If You Were in a Food Fight to the Death, What Would Be Your Weapon of Choice?

A durian. Owwwww.

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This question originally appeared on Quora.

Answer by John Burgess, former U.S. foreign service officer:

Durian, without a doubt.

My first volley would be a barrage of durian fruits at the far end of ripeness. The chemical assault might end things right there by causing vomiting which, as we know, has an infectious effect in groups. A disabled troop is unable to fight.

My second volley would be with durian fruits at the near end of ripeness. These hard, spiky fruits would draw blood, break bones, and demoralize the still-retching enemy.

The conquerors, however, will have to be supplied with gas masks and protective clothing in order to occupy enemy territory now covered in durian slime and vomit.

By the way: I really do like durian!

Answer by Ariel Williams, dreamer, writer, artist:

Oh the fun we shall have after having dined on the sweet taste of victory and the spicy meal of death.


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Takifugu rubripes or Japanese tiger pufferfish can be quite safe to eat if prepared by a skilled chef and if the skin, ovaries, testes, and liver are removed. So my army shall feast on this correctly prepared as our first main course. The leftover scraps of skin, ovaries, testes, and liver shall be blended up and saved for ammunition against our enemy. Once liquified, we can either covertly place this in their food or use it as a chemical weapon to be distributed into the air or for use in ballistic darts. It is a potent neurotoxin with no known antidote.

The toxin in pufferfish is called tetrodotoxin, or more precisely anhydrotetrodotoxin 4-epitetrodotoxin, and is about 1,200 times deadlier than cyanide. TTX is extremely toxic. The toxin can enter the body by ingestion, injection, inhalation, and through abraded skin. The mechanism of toxicity is through the blockage of fast voltage-gated sodium channels. These are required for the normal transmission of signals between the body and brain, as a result, TTX causes paralysis of voluntary muscles (including the diaphragm, stopping breathing), the loss of vagal regulation of heart rate (causing it to increase to around 100 beats per minute), and loss of sensation. The poison, a sodium channel blocker, paralyzes the muscles while the victim stays fully conscious. They eventually die from asphyxiation, no longer able to breathe.

Ackee plant. Our side course shall be ackee plant. The inner yellow flesh is safe to eat but the outer red flesh and inner black flesh surrounding the seed pods are potentially quite deadly. My army will eat the safe yellow flesh of the fruits and grind up the red and black parts for use against our enemies.

Ackee plant can result in what is known as “Jamaican vomiting sickness,” which can also include seizures or even fatal hypoglycemia. “It bottoms out your blood sugars,” says McLaughlin. Patients may get treated with activated charcoal, IV fluids, and maybe even a breathing machine.

Cassava roots

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Cassava. My army shall enjoy sweet tapioca pudding for our dessert, but what is not commonly known is that if the cassava root is not prepared correctly, it can be used to produce deadly cyanide. While my army shall feast upon tapioca, our enemies will be doused with concentrated cyanide.

Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit. My army can also use prickly pear fruit for a light snack and coat some of the more barbed ones in the puffer fish toxin and cyanide and catapult them on to our enemies. The sharp needle-like barbs will help distribute the poisons. The prickly pear fruit can also be used to make wine and delicious jellies for my troops.

Answer by Michael Shiloh, scientist:


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I’d have to pick something cheap, portable, and readily available. I present my weapon of choice, the egg.

My arsenal would have several types of eggs. There would be the uncooked eggs, for a massive and distracting first volley, replete with egg shell shrapnel to wound and blind. I would bring rotten eggs, replete with hydrogen sulfide to incapacitate. Finally, I would bring hard boiled eggs for maximal damage. This would also include heavy artillery, in the form of ostrich eggs (hard-boiled, of course).

I think this would allow for flexibility, portability, and unpredictability.

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