#73 Foods that no one can eat gracefully

Welcome to Taco Night.

Personally I’m going to go ahead and say potluck tacos are my favorite meal these days. I convinced my family to have Christmas Tacos a few years back — complete with festive red shells, green guac, and white sour cream — and this year on my birthday we did it again. There’s just something I love about everyone hunched over their messy plates on the couch, rogue lettuce scraps in their hair, salsa streaks on their pants, and meat juice sliding down their forearms that makes me smile.

I guess I love all foods that no one can eat gracefully:

1. Powdered donuts. Does your local town fair sells greasy bags of these deep-fried deliciouses like mine does? After you pop a tiny powdered donut into your mouth make sure you don’t exhale or you’ll get a nice white streak down your fancy shirt.

2. Samosas. Deep-fried triangles stuffed with spicy handfuls of potatoes and peas don’t lend themselves to fine dining. You’re in there with your hands, there’s no starting point, and chances are the greasy innards are going to tumble all over your sari. That’s the way we like it.

3. Corn on the cob. There are two ways to eat your corn on the cob. First, there’s the Typewriter Method, where you cut back and forth along the entire cob, and then there’s The Big Twist, where you do not move down the cob until you’ve done the complete chomping twirl. Either way, if you did it right you should end up with little bits of corn in your teeth and butter-drenched fingers.

4. Sticky Ribs and Chicken Wings. By the end of a plate full of wings you should look like a lion who just dug into a zebra face-first. For bonus points make sure you’re dining with your Perfect Chicken Wing Partner.

5. Melting ice cream sandwiches. Squeeze those foamy black cookies together so the ice cream drips all over the place. Just try eating one without getting a smear of vanilla on your nose and big chunks of cookie sticking to your fingers.

Yes, it’s time to get over yourself.

We’re saying big words, fancy suits, toss ’em out the window, brother. We both know behind those collared shirts, business cards, and trendy haircuts is a straight-up ugly hairy animal. Yes, I’m talking about you, Caveman Carl and Jungle Jane — because the fact is plain: past your scraggly mane we’re all basically the same.

Messy foods bring us closer together. They remind us we started out as messy eaters and we’ll probably end up that way, too. When we fill the middle years with relaxed expectations, big laughs, and fun nights, it means we skip the show, pass the pretenses, and jump all the way into the deep end of


Wow, thank you! The Globe and Mail has ranked The Book of Awesome the #1 overall non-fiction bestseller of 2010 and 2011!


Photos from: here, here, here, and here

45 thoughts on “#73 Foods that no one can eat gracefully

  1. This really is the best! I usually feel like a messy eater, so it’s always reassuring when other people are having trouble too. One to add to the list: watermelon. Even if you crane way out over the grass and choose the most perfectly triangular slice, the juice still ends up streaming all over your face and hands and clothes. :)

  2. Boiled seafood. Try peeling a crawfish or shrimp and not get messy. Add a crab to it and you’re a goner.

    1. Almost forgot….what makes them so AWESOME to me is that although I know the outcome I always try my hardest to keep it clean. Like if I get a roll of paper towel BBQ won’t get all over my face while stuffing it with hot wings. Lol

  3. me and powdered donuts don’t get along. way too often i INHALE at the wrong moment and end up nearly choking to death on the icing sugar! I avoid powdered timbits especially because they are usuallya driving snack, and choking on powdered donuts while driving is not a good combo. Been there, done that. SCARY!

          1. oh cinnamon donuts!!! YUM!!!!
            I love going to donut king & they’re making them fresh on the spot just for you!.
            oh I could just eat a whole bag of hot donuts!!

    1. Hahaha! :) yeah, that’s so scary, but it kind of enhanced the dessert in a way, having desert with a hint of danger! :)

  4. The messier the better! My dad always told me that the messier it is, the better it tastes. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before on here.
    There’s just something satisfying about coming out of a meal with grease running down your arms or sauce all over your face.

  5. My mom told me never to order spaghetti or ribs or anything messy on date. Well one time I went out on a first date, and I couldn’t help it, the spaghetti was a better price then a lot other things on the menu and I didn’t want to seem like a gold digger, so I ordered it, warning my date to beware of saucy whiplash. He, coincidentally ordered ribs and shared a few with me. I was laughing to myself at the the irony of the situation, 5 years after that date, we are now married and just as happy as could be. Messy foods FTW!

  6. Next to many of the juicy fresh fruits, spaghetti is my favorite FUN food!
    And I’d sure like to partipate in these food festivals, including Spain’s tomatoe fight! Food fights and festivals- Awesome!
    *Neil, CONGRATULATIONS!!! And thank you for everything<3xoz
    btw-I thought your birthday was Jan.27 or February 7th!

      1. So want to *have* one of these! And although I adore the little critters and even their smell, I imagine Spain is skunk free, at least for one day!

        1. Imagine! My shaggy sheepdog free to frolic in the sunny tomatoes for a few precious hours of off leash fun!

  7. Congratulations on the absolutely amazing achievement recognized by the Globe and Mail. It truly is an honor.

  8. Bannick with smoked salmon, creamed cheese, sweet onion and capers- yummmm! for dessert, more bannick with fresh blackberry, huckleberry and raspberry jelly…everything smeared all over the face…scrumptious!!!

  9. What would be interesting is to serve all those foods in a smorgasboard at a corporate fundraiser dinner! Awesome! lol (Hungry Jacks Whoppers are pretty messy too) (oh that’s Burger King for the rest of the world)

  10. Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches, either in a big hoagie roll or in a wrap- will disintegrate or implode and drip with grease, cheese and beef juice as soon as you figure out a way to pick it up and take a bite!

  11. I was pretty devastasted yesterday when I tried getting onto this site and no matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t on. Whatever the technical glitches were and no matter how it happened, I’m relieved to find that its back. Neil, your work makes a world of difference to my life. Thank you.

    PS- Are you going to work on a movie based on ‘awesome’? – I really think you ought to!

    1. You’re right, An Awesome Movie might be the greatest thing to happen to movie goers. I think there would be no problem getting financial backing for this, since the books are bestsellers and world famous!! Let it be so!

  12. Love The Bad Guy, you’re right- cinnamon and sugar donuts are definitely more popular over here! But I get ‘powdered donuts’ all the time at home, made by my Babci (pronounced Bup-chy, Polish for Grandma). They are called pączki (ponch-ky) and are donuts without the hole, with jam in the middle. Yum! As I started reading this I thought of when I exhale over my pączki, and there it was!
    I also had a ‘Summer Sunset’ burger from Grill’d yesterday- they’re a small franchise in Australia that sell healthy burgers. They cut it in half for me and one half fell apart just with me picking up the other half! But it was amazingly good, all the same.
    Isn’t it the case with all messy foods, that they just taste SO, SO GOOD?
    And The Big Twist, all the way :P

    1. Emmy, did you get the message #495, pictures Annick and Karine- two sister’s who should know where to find their bro’, Freddo!
      We all want him and Laura back here in the count down. Along with jdurley they sure could entertain! Maybe jdurley would assist!

  13. The CEO at my job always orders fried chicken when we have a company meeting because it’s the perfect social equalizer. There’s no graceful way to eat it! We have executives getting as messy and greasy as the guys on the shop floor.

  14. Messy foods are so fun to eat. The messy end result is so worth it.

    Ice cream on a sugar cone is another one. The ice cream melts all over the place before you’ve barely started eating it, and you bite the cone on the bottom to suck the ice cream out that way. Reminds me of childhood.

  15. Thank you for sharing. This post made my day. I’m one of those tight-you-know-what people who won’t eat ribs or corn on the cob in public. I think this might just make me change my ways. Inspiring!

  16. This actually made me laugh because the other day my friends and I were eating this super saucy wings and they both noticed how I managed to stay completely clean while eating them.

    Meanwhile they had sauce all over their faces.

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