Too much happening and too little time to write about it – that has most definitely been the pattern in Daily Spud land of late. Among other things, your intrepid spud reporter has just spent ten days in Canada, with a great number of stories – potato and otherwise – to be related from there in due course. But first, I bring you some record breaking boxty news…
Gloriously big and gloriously bonkers.
That’s what I thought when news reached my ears last Thursday that plans were afoot in Carrick on Shannon to break the record for the world’s biggest (or rather, heaviest) potato pancake. I’ll admit that I didn’t know such a record officially existed (but, according to the Guinness Book of Records it does, covering all regional variations of potato pancake, of which there are many) and, up to last Friday at least, it had stood at a rather hefty 200kg – which is a lot of pancake in anyone’s book.
The organisers of the Carrick Carnival – and chief among them Chef Sham Hanifa of the charming Cottage Restaurant in Jamestown, Co. Leitrim – decided that they wanted to go several kilos better than that by (as you do) making a supersized batch of boxty, Leitrim’s local take on the potato pancake. Sham, in turn, enlisted the help of Mr. Leitrim Boxty himself, Pádraic Óg Gallagher of Gallagher’s Boxty House, to assist in the construction of a true boxty behemoth.
And so it was that last Friday, I took myself off to the northwest and to a covered area beside the quay in Carrick on Shannon, where potatoes were being peeled, grated, mashed and mixed on a grand scale. This is how the record attempt went down.
The boxty boys: Paddy Fitzgerald, Pádraic Óg Gallagher & Sham Hamifa
Large quantities of everything required:
140kg potatoes – half grated raw & half cooked & mashed – mixed with 100kg flour, 80l milk, 80l water and 1kg salt. Large quantities of volunteers also required for spud peeling duty.
The lads busy at their boxty-making work:
for the record to be valid, all prep had to be done on the day and the entire proceedings recorded on camera; the resulting pancake also – importantly – had to be edible
Specially constructed for the purpose:
a 4.25m x 2.75m wheelable pan – oiled and lined with parchment paper and poured with boxty batter – accompanied by a similarly sized container for burning coals underneath.
Tricky to regulate the heat from the burning coals, hence much turning and wheeling of the pan on and off of the heat during the approx. 90 minutes that it took before the boxty was declared cooked
Much inspecting of progress during the cooking time
Et voilà: Padráic Óg Gallagher displays some finished boxty product
That pancake ain’t gonna lift itself:considerable mechanical assistance required to hoist the pan so that the boxty therein could be weighed.
A hefty load alright, at 500kg+ for the pancake + pan. Adjusting for the pan weight, the boxty clocked in at around 265kg and – subject to official verification by the Guinness Book of Records folks – the biggest the world’s ever seen by some 65kg, in fact.
a bit scorched, yes – and so would you be if you’d spent that amount of time over hot coals – but edible nonetheless and record breaking too