Sunday, October 02, 2011

Mexicans Set World Record for Inefficiency

In honor of World Tourism Day, the city of Mazatlán celebrated in typical Mexican fashion, by setting a new world record for Largest Shrimp Cocktail - 538 kilos, crushing the previous record of 116 set in Holland.

Shrimp cocktail is pretty easy to prepare, so it seems to us the trick to this record is in coming up with a glass large enough to hold more than half a ton of the stuff. Somewhere in Mazatlán, there's a glass-blower who's about to have a street named after him. But what caught our eye (besides the green crap at the bottom of the glass - wtf??) was this line:

"Preparing it required nine months of work from 80 chefs..."

Seriously? 80 people worked for nine months making shrimp cocktail? Can we break this down a bit? Let's not even assume they worked 40 hours a week non-stop for nine months. In fact, let's say they each worked a mere one hour a week. That's still 37 hours per chef.

Taking the list of ingredients and dividing it by 80, each chef took 37 hours to do the following:

    Peel and cook 16 pounds of shrimp

    Prepare 1.5 pounds of salsa

    Squeeze 4 oz. of lemon juice

    Add a fistful of salt, 4 oz. of Tabasco sauce, and a pinch of pepper.

Salt, Tabasco and pepper are all store-bought commodities. Preparation time, 10 seconds. Squeezing 4 oz. of lemon juice should take, what, a minute, minute and a half? "Salsa" is pretty vague, but shrimp cocktail sauce is basically ketchup, horseradish and the aforementioned lemon juice. Presumably the ketchup and horseradish are store-bought. Prep time to mix together a pound and a half: 3 minutes.

So the preparation time so far is roughly four and a half minutes. But there's no denying that peeling 16 pounds of shrimp is a lot of work. Let's assume they're working by hand and taking breaks because, hey, we've got nine months, right? Five hours. Cooking 16 pounds of shrimp, in a restaurant kitchen? Maybe an hour, tops?

Oh, and the chefs are all Mexican, so assume they showed up an hour late for each step: add four hours.

That's 10 hours, 4 minutes and 30 seconds work per chef.

Can anyone explain to us what took nine months?


Butchy Farnsworth said...

I would like to answer but my head hurts from the math. That they are slackers is indisputable though.

Conan the Librarian said...

My question is: What does 9 month old shrimp smell like?

OK, so that's a rhetorical question.


Nancy said...

Personally the "mess hall" look of the chef pitching a gallon of shrimp into the glass leaves me reeling.

The city has been over the moon excited about this, I would never say such a mean thing as I did above here in town.

Crazy Rita said...

If this is done anything like my school, the idea hangs around for 8.9 months and the actual plan AND implementation begins 5 minutes beforehand.

Paul said...

Hey, lighten up on poor Mazatlan, times are tough here and we need some positive publicity. Apparently the whole thing was eaten in a few hours by hungry (and brave) attendees.

wisethefirst said...

Funny burro!

See link below: Australia sets Bikini parade record.

Mexicans are not the only ones setting inconsequential records.

Amiga del Lorax said...

the pr

which wd have been more exciting if it involved an Evel Knievel style tricycle jump over the lip