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Set the following config options. It's better to do it this way, so you can keep a record of the config file. There's no reason to edit the Makefiles, or set CC on your own.
General setup -> Check "Optimize for size" (CONFIG_CC_OPTIMIZE_FOR_SIZE)
Processor type and features -> Processor family -> Check "Pentium-III/Celeron(Coppermine)/Xeon" (CONFIG_MPENTIUMIII)
Kernel hacking -> Uncheck "Compile the kernel with frame pointers" (CONFIG_FRAME_POINTER=n)
-pipe doesn't affect the quality of the compiled code.
This is the top google result for this issue, and the advice doesn't work for modern distros.
And, uh, what proportion of modern distros does your advice work for? the3dfxdude's advice works properly, for all distros, and the fact that the options are right there in the standard kernel menus for all to see is why nobody worries about this any more.
Allocation of stupidity is left as an exercise for the reader.