towards the mouth is what had to be done to keep him from screaming for more. We actually became very fast and efficient at the two-spoon technique, though as he grew he adopted the two-spoon technique on his own.

Parents are told to save money for college, as no one wants expenses as important as tuition to catch them off guard. Though NO ONE ever advises the parent of an infant boy to start saving money for the inevitable and immense food fund in years 12-21.

As a 10-year old he was kind of a husky fellow. But then puberty joined the party, a megadose of naturally occurring hormones kicked in, and the boy grew eight inches in one year without gaining a pound. The perfect eating machine is now halfway to 15-years old, six feet tall, 190 pounds, with about 7% body fat.

There is no way I ate like that when I was a teenager. The boy and his friends can consume an obscene amount of groceries in one sitting. My son’s friend Ian’s mother purchased enough groceries to last her family for two weeks and those two knuckleheads ate half of it in one sitting. I wish I was exaggerating.

Last week I took my son and two of his friends on a road trip to Baton Rouge to tour the #2 haunted house in America. During the five hours spent— there-and-back— in the car, three boys ate three large pizzas, an entire jar of peanut butter, a quart of milk, a push pop, a large bag of Chex Mix, two chocolate almond bars, a large bag of M&Ms, and an obscenely giant Rice Krispie Treat that was— I am not lying— the size of two large carry-out pizza boxes. They also drank six energy drinks. All of this after my son had eaten eight chicken strips, two spicy chicken sandwiches, and two pizza sticks (whatever that is) at school during his lunch period.

 Despite what you have just read in the previous paragraph, my son is typically a very healthy low-fat, low-carb, high-protein eater. Something happens when they gather in packs and the early-male, hunter-gatherer gene that ruled man’s makeup for hundreds of thousands of years kicks in. Though unlike ancient man, this boy knows he’s got a “next meal” coming. That doesn’t stop the wolf and his pack from tearing apart a pizza carcass.

 My son’s friend Tanner is legendary among the pack. Last year during a lunch break at their football camp he annihilated nine pieces of pizza, eight peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, two country fried steaks, two plates of French fries, and some ham, corn and greens. True story. There were witnesses. He is the Alfa male hunter-gatherer and is held in great esteem among his fellow wolf pack.

My son has the metabolism of a hummingbird. I guess I did, too at that age. Though when he reaches his mid thirties he’ll have to slow down, and permanently mothball the two-spoon feeding method. In the meantime, I’m off to the bank to pay another installment for the teenager eating fund.

RSJ’s Comeback Sauce

2 cups              Mayonnaise

1 cups              Ketchup

1 cup               Chili sauce

1 cup               Canola Oil

1                      Large Onion, diced

1 /3 cup           Lemon juice, freshly squeezed

4 Tbl                Garlic, minced

2 Tbl                Paprika

2 Tbl                Water

2 Tbl                Worcestershire

1 Tbl.               Pepper

2 tsp                 Dry mustard

2 tsp                 Salt

Puree all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Allow to sit overnight in refrigerator before use.

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