Ainsley's new TV obsession is Man V. Food. This is what she wants to watch on weekends too wet to play outside and at night while we're all winding down for bed. I don't blame her; it's as addictive as a Chipotle burrito.
I am all for kids developing an interest in food that goes beyond "What toy came with my 4-piece-nugget Happy Meal?". I love that Ainsley has started to want to cook with me and that we have gotten her to eat a pretty wide variety of food and can take her to almost any restaurant. I don't know how I feel, though, about her declaration, probably Man V. Food inspired, that someday she want to take the "Blazin' " challenge at Buffalo Wild Wings.
From a kid whose one area of food pickiness is spicy heat, it seems a daunting task. But who am I to doubt? Someday she could very well make me cry joyful tears of pride as she polishes off a dozen wings spun in a sauce approximately as corrosive to your pipes as Liquid Drano and gets her name on a plaque and wins a commemorative t-shirt. The sports world is full of stories of athletes who beat the odds; why should the competitive eating world be any different? A little girl who complains when I put too much black pepper in the macaroni and cheese could someday pull off a victory in the ultimate challenge of Girl V. Wing.
She took down one food challenge today that she's been wanting to conquer for a while: she ate her first foot-long sub from Subway. Not quite the whole thing, but almost (as she cleaned up after herself in my library, she informed me she had two inches left.) More than I ate, certainly. And more than anyone as skinny as she is should be able to eat. I have no idea where 10 inches of sub went as she has a long and lean frame like her father.
I kept telling her this was not a challenge, and that she could take whatever she didn't eat to her Mamaw's later, and to not bust a gut, but she's been wondering for months now if eating a foot-long sub is a possible task for a kid her age. Ah, the power of commercials and catchy jingles. She had a two-hour swim and dive practice this morning and, like Michael Phelps, needed fuel to replace the calories lost from hours of freestyle and butterfly. Hunger and too many hours with Adam Richman over the course of a stormy weekend convinced her today was the day to take down a huge ham-and-cheese sandwich. I don't know whether to be alarmed by her gluttony or impressed by her tenacity.
I've been waiting for Ainsley to develop a competitive streak; Jason and I are both fairly competitive people who push ourselves pretty hard, but Ainsley has always been laid back. Unlike me, she doesn't beat herself up or compare herself to other people. During last year's swim and dive team, Ainsley hopped out of the water after most heats not even winded, not even too concerned with what place she came in. The times that she won, she gave a brief "Yay!" and then became more concerned with Dippin' Dots. When she lost by a mile, she gave a brief, "Awww," and then (you guessed it) wondered out loud about the Dippin' Dots.
Huh. Maybe this recent obsession with food isn't so surprising after all. I guess it's always come back to the Dippin' Dots.
So long as she doesn't make foot-long ham subs (no toppings on it because, as she so wisely put it, "You don't need toppings on a foot-long. That would just be crazy.") every day, I guess I am okay with her having a competitive eating streak. And for aspiring to eat some blazing chicken wings someday. So long as she's a healthy and active kid, her being mildly obsessed with the feats of Man V. Food is okay with me.
After all, another goal she talks about all the time is how she wants to be on T.V. someday. And Adam Richman will, eventually, need a replacement.