What’s so brilliant about a man eating lots of food?

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What causes three males to sit in a line, mouths gaping – nay, drooling – in dead silence? I bet there are lots of suggested answers to this question, but I am in fact referring to the TV show Man V Food.

In our household this is watched in hushed reverence, with lights turned down and an almost church-like atmosphere in the living room.

In fact, when I do disturb the worship, which I can only do by standing in front of the screen and waving furiously, the looks could turn me to stone.

Man V Food follows a portly young man on his travels across the US of A, taking on various food challenges at local restaurants.

There are three themes to these challenges. The first is man versus a huge quantity of food, usually within a time limit. The second is man versus some extremely hot food, usually with a liquid limit (as in not too much to wash the heat away).

The third is a combination of the first two, which is man versus masses of super hot food.

Nothing much changes from episode to episode. Even the oohing and aahing that comes from the appreciative audience remains the same.

But I can’t quite get to grips with why the whole thing is so compelling that husband, son and dog are glued to the screen. Again and again. Episode after episode.

All that happens is some stuff’s cooked up and the presenter either wins or loses the challenge, but the boys always tune back in for the next show.

And then they talk about it afterwards, the dog woofing softly in appreciation as the girls and I are deluged with the excitement of the show’s host conquering a breakfast burrito (a 6lb, 2ft-long one). Really?

I don’t care, however much the boys try to get me enthused. Women – as far as I know – don’t see eating food as a challenge. When I make a roast it’s not me and the girls who force down another three platefuls. It’s the boys in their quest to burst their stomachs wide open. And then sit on the sofa moaning that they ate too much, until they start noshing again three hours later.