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Norwegian Olympic team tries to order 1,500 eggs, ends up with 15,000 instead

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Surely, keeping your country's Olympic athletes — with their famously voracious appetites — well fed throughout the Games in South Korea is no easy feat.

That might explain a recent culinary crackup: Chefs from the Norwegian team ended up with 15,000 eggs instead of the requested 1,500, thanks to a scrambled order.

The mistake apparently came courtesy of Google Translate, which the cooks used to fill out their ingredient list. Somehow, their request for 1,500 eggs was lost in translation, and the chefs received 10 times what they wanted. Every one of the 109 Norwegian athletes would have to eat more than seven eggs each day of the Olympics to use up the supply.

(The Guardian helpfully offered one linguistic theory to explain the mix-up: “South Korea also has a complex counting system, which employs different systems for different purposes. It is common for restaurants to buy eggs by the crate in multiples of 30 in South Korea, but changing one syllable would mean the difference between 1,500 and 15,000.")

Speaking to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, chef Stale Johansen said his team “received half a truckload of eggs.” There was “no end to the delivery,” he said. It was “absolutely unbelievable.”

One might even say the chefs have egg on their faces.

At a news conference (!) about the egg deluge, Tore Ovrebo, the head of the Norwegian team, said the whole thing was “no big deal.”

“It was an extra zero on the orders,” he explained.

The story has a sunny-side-up ending (unless, of course, you're an athlete hoping to subsist on a daily diet of omelets for breakfast, lunch and dinner). The chefs were able to return the 13,500 extras to the grocer. They're planning to offer their athletes a little more variety, with tacos and salmon also on the menu.

It's one of the many difficulties of cooking for hungry people burning many thousands of calories during one of the most stressful stretches of their lives.

“The biggest challenge is that we will be serving food almost round-the-clock,” Johansen said. “We have both skiers and biathlon here, so there will be food from half-past 7 in the morning and until almost 2 a.m. at night. I know what they like and what they don't like.”