Test Your Food Fight IQ!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 | 0 comments »

By DeLane McDuffie

As an 8-year-old kid, I tried to incite a food fight in school. My only setback was that I tried to start one on a Friday, the day when we were served "fun" food, like pizza and hot dogs. No one wanted to throw that food around. True, we all know about food fights in school, but how many of us know about actual large-scale food fights—real skirmishes, wars, and battles involving food, fists, and, sometimes, firearms. Match the conflict with its unique food or characteristic.
  1. California Water Wars – Chinatown. This conflict was the basis of the 1974 movie Chinatown. The city of Los Angeles took on the residents of the Owens Valley over rights to the abundance of water from the Sierra Nevada. Back then, L.A. was a growing city in a semi-desert region with a very limited water supply. So much water was taken from the Owens Valley that the once water-rich landscape started to look more and more like the Sahara. Obviously, this upset the local farmers, who decided to blow up part of L.A.'s aqueduct system in 1924. This debate continued for decades.
  2. Banana Massacre – Chiquita. The United Fruit Company was an international trading juggernaut during the last century. It traded pineapples, bananas, and other fruit in Latin America and the Caribbean, selling chiefly to Americans and Europeans. In 1928, the Columbian Army opened fire on a picket line of United Fruit workers. The number of casualties is still unclear. Some speculated that the United Fruit Company actually convinced the military to do it. Controversy ensued. Eventually, the United Fruit Company (now Chiquita) got back to business and competing with its chief rival, Standard Fruit Company (now Dole).
  3. The Grattan Massacre – Bovine. It all started with a wandering cow. Back in 1854 in the Nebraska Territory, near present-day Laramie, Wyoming, a cow strolled off a Mormon camp and found itself in BrulĂ© Lakota (of the Great Sioux Nation) land. There were burgers for everyone that night. Once the actual owner figured out what happened to his cow, he made so much fuss that Second Lieutenant John Grattan was sent out to exact revenge on the cow "thieves." As the two parties were negotiating, the Lakota killed Grattan and his 30 troops after one of the soldiers shot Conquering Bear, the Lakota chief. Soon after, the U.S. retaliated by sending William S. Harney and 600 soldiers into Sioux land, killing nearly 100 Sioux in the Battle of Ash Hollow.
  4. The Cod Wars – Iceland vs. Great Britain. There were three of them, one in the 1950s and two more in the 1970s. Iceland, whose economy was mainly based on fishing, felt the need to expand its fishing borders in the North Atlantic. Great Britain challenged that notion. In the First and Second Cod Wars, a lot of fishing nets got cut and a lot of insults were thrown around; however, it was the Third Cod War during which tempers really flared. Both countries deployed scores of ships and vessels. From November 1975 to June 1976, shots were fired, vessels were rammed, and fish surely must have been frightened. Once Iceland threatened to close its NATO base, that's when NATO stepped in, made the two nations shake hands, and made everything better.
  5. Mutiny on the Bounty – Breadfruit. Lieutenant William Bligh, commander of the HMS Bounty, was on a mission in 1787. He had to sail down to Tahiti, snatch up some breadfruit, and swing on over to the West Indies, where the breadfruit would serve as 18th-century energy bars for the slaves. Bad weather conditions around Cape Horn derailed their Tahitian arrival for about 10 months. Once they got there, breadfruit was out of season, which caused Bligh and the boys to hang out in Tahiti for another 5 months, until harvest season. Soon, they realized that packing the huge amount of breadfruit plants onto the ship would be like packing a blue whale into a sleeping bag, which caused the living quarters to be more like living pennies for the crew, which caused shipmate Fletcher Christian and friends to stage a mutiny. Bligh eventually found his way back to England, and the mutineers were captured. Bligh did get another shot at delivering breadfruit to the West Indies. The biggest irony is that the slaves hated the taste of breadfruit and refused to eat them.