There’s Chanucah bingeing, then there’s 46-latke Pete

By Simon Round, December 23, 2008

The beginning of Chanucah on Sunday has prompted the start of the do-something-silly-with-latkes season, with eating contests, an attempt to fry the country’s largest potato pancake and even a bid to cook a latke in a solar powered oven.

In New Jersey, a 6ft 2in Canadian bodybuilder, “Furious” Pete Czerwinski, blitzed allcomers to win the National Potato Latke Eating Championships.

Czerwinski, the Tiger Woods of competitive eating, powered his way through 46 of them (plus apple sauce), weighing a staggering 7lb, to take the trophy and the $300 prize — not a huge reward for his efforts, although there was an “as many as you can eat” offer on the latkes. Back in the UK, chefs at Nightingale House care home produced what is claimed to be one of the largest haimishe potato pancakes ever to be fried in this country. The gargantuan pancake measured more than 1ft in diameter.

Nightingale residents will have consumed 700 doughnuts and 800 latkes during Chanucah, according to their spokesperson, although the home would need to produce considerably more should Mr Czerwinski decide to visit.

Meanwhile, the Nightingale latke was dwarfed by one cooked in Newport Beach, California in a solar-powered oven.

Harnessing the rays of the sun, the 3ft pancake was one of a number of green Chanucah gestures cooked up by Californians — a completely recycled menorah was also produced by a southern California synagogue.

    Last updated: 6:48pm, December 23 2008