It's huge; it's gastronomic

RECENTLY there was an item coming out of Chicopee, Mass., to the effect that someone there smoked up a kielbasa weighing 412 pounds. It was 26 feet, 3 inches long, too, which must have been a tight fit if it was done in somebody's kitchen. A sausage this size may not set any kind of world record, but I suspect it is the biggest sausage ever to come out of Chicopee. The question always rises in my mind how anyone eats something like this. Or maybe more to the point, who eats something like this? It's not something you just put on a plate. It has to be on something like a flat car. Or at least on a dozen or so kitchen tables.

I suppose consuming a sausage this size isn't as big a problem as I imagine. Probably 300 hungry Polish Chicopeeans could do it. I don't happen to know how many Poles live in Chicopee, but there must be more than a few to think up a stunt like this, and they all must have lively appetites.

It isn't that I am putting down big kielbasa. I like a bit of kielbasa now and then, although it would be an average helping on an average plate. It is great stuff with crisp bread, or even with eggs. But faced with more than 400 pounds of it, I'm not sure I would be able to swallow.

Another thing. Kielbasa is not only famous for its flavor but for its garlic content, and this adds another dimension to this equation.

I have been in a compact car where only three other people had imbibed garlic and I thought I wasn't going to make it to the next spoken sentence.

But 300 people? All carrying on within an invisible vapor of garlic?

However, I am sure this titanic sausage event will have its good results. If I am ever driving through Massachusetts and get the hankering for some kielbasa, I will head for Chicopee just like everyone else who may have read the news item.

By this time, I am sure, kielbasa will be a normal size, on a normal plate, in a normal restaurant, served by a smiling Polish chef who remembers his day of glory.

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