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This straw is too thin for this milkshake
January 7, 2012 7:15 PM   Subscribe

My roommates and I would love to throw a dinner party that involves "difficult food." We're thinking of warm-ups like corn on the cob and bobbing for apples, maybe moving onto very tall sandwiches and artichokes. Maybe for dessert, a king cake with way too many kings. Any more ideas for food that's particularly difficult (and amusing) to eat?
posted by lauranesson to Food & Drink (54 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
Crabs?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:17 PM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pomegranates!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:19 PM on January 7, 2012 [14 favorites]


Spaghetti, with a spoon.
posted by ddaavviidd at 7:22 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nuts still in their shells.
posted by pemberkins at 7:24 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lobster, crabs, or some other shellfish still in the shell. But if you do this, I'd put kraft paper on your table, because it'll get messy with people cracking shells all over the place.
posted by decathecting at 7:25 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jello with chopsticks
posted by argonauta at 7:25 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Entire lobster, without tools if you're feeling really cruel.

Whole fish that's not filleted
posted by astapasta24 at 7:26 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Caramel apples for desert
posted by Rock Steady at 7:26 PM on January 7, 2012


Suck on roasted marrow bones.

Any nuts still on their shell, without any nutcrackers nearby.

Whole coconut.

Juicy burritos can be messy. Also, Philly cheesesteak.
posted by midnightmoonlight at 7:27 PM on January 7, 2012


Really over-sauced barbecue ribs
posted by Rock Steady at 7:28 PM on January 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Mille-feuille (Napoleons) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mille-feuille
posted by midnightmoonlight at 7:28 PM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


A bowl of peanuts or sesame seeds -- a relatively large amount of effort for little reward.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:29 PM on January 7, 2012


Whole pineapple without any knives. Then you can make pina colada with that whole coconut.
posted by midnightmoonlight at 7:30 PM on January 7, 2012


Unpitted olives
posted by Rock Steady at 7:31 PM on January 7, 2012


Cherries with pits.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:44 PM on January 7, 2012


"My food is problematic." ~River Tam

Behold, the recipe for Ice Planets!
posted by platinum at 7:45 PM on January 7, 2012 [19 favorites]


Sunflower seeds or peanuts in shells.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:52 PM on January 7, 2012


Cornish game hens - a lot of work for a couple of bites
Pistachios
Linguini in a brothy sauce - flops all over the place
Saucy ribs - there's a reason they serve them with handi-wipes
Crab legs
posted by cecic at 7:54 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Juuuust barely opened pistachios. Chicken noodle soup with the noodles in one bowl, the chicken in another, and veggies in a third. Freeze everyone's glasses of water.

the kingS cake is cracking me up right now
posted by troika at 7:56 PM on January 7, 2012


Pomegranates. No knife. This combines the sunflower seeds and the pineapple.
posted by kengraham at 8:11 PM on January 7, 2012


Along the same line as too-tall sandwiches, the special sushi rolls that are too big to be taken in a single bite, thus defeating (in my mind, at least) the point of a sushi roll.
posted by honeybee413 at 8:17 PM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Whole quail or other small birds.

For another take on difficult to eat: durian. The husk is covered in spikes and the fruit itself is overpoweringly pungent.
posted by jedicus at 8:17 PM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't have a food recommendation, but I would suggest that you provide bibs for your guests.
posted by orange swan at 8:37 PM on January 7, 2012


Mangos can be tricky...and messy.
posted by bquarters at 8:38 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do not provide forks etc. Chopsticks only. (I know some people can do amazing things with chopsticks but forks would be cheating somehow I think.)
posted by bleep at 8:44 PM on January 7, 2012


Cream puffs larger than one bite.
posted by platypus of the universe at 8:44 PM on January 7, 2012


I think jackfruit is a bigger pain in the ass than durian - durian just smells like rotting onions, jackfruit is the bastard love child of juicy fruit gum and crazy glue.

It seems like the easiest way to make a difficult to eat dessert would be to serve ice cream cones with a hole in them and some sort of hot topping (caramel/butterscotch/chocolate/whatever).
posted by foodgeek at 8:47 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


manggosteen (thick shelled sweet asian fruit) can be a hassle to get open....
posted by oblio_one at 8:49 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


In my opinion, crawfish are a lot more work to eat than crabs or lobsters, and for a much smaller reward. It's not really the season for them quite yet, though.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:53 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Laffy Taffy
Extra-hot "Buffalo" wings
Melons, possibly with sledgehammers

(And offer everyone one of these suits at the door)
posted by peagood at 8:55 PM on January 7, 2012


Snails in the shell.

Rice with chopsticks if you're not used to it.

Steak with only a butter knife to cut it with.

Sea Urchins or oysters that you have to open yourself.
posted by wwax at 8:55 PM on January 7, 2012


Grapefruit!

Sloppy joes!

Turkey legs!

Artichokes!

Whole pecans and/or walnuts! Nutcrackers allowed for these.
posted by furiousthought at 8:57 PM on January 7, 2012


artichokes.
roasted chestnuts still in the shell.
shellfish is generally messy.
spaghetti with clams.
bone-in fish.
you could roast a whole head of cauliflower.
wrap tiny new potatoes in foil like baked potatoes and roast them. serve in foil so diners have to open each one.
serve soup with forks.
for dessert, freeze fruit inside a giant bowl of ice, like they do for zoo animals on a hot day. provide icepicks.
posted by elizeh at 9:06 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Give everyone the wrong utensils for the food they're eating.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 9:21 PM on January 7, 2012


Hard-boiled eggs still in their shells. (Or, for a real challenge, soft-boiled eggs.)
posted by enlarged to show texture at 9:32 PM on January 7, 2012


How about an entree where the diners are required to assemble the dishes themselves, or even cook them in a difficult fashion? Sort of drawing a blank on actual examples here... but I worked at a restaurant where one dish came with a hot rock (seriously) upon which the diner was supposed to sear their fish and vegetables. The food always stuck to the rock unless you did the sauce thing just right.

Oooh, fondue! The bread is always falling off into the cheese pot!
posted by bobobox at 9:50 PM on January 7, 2012


Dagwoods!
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:02 PM on January 7, 2012


Jawbreakers?
posted by monkeys with typewriters at 10:34 PM on January 7, 2012


Make soup, but only provide demitasse spoons.
posted by spinifex23 at 12:08 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cut fruits and vegetables the wrong way. Horned melon is difficult to eat if you slice it into rings.
posted by WasabiFlux at 12:23 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


French onion soup with a really thick layer of molten cheese on top. Delicious, but I'll never forget the embarrassment of my first date, dinner before the homecoming dance, when I ended up with long lines of cheese running from mouth to bowl. Several times. Didn't get a second date.

I'd advise against peanuts, unless you're 100% sure none of your guests are allergic.
posted by hazyjane at 3:20 AM on January 8, 2012


Chicken feet or chicken necks.
Dessert fondue (obviously not super difficult, but it at least involves a *little* work on the guests' part, and I'm having a hard time thinking of particularly "difficult" desserts)
posted by drlith at 4:34 AM on January 8, 2012


Soft-boiled eggs, still in their shell.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 7:12 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


You could make it all difficult by creating an appetizer made of miracle fruit in order to f-up everyone's taste buds for a while.
posted by jeremias at 12:02 PM on January 8, 2012


Coconuts. Unshelled.
Crawdads
Unshucked oysters (if you provide a shucking knife, do provide kevlar gloves)
posted by plinth at 2:18 PM on January 8, 2012


I can't believe no one has suggested the most difficult to eat food of all:

Tacos.
posted by Jerub at 3:11 PM on January 8, 2012


Full-to-the-brim cocktails before dinner.
posted by chickenmagazine at 4:09 PM on January 8, 2012


Really big popcorn balls.
posted by pemberkins at 4:10 PM on January 8, 2012


Industrial-strength peanut butter.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 5:35 PM on January 8, 2012


Anything on the proper side of this graph.
posted by dekathelon at 7:27 PM on January 8, 2012


Great idea! Seconding almost every suggestion above. Maybe have a messy, inappropriate-utensil-but-possible-to-eat hearty entree, so people get some food in their bellies and are set to continue struggling with the fruit and dessert courses?
posted by BigJen at 9:05 PM on January 8, 2012


kengraham: "Pomegranates. No knife. This combines the sunflower seeds and the pineapple."

I've eaten pomegranates with no knife before (although at the time I had fearsome fingernails). I'd much rather be given a pomegranate and no knife than a pineapple and no knife.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:00 AM on January 9, 2012


Ortolan. Bonus points for making your guests drown their own birds in Armagnac.
posted by saladin at 8:35 AM on January 9, 2012


These answers are just great. Two of the three hosts are vegetarians, so some of the offerings above probably won't happen, but nearly all of them cracked me up. I think we'll have to wait until late spring, so a few more of our difficulties are in season. Thanks for every last suggestion.
posted by lauranesson at 11:26 AM on January 12, 2012


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