A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 19, 2010
Food Fight

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Food fight
A food fight is a form of chaotic collective behavior, in which food is thrown at others in the manner of projectiles. These projectiles are not made to harm or damage others, but to simply ignite a fight filled with spontaneous food throwing. Food fights may be impromptu examples of rebellion or violence, however, they can also be planned events. For example, La Tomatina is a regularly held, organized Spanish food fight in which participants pelt each other with tomatoes. In organized food fights, the food “weapons” are usually all of one kind, or of a limited variety. An impromptu food fight will use whatever food is on hand.

Food fights are a common element in slapstick comedy, with the pie in the face gag being especially prominent. Food fights are frequently featured in children’s television and books, usually as an example of destructive or reckless behaviour. One famous food fight scene in a movie took place in National Lampoon’s Animal House. Another took place in Hook.

Though usually associated with juvenile settings such as schools, there are notable incidents that take place in more official locations, such as the food fight at a lunch meeting of the Legislative Yuan of Taiwan. In Europe, some food fights evolved into traditional celebrations rooted either in recent past such as the Spanish Tomatina or in long-gone centuries such as the Battaglia delle arance during the Carnival of Ivrea in Italy.

In East Kilbride, Scotland, there is a massive food fight held every year during the month of October. It takes place in the town’s shopping centre at around 6pm on a Friday night. The main difference between this event and most other food fights is that this food fight takes place on the ice - that is, on the ice rink at the Princess Mall. Thousands of participants from all over the country and even the globe come to take part in this prestigious event known to many as The Grand Classic EK Food Fight on Ice.

In fiction
. The musical film Bugsy Malone based upon prohibition era Chicago had much of it fighting scenes using food as weaponry, including (seemingly) lethal cream pies.
. The students gets food fights scenes in Bratz: The Movie.
. The British television show Skins makes use of a food fight at one of the character’s houses in its first series.
. The Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation features a food fight in its second season, for which then 8th grader Emma Nelson was blamed and suspended for a week.
. The pilot episode of Invader Zim features a food fight.
. An episode of Lizzie McGuire featured a food fight.
. There was a food fight in an episode of Zoey 101.
. Two episodes of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody featured a food fight.
. There was a tomato fight in an episode of Phil of the Future.
. There was a food fight in the film National Lampoon’s Animal House.

Wikipedia: Animal House
National Lampoon’s Animal House is a 1978 American comedy film directed by John Landis. The film is about a misfit group of fraternity men who challenge their college’s administrators. The screenplay was adapted by Douglas Kenney, Chris Miller and Harold Ramis from stories written by Miller and published in National Lampoon magazine based on Miller’s experiences in the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity at Dartmouth College, Ramis’ experiences in the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at Washington University in St. Louis, and producer Ivan Reitman’s experiences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
(...)
In the cafeteria the next day, Bluto provokes Marmalard with his impression of a popping zit. This starts a food fight that engulfs the cafeteria.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
food fight n. orig. and chiefly N. Amer. an instance of people (usually children or students) throwing food at one another; also fig.
1924 S. F. BATCHELDER Bits of Harvard Hist. 144 The affair began by a *food-fight between the freshmen and the sophomores at Sunday evening Commons in 1819: ‘When Nathan threw a piece of bread And hit Abijah on the head, [etc.].’
1952 E. R. CLAPP Use of Resources in Educ. I. i. 13 The lunchroom..was a disorderly place, the children..frequently engaging in noisy ‘food fights’.

24 June 1966, Syracuse (NY) Herald-Journal, “Menu switch balks school food caper,” pg. 19, cols. 5-6:
A wise philosophy that, “It’s no fun throwing dry food,” led to a quick change of lunch-time menu for high-spirited F. Ware Clary Junior High School students last week.
(...)
Clary Principal Byron Todd said he pulled the quick switch after hearing of a roisterous food fight at Thomas J. Cocoran High School which left the walls and ceiling of the Corcoran cafeteria plastered with wet and sticky food.

4 November 1970, Red Bluff (CA) Daily News, “At Red Bluff High” by Connie Faggard, pg. 3, col. 5:
Believe it or not, some Red Bluff High School students do not know how to conduct themselves decently in a lunchroom. Due to a mass food fight in one lunch period last week, the double lunch period that is usually held on Homecoming was not permitted.

Shocking as it may seem, there are some students who rarely take their trays up after finishing, and some who persist in throwing milk cartons all perid. is this kind of conduct permitted at home? I should hope not.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Saturday, June 19, 2010 • Permalink