The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will attempt to break the world record for the largest serving of salsa on Friday.
The university aims to prepare more than 7,500 pounds of salsa made from local produce. The dish will include 7,000 pounds of tomatoes, 600 pounds of onions, 20 pounds of jalapeno peppers, 375 bunches of cilantro, and 70 gallons of lime juice.
The current record holder is Asociación de Productores del Tomates de Los Palacios in Spain, which made 5,868 pounds of salsa on 15 June 2013.
Associate Director of Housing Kirsten Ruby said the U of I’s dining staff will prepare the salsa in the middle of their football stadium.
“What people will see will be a large vessel on the field of Memorial Stadium,” Ruby said, “The vessel is probably about six feet tall and maybe six or seven feet wide. So when you look at it, you may not think that that is something that will be containing 748,000 calories but that is what it will take to break the record.”
The record attempt is part of a university tradition that dates back to 2011, when organizers prepared the world’s largest smoothie for new students. The university broke another record the following year for the most number of people husking corn in one location.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Renee Romano said these events give their students a taste of life at the University of Illinois.
“The students say things to one another, like, what did you do your year?” Romano said, “We did salsa, or we did shucking corn. It makes them feel a part of a tradition.”
The record attempt is being made in conjunction with the new student convocation. Kirsten Ruby said they expect 8,000 people at the event. The salsa will be weighed on Friday, but students will only be able to taste this tangy part of their university’s history the following day.
Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him @jclee89.