Souper Size Me!

I’m still waiting to hear whether Guinness World Records will accept my record attempt for travelling the Mexico City Metro in the quickest time ever. But I keep checking back, and today found another Mexican World Record. The biggest soup ever made…I thought I’d copy and paste the report for your amusement. You can get the recipe on the website, by clicking the reporters name at the bottom!

“The pretty Mexican city of Durango, in the state of the same name, may not sound all that familiar to you, but movie fans would recognize, on the outskirts of town, the flimsy fake-fronted movie sets shot to pieces by the likes of John Wayne in many a western. This week, however, Durango has made its mark on world culture by creating a very real – and very large – bowl of soup… indeed, the largest bowl of soup in the world!

So, why did tears stream down my face when contemplating this mammoth record attempt? Was it the emotional show of support from the thousands of people who turned out to celebrate this super-sized soup? Was it the honour of being treated like a movie star myself by the kind, generous people of this sleepy spot in the desert? Was it the joy of seeing this project – months in the planning – finally reach completion?

Or was it the 530 kg (half a ton) of onions being chopped beside me?

Or did I accidentally rub my eyes while weighing the 182 kg (400 lb) of dried pasado chillies?

Or was the baking noon-day sun simpy burning my retinas out?

Or was I mourning the loss of the 15 or so cows that contributed their meat to the recipe?

Whichever the case, I certainly felt the emotional impact this record had on the city of Durango. At first, it sounds like a simple exercise: make a bowl of soup to beat the current record – a 5,045-litre (1,332-gallon) goulash from Romania. But contemplating just the cooking vessel is a task in itself – where does one find a cooking pot and stove sufficiently large to house enough soup to fill around 70 bath tubs? Let alone the problem of finding the ingredients for the chosen recipe, a chilli-beef soup called caldillo…

The project pulled together the resources of the entire region. A month was spent planning and building the bowl – a UFO-like steel contraption that served as both container and gas cooker; local farmers provided the produce; restaurants put aside their competitive grudges and offered up their chefs; countless volunteers acted as security, servers and cleaners; and local schools put on a day-long variety show.

In the end, everyone pulled it off and created one enormous caldillo measuring 5,350 litres (1,413 gallons). The Municipal President Jorge Herrera Delgado joined me in taking the first sip – after the thumbs-up from the local health authority advisor on-hand to oversee proceedings, of course – and received the official Guinness World Records certificate in front of a queue of thousands desperate to sample the world-beating dish.

More than just a bowl of soup, this project showed to the world that the people of Durango could pull together to achieve anything, said President Delgado. And he has his mind set on a few more Guinness World Records… Watch this space!”

Craig Glenday – 17 July 2007

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