Food Fight

Food Fight

In the beginning was the pea shooter. Boy-men of the late Neolithic placed dried peas in hollow reeds and propelled them by breath at wild beasts — each other. Curious kids may have tried large-bore chickpea models, but the weapon remained virtually unchanged until the Twentieth Century, when bored schoolboys constructed long-range, accurate, non-pneumatic peashooters from mechanical pencils or Bic pens and elastic bands. The Alimentary Arms Race had begun.

Edible armament escalated in the Vietnam Era with the pea pistol. The standard schoolyard sidearm was the Sekiden SAP 50, a compact plastic pistol with metal spring propulsion. It came with 50 silver-colored balls, and this original ammo lasted until two minutes after the package was opened. Only dried peas were fired from then until the toy was confiscated by irritated teachers or parents.

Mr. Potato Head Goes to War

Kitchen combat has evolved, and legumes no longer suffice. Today, only tubers will do, and spud pistols are the sidearms of choice. With proper training, many teens can also operate the potato assault weapon effectively. Here is the standard instruction video:

The potato bazooka is today’s best anti-shopping cart defense, and there are many varieties of potato cannons (Kartoffelkanonen).


Spuds don’t have sufficient mass for use in heavy artillery. Today’s bombardment and siege weapons use canned fish balls or pumpkins. The alimentary aerial war relies on watermelon and turkey bombs despite the danger of collateral damage to civilians. Some observers are even more concerned about the dangers of the ultimate menu item in the War on Hunger: the nuclear option.

One eternal truth remains: if you serve your fellow man the milk of human kindness, the boy within will want to put it in his water pistol.


Children: Don’t play with your food. You’ll shoot your eye out.

Looking for the War on Hunger? Try the World Food Programme.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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