What could be better than a pepperoni roll?
Maybe getting to sample the world’s largest one.
And that is entirely possible if a special West Virginia University baking project goes according to plan.
Bakers will begin tomorrow crafting 2-foot sections for a giant pepperoni roll that will be 70 feet long when it’s finished and pieced together.
So how long is that?
Long enough to stretch end to end through the student union building in downtown Morgantown.
“We chose that length to help celebrate the fact that this is the 70th anniversary of Mountaineer Week,” said coordinator Sonja Wilson.
Plans call for transporting it from Evansdale to the Mountainlair on Oct. 22, then it will be sliced up for the public the following day.
It’s all part of this year’s Mountaineer Week (Oct. 20-29) that will once again help folks (students as well as the public) better appreciate state culture and history.
There’s no doubt pepperoni rolls are important on both counts.
Miners first carried them into dangerous, dirty underground coal mines to eat.
A long time later, this baked good’s fame has spread and folks other places most often associate them with the Mountain State.
Local bakeries, especially in Fairmont and Clarksburg, still churn them out to hungry, adoring customers.
It’s the same thing on campus, said pastry chef and bakery manager Vickie Van Pelt of Cafe Evansdale.
Some are baked to be served in dining halls, others are sold in the school’s cash operations.
Say, 300-350 per batch.
“We make’em five days a week. They are that popular. In fact right now we are having a hard time keeping up with the demand.”
Of course pepperoni rolls originated in Fairmont, and they are still a big deal around here, she said.”
But this project is a different story.
Bigger is definitely better.
University officials are hoping it will be big enough to be included in the Guinness Book of World Records.
They are awaiting confirmation that a representative from that organization will be present to confirm the new record.
In the meantime, Van Pelt and four other co workers are busy getting started on the super-sized baking project.
And that includes having enough of the necessary ingredients.
Even commercial ovens can only handle so much, and that’s why this baking is being broken up into approximately 2-foot-long sections.
Each of those sections will require three pounds of dough.
“So you are looking a 105 pounds of dough, and lots of pepperoni. I’m not even sure how much it will take to fill it up, but probably at least couple of pounds in each section too,” she said.
Possibly setting a world record makes this much work especially meaningful.
“We’re real excited about it. This is fun for us to do.”
Since the annual event is free and open to the public, pepperoni roll lovers have lots to be excited about and might want to spend Sunday there.
Author Candace Nelson will be selling and autographing her book “The West Virginia Pepperoni Roll” at the Mountainlair, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A pepperoni roll contest will be held the same day, noon to 3 p.m.
At that time, local restaurants will compete for the honor of best pepperoni roll.
Beginning at noon Monday, Oct. 23, anyone who’s hungry can stop by to “grab a piece of our favorite unofficial state food,” according to the event schedule.