I thought this was interesting since my first recollection of Tarnopolsky was with chocolate milk and eating within 30 min (2 hr max) of workouts. http://www.slb-coaching.com/trainingInformation.asp?Id=69
Some googling turns up the fact that he's lactose intolerant. http://tinyurl.com/5j8nbz
“Very few aids are worthwhile for a recreational athlete, Tarnopolsky says”.
But, yes, real food is fairly common in longer endurance events, esp. if supported. How long can someone eat gels? I'm curious as to what Karl Meltzer is planning to eat on his AT speed record attempt. I think he mostly uses gels in 100 milers, but not sure. Unsupported runs may find time-capsule-suitable food convenient.