The media of my childhood definitely left me overestimating the number of food fights I would come across. It seems like a cafeteria fight was a central feature of every Disney Channel movie, and a smoothie poured over someone’s head was a recurring punchline on Hannah Montana. In Hook, colorful cream is flung around the dinner table in a pivotal scene, and in Matilda and Nanny McPhee a food fight climax is what finally overthrows the oppressive, draconian antagonists. And since the world feels positively overrun with oppressive, draconian antagonists right about now, it’s fun to think about what you might choose as your fighter. This, of course, is a hypothetical list purely for the sake of fantasy. It sure would be a shame if you actually used this info against anyone.
There are many factors to account for when considering the ideal throwing foods. The main factors I considered are as follows:
- A one-sided impact-to-harm ratio—that is, foods that will burst and bubble and stick without causing pain to their recipients.
- The value comparison: How “high value” do I consider this food, and is the person I want to throw it at worth the loss?
I considered several categories of throwable foods and chose the top contender from each. Here are my findings.
The Classics: Foods most often thrown at people
This category considers the celebrities of the thrown food world who have had their time in front of the camera and in popular culture. Egg was an initial thought here because it is accessible and I certainly like the double meaning of “egg on face,” but the shell seems to make this too much of a weapon—a thrown egg once even hospitalized a Ukrainian prime minister.
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The cream pie, meanwhile, has a rich history dating back to Charlie Chaplin and The Three Stooges, but I think it is time to let this icon retire; I’d much rather eat a cream pie than throw it, and it’s more of a short-range weapon.
The tomato feels like a good option, with a theatrical history and even a Spanish festival dedicated to it, but I think we can take it a step further.
The Winner: A rotting tomato. This is a clear winner. It is as classic a throwable food as you can get. It’s cheap and accessible, it minimizes food waste (given its post-edible status), and given enough decomposition time, you’re likely to get a well-proportioned burst radius to paint your target without sullying those around them.
The Carbs: The best breads to throw at people
Carbs offer another category filled with opportunity. Cake is an option here that could also fit in the “classics” category—it plays a vital role in both Matilda and Nanny McPhee—but is easy to eliminate, given the high effort that goes into baking and frosting the projectile. While grabbing a handful of fluffy, frosted goodness and launching it right at someone’s face is definitely fantasy-worthy, you’re wasting valuable chucking time when you prepare a layer cake, and buying one at the store is an expensive proposition.
Spaghetti is another good option here, since it’s not only messy but presents the appealing opportunity to leave a wig of noodles on your target. However, it’s not a precise projectile: spaghetti’s chances of in-flight dispersement knocks it down a few points.
All in all, I like the idea of buns, which can be reliably aimed and pitched with no saucy splashback. While a nice brioche or bao might have an ideal bounce, I have too much respect for them to throw them away.
The Winner: A (boycotted) Martin’s Potato Roll. The once-beloved potato roll company has become disgraced over ties to alleged insurrectionists. While I certainly don’t suggest crossing the hypothetical picket line and buying rolls, the goal here is to find previously purchased rolls in a dumpster somewhere. And maybe imagine them bouncing off the body of your least favorite insurrection inciter.
The Goops: Sticky, runny foods to throw at people
This is a broad category, not to be confused with Gwenyth Paltrow’s overpriced lifestyle brand. This category groups all things goopy, gluey, soggy, viscous, and semisolid. Some of these might be difficult to throw by the fistful (clam chowder, maple syrup, chawanmushi) or too airy to throw very far (whipped cream).
Saag meets the consistency requirements, but knowing the way my grandmother toils over the stove for the perfect pot, I would never throw it anywhere but into my own mouth. Hummus is another option that meets the criteria, but I’d much rather scoop it up with pita than catapult at someone who thinks over half the population shouldn’t get to decide what to do with their own bodies (again, this is all purely hypothetical).
The Winner: Day-old oatmeal. This is an easy winner here. Oatmeal itself is just not that good, especially after it’s been sitting in the fridge for hours and has clumped and congealed a bit. This is when it would likely be sent down the drain anyway, and that’s when it’s at its best for throwing at the worst people in our nation. We can use oatmeal’s coagulation to our advantage in creating the perfect gloopy mound to sling.
The Oddballs: Unique foods to throw at people
This category is meant to find all the weirdos of the food world. The objects that won’t bounce or splat but have a unique reaction when lobbed at your target. Mashed banana was an initial thought here, due to the satisfying way it would surely slide in slow-motion down some jerk’s face. This, however, requires some foresight in both the ripening and mashing of the bananas, so it isn’t ideal for the spontaneous throw.
Jell-O is another fabulous fantasy, gelatinous and bouncy with a guaranteed splat, representing the best of both worlds. Ultimately, though, I deemed it unideal because of the time it takes to prepare and set, and its questionable ability to maintain structure at a longer range. Maybe you could buy individual Jell-O cups and try unmolding them as little handheld projectiles.
The Winner: Cold cuts, especially bologna. I feel like a lunch-meat-throwing incident inevitably happened in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but after racking my brains, I haven’t found an instance, even though it should happen (writers, hit me up). I think a fatty cold cut would offer a really unique throwing experience. If the landing occurred at the right angle, it would ideally stick and offer a slow peel away from the face that seems impossible to beat. We hope we haven’t left you inspired.