America loves its food. A lot. America loves food so much that we invented the drive-thru restaurant because sitting in a traditional restaurant took too long. The only thing America loves more than food is more food. And the only thing America loves more than more food is the primal dance of anger and bad judgment that inevitably leads to violence.
Food and violence—that’s America in a nutshell. Of course, there is one thing that surpasses food and violence in America’s pantheon of gluttony and that’s the combination of food with violence. And I’m not talking about the sophomoric tradition of the food fight, but rather actual violence that occurs with—or around—food.
So, in celebration of America’s real favorite pastime, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 incidents of food-related violence.
10) McNugget Rampage
In January of 2011, Melodi Dushane was in a McDonald’s drive-thru hoping to get an order of Chicken McNuggets, only to be thwarted as, alas, the restaurant was still serving breakfast.
Dushane, it turns out, really loves Chicken McNuggets, because, in response to this travesty, she proceeded to attack the drive-thru cashier, before shattering the drive-thru window.
9) Paula Deen
Hey ya’ll, I love Paula Deen. Most people, like myself, know her as the iconic Food Network personality who’ll charm you with her sweet southern drawl, before tempting death by eating Herculean amounts of butter. But as of about five minutes ago, I now know her as the woman who got hit in the face with a ham.
I’m not proud of how watching this video makes me feel, but, in full disclosure, I never imagined that seeing Paula Deen get hit in the face with a ham would bring me so much pleasure.
Note: The Santa-Claus-looking dude at the end of the video with the I-couldn’t-give-less-of-a-shit look on his face is Paula’s husband, Michael Groover.
8) Prison Food Fight
I’ve spent the great majority of my life trying to stay out of prison. This doesn’t come from any particular moral obligation, so much as all the terrifying stories I’ve heard about prison from listening to rap music and watching MSNBC on Saturday nights. Little did I know that, if ever I found myself in prison, being forced to engage in race wars and learning how to construct a shank from my toothbrush would be the least of my concerns.
In Hillsboro, Missouri, a 21-year-old inmate at Jefferson County Jail named Daniel Barret was critically injured during a food fight. Some inmates who witnessed the fight said the attacker wanted Barret’s food.
I suppose if there’s a silver lining it’s that the food in prison is apparently really good.
7) McDonald’s Man Punches Girl
Remember when McDonald’s existed in black and white, sold fifteen-cent hamburgers, and hadn’t yet introduced America, and later the world, to their forever-creepy clown mascot? Those were the days when, if you were a 16-year-old girl, you could go to McDonald’s and feel fairly certain that you wouldn’t get punched in the face.
Well, those days are gone, at least where it a concerns a South Los Angeles man who, during a dispute with a 16-year-old girl over who was next in line, decided to settle matters with his fists.
6) Cow Attack
George Orwell’s 1945 novel, Animal Farm, tells the allegorical story of a downtrodden group of farm animals who manage to overthrow their drunken farmer master. The prosperity of the animal revolution, however, eventually gives way to the corrupting forces of power and privilege.
Well, it seems there is at least one cow (in some vague, Spanish-speaking country) who started reading Orwell’s novel, but, by all accounts, hasn’t gotten to the end yet. At any rate, for this cow, the revolution has begun!
5) Fight Over Food Stamps
Since FDR’s implementation of the New Deal in 1933, America has had, in one form or another, a welfare system that aims to supplement families and individuals who can’t afford to care for themselves.
The incident that earned a spot on my list occurred in January of 2011 when two sisters—Melanie Wallace, 29, and Stacey Slaughter, 33—were arrested in a fight over food stamps. Police weren’t sure who started the fight, but each sister admitted to trading food stamps and they both accused each other of selling food stamps for drugs.
4) San Diego Taco Shop Brawl
I don’t know what it is about taco shops in the 619, but, man, do they attract some crazy folks. I actually had three separate San Diego taco shop brawls to choose from.
The first involved a man who was stabbed at Tacos el Gordo after trying to break up a fight between two women and the second involved involved a 30-year-old man who died from stab wounds after an attack at Los Panchos Taco Shop.
But it was the third choice that officially made the list, as it involved a group of transvestites brawling inside of a San Diego taco shop. I’m not sure what the fight was about, but let’s be honest—does it really matter?
3) Nursing Home Food Fight
If I learned nothing else from The Golden Girls, it’s that by the time you grow old and have a few white hairs, the only thing left to do is move to Florida and eat cheesecake. The only concerns you should have are which wrinkled bachelor Blanche is bedding and how to keep Dorothy from putting you in a nursing home.
Of course, should you end up in a nursing home, things could be worse. Among other things, your meals are prepared for you daily and, when you’re done eating, you get to play Bingo. Just make sure that you don’t stay in the same nursing home as a psychotic senior with a prison record.
In December of 2009, 72-year-old Anderes Cardona, a man who suffered from dementia, wandered into the room of the aforementioned 62-year-old psychopath, Ardyce Nauden, and began eating his pot roast.
In response, Nauden killed him.
2) Crazy Over Cheeseburger
For the third and final time, McDonald’s finds itself on my list. The impetus this time involves a man in a pair of flip-flops and soccer shorts that come off far too easily. He’s furious about not getting the cheeseburger he ordered and, luckily, one of his fellow patrons had the foresight to videotape his outburst.
At first glance, it appeared this story was simply going to be about a disgruntled customer blowing off steam. Thankfully, another customer decided he wanted to teach him a lesson in manners—and violence.
1) Denny’s Brawl(s)
Denny’s doesn’t have a particularly good history where it concerns food and violence. In fact, they probably look at 1994 as the good ol’ days when they were simply paying $54 million dollars in a discrimination lawsuit for either refusing service to black customers or forcing them to wait longer and pay more than white customers.
Business picked up again in 1997 when a group of three Asian American students, three Japanese international students, and one white student were denied service and later assaulted by a large group of white men in the parking lot.
But in January 2011, just when Denny’s thought everything was back in order, along came the brawl in Chicopee, Massachusetts, which has earned them number one slot on this list.
The brawl reportedly began over an episode of road rage when one man (probably the dude getting punched) cut off the other man. Amazingly that was just the undercard, as the main event featured one woman fighting two other women at the same time.
Grand Slam, indeed!