The Greatest Contribution to the Culinary Arts: No, this is not a tribute to the doyenne of American cooking known as the French Chef, Julia Child, who died earlier this year. This is a tribute to deep-fried cheesecake. Talk about your haute cuisine. Submerge wedge of fat into boiling fat. Make sure hot fat seeps into every molecule of wedge of fat. Remove wedge of fat from boiling fat. As Julia would say, bon appétit.
Most Scintillating Protest: In late September, demonstrators in England protested against a proposal to ban fox hunting. As part of the protest, several women doffed their tops and plunged into the English Channel. Americans are justly proud of their right to protest, but clearly they still have much to learn from jolly old England.
Most Valuable Advancement in Scientific Knowledge: Swimming in syrup is as easy as swimming in water. (Female English protestors, are you listening?) Edward Cussler of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, led an experiment that included filling a pool full of syrup to see if it took swimmers longer to glide through the glop or the water. The answer? No difference. Next up: Can a person swim as fast in fried cheesecake as in water?
Most Enduring Moment in Competitive Sports: Okay, the New England Patriots waning-seconds victory over the Carolina Panthers with a 41-yard field goal in the Super Bowl was thrilling. And the trouncing of the ego-bloated Los Angeles Lakers by the who-are-these-guys Detroit Pistons in the NBA championship was glorious. But the moment that best epitomizes sport's dig-deep spirit is the 2004 World Hot Dog Eating Championship, when 131-pounder Takeru Kobayashi devoured a record 53.5 hot dogs in 12 minutes. It was his fourth year in a row to win the championship. "He will always be the greatest," says George Shea, cofounder of the International Federation of Competitive Eating. "Women want him, men want to be him, and all forms of beef and beef byproducts fear him." That pretty much says it all.