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Carl vs. Pancake: Pancake Wins

May 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm
By Margaret Taylor '10

Culinary House may have overestimated Carls’ abilities to eat pancakes.  Last weekend, the house held a pancake-eating contest inspired by the travel channel show “Man vs. Food.”  The show’s host travels the country taking on the eating contests of regional restaurants.  Culinary House’s challenge for Carleton: who can be the first team of three to down eighteen pancakes between them?

Because eating contests bear the risk of, well, being sick, entrants had to sign a waiver that they wouldn’t hold Culinary House responsible for anything that might happen.  Four teams registered for the event and assembled in Sayles on Sunday afternoon.  House residents passed out trays swiped from the dining hall, syrup, napkins, and most importantly, water.  Six pancakes per person may not sound like that daunting a task.  But that was before anybody saw what these pancakes looked like.

When the Culinary House members took the pancakes out of the baskets they’d used to transport them and set them onto trays for each team, some of the contestants seemed daunted.  Each pancake was about plate-sized.  “These aren’t pancakes.  These are like, gelatinous, neverending pieces of dough,” said one contestant.  Another: “This is like the size of my pillow.”

The timer started and the race was on.  The teams adopted different strategies for maximum pancake-eating efficiency.  One team debated syrup versus no syrup.  One the one hand, syrup could lubricate the pancakes, but it could also make you more thirsty.  They opted to ditch the syrup, and went for a standing up and rolling the pancake into a roll technique.  Another team was more civilized, eating the pancakes with knife and fork.

Twenty minutes into the contest, enthusiasm seemed to be flagging.  All the teams were slowing down, and still there were pancakes left on the trays.  Culinary House removed three pancakes from each tray, but still it was not enough.  Two of the teams were eventually forced to quit.  The students of Culinary House decided to call the contest even though nobody had actually conquered the pancakes.  They counted the pancakes left on the two remaining teams’ trays and gave the win to the one that had gotten the closest.  It was a near tie – three pancakes left over for the winning team, versus 3 ½ left for the runners-up.

The winners were Carly Wordelman ’12, Robert Daniels ’12, and Steven Aviram ’12.  These three students get custom Carl vs. Pancake aprons and eternal glory.  And Culinary House would like to issue an apology to all of the contestants.  “We’re really sorry the amount of pancakes was so absurd.”