The Author of Pigging Out Provides Junk Food for Thought—Overeating as An Art Form

UPDATED 01/09/1984 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 01/09/1984 at 01:00 AM EST

It's a wonder that David Hoffman doesn't say "sooie" every time he speaks. But then again, he's been too busy stuffing his face with fries, M&Ms, pizza and other junk food to get a word out. Call it research. An L.A. bachelor and children's TV scriptwriter, Hoffman, 30, is the author of The Joy of Pigging Oar (Warner, $4.95), concerning an act that Webster defines as eating greedily, oink oink.

Hoffman was biting into a juicy hot dog at Pink's, a favorite L.A. emporium, when the idea struck to do a hand-to-mouth survey of fulsome eating. "This country is so full of unnatural resources just waiting to be devoured," he says. To seek them out, Hoffman spent four months early last year wandering 25,000 miles around the country and consuming 600,000 calories that added on, briefly, 22 pounds to his normally 142-pound, 5'6" frame. Of his chow-downing days of research he says, "When I think back on what I've seen and tasted of this nation, I just want to weep."

The result is a 164-page state-of-the-art look at a pigger's dream: how to spot a good pig-out place (it's the right glare on a chrome-and-Formica counter and a waitress named Dixie), a 1,000 calorie-a-day diet (Day 8: 111 Life Savers), a directory (best drugstore soda fountain is Dallas' Highland Park Pharmacy; avoid Las Vegas 99-cent breakfasts), and even a brief history of junk food (Wise potato chips were first marketed in 1921).

Although Hoffman claims to admire everything from animal crackers to Whitman's Samplers, his first love is a hamburger. "What makes a burger truly great," he writes, "is simply the combination of fresh meat on the right grill: that wonderful fusion of flavor and grease which is the very heart and soul of perfect pigging."

Hoffman, who grew up in Richmond, Va., is working on plans for a cable-TV special as a sequel to Pigging Out. Now here's a man who really doesn't know when enough is enough.

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