This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES Netherlands.
You haven't lived until you know what it feels like to shove a handful of spaghetti down somebody's shirt. At least, that seems to be the rule for those of us who grew up in Europe, where food isn't just fuel for survival or even a vehicle for pleasure, but also acts as a weapon during a long-standing pasttime of food fights.
I have a hard time recalling how many times I've hidden in a refrigerator or ducked underneath a random table to protect myself from eggs, spoonfuls of tomato sauce, pastries, and other food items hurled in my direction. While all of this sounds quite dangerous, I always managed to emerge relatively unscathed. But not everyone is as fortunate as I am.
Food fights can be lethal. In Italy, 70 people were injured during an orange battle last year, for example. And there are definitely plenty of Dutch horror stories out there as well. I compiled a few particularly painful accounts from people who tried to have fun fighting with food, but ended up in less than comfortable situations.
I got burned when hot, liquid cheese ended up in my ear, and had to go to the emergency room.
In my small town, the annual fair is kind of a big deal—although people will sooner go to the bar than try out one of the rides. This past year, my friends and I drank a lot of beer and ended up at a local fast food joint on a super busy street. Everybody had the munchies and was standing around gobbling up fries and other fried snacks. Every once in awhile, a French fry would get thrown at someone's head all in good fun. It went from one fry to two fries, and before I knew it, all kinds of fried foods were flying through the air. I wasn't particularly feeling it, so I tried to get away before a hamburger ended up in my hair. But my friend thought the whole things was hilarious, and pushed—without thinking about it, of course—her piping hot fried cheese snack into my ear.
My screams must have sobered her up immediately. The hot cheese had entered my ear and was dripping down my hair. The place was so busy that nobody noticed. I ended up in the emergency room with burns on my ear. I think it's safe to say that killed any appetite I ever had for food fights. Luckily, my ear only had a few blisters on it.
I couldn't see anything for at least 20 minutes.
My parents once agreed to let me celebrate my birthday at their country house. So together, with about 15 of my friends, I left for the countryside with images of spring break on my mind. Our bags were filled to the brim with beer and liquor: the perfect recipe for disaster.
We were all pretty drunk already and sat around eating sloppy Joe's, American-style, when one of my friends suddenly yelled 'FOOD FIGHT!' She then threw her sandwich into someone else's face. Overcome by a sudden wave of enthusiasm, my boyfriend grabbed a full bottle of Martini [vermouth] and poured it all over me. The alcohol got into my eyes and I couldn't see anything for at least 20 minutes. I really thought I was going blind and totally panicked. We didn't have smartphones, so we couldn't look up any solutions. Eventually the pain subsided. The food fight continued, but my relationship with Martini is forever strained—whenever I smell it, I almost throw up.
While the poor guy whose house we just destroyed called an ambulance, I stood in the middle of the room, dazed and covered in yellow custard.
I thought it would be awesome to organize a food fight. When a friend of mine threw a housewarming party after he had moved out of his parents house, I figured that this was a great opportunity. Together with a few friends, we bought a bunch of stuff and planned it out. After he returned from a trip to the bathroom, we'd start by covering him in whipped cream. Surprise! We bought all kinds of food that was perfect for throwing around: fruit, cookies, and custard. We put on clothes that were OK to get dirty and were ready to roll.
As soon as we started, it turned out that our friend was much less pumped about the whole thing than we were. Covering his new place in sticky stuff didn't sit well with him. The other guests didn't want stains on their party clothes, and took refuge on the balcony.
In an attempt to be funny, and fueled by drunken enthusiasm, I picked up a plastic wine glass that didn't actually turn out to be plastic. While the glass left my hand and flew threw the air, I realized what I had done, and I watched as the glass shattered in slow motion on the head of one of the girls. She was bleeding quite a bit. While the poor guy whose house we destroyed called an ambulance, I stood in the middle of the room, dazed and covered in yellow custard. I felt so embarrassed that I never ended up contacting her. That friend and I hardly see each other anymore.
I had an early start when it comes to food fights. In the 7th grade I threw a cookie into Black Pete's eye after he had showered our classroom with sweets. He ended up in the hospital.
In high school, things didn't improve. During one of our breaks, somebody had thrown some apples at a few people. We came up with a plan: During our upcoming breaks, we'd strike back with even more apples. Eventually, other friend groups also made sure they had enough apples on them. I remember all the students bombarding each other with yellow, red, and green pieces of fruit. It became a multi-day event: Our long lunch break was meant to throw around the apples we had all brought with us. Everybody knew that. Suddenly, everyone was carrying around pieces of fruit.
The school got sick of the whole thing pretty quickly and by the end of the week they monitored the halls like crazy. The news had spread: Anyone who throws a piece of fruit gets suspended. I felt very torn. On one hand, I was the one who had started the food fights, and on the other hand, the principal asked me to help out because I was a member of the student council.
Hypocrite that I am, I ended up tacking signs to the wall with warnings like "One apple in your hand is better than ten apples in the air!" and "The janitor will find your apple faster than you can throw it!." Thankfully, nobody ever knew that I was the one who initiated the food fights in the first place.