Whether it's a hamburger the size of your head or a massive plate of hot wings, some foods are best eaten alone in a dark corner somewhere. You could just be an adult and not order those foods in the first place, or you can master the art of eating sloppy foods in public. Here's how to do it.
Photo by LplusD.
Use the "Claw" to eat a burger
Burgers are a mainstay for restaurants and barbecues alike, but eating one gracefully can become an exercise in futility when it's jam packed with toppings. However, held properly, even the most ungraceful among us can avoid spillage.
Our friends over at Kotaku point to the "claw" as the best way to eat a burger, and in my experience it works better than most. Hold the burger with your thumbs and pinkies on the bottom, and your three middle fingers on the top. You can then rotate around the burger (as opposed to going in straight) to minimise spillage all around. It might not work perfectly for a monster with the lot, but it will do the trick in most instances.
Debone chicken wings before eating them (or learn to eat with one hand)
You have two solid options for eating chicken wings without making a fool of yourself and both work equally well. It just depends on how you want to approach your wings.
Typically, the preferred method of wing eating mess-free revolves around removing the bones first. This prevents the inevitable cheek-covered-in-sauce that comes with eating wings straight off the bone. Pick up the flat part of the wing, then find the little bone. Give it a wiggle and a twist to pull it out. Do the same with the bigger bone. Now you can just eat away. (For in-depth instructions, click here.)
If that's too much work for you, then you can just tackle your bowl of wings with one hand. All you need to do is hold the larger end of the wing with one hand, then push down on the meat at the top. You can then eat the whole thing straight off the bone while keeping your other hand clean for the inevitable high fives that follow.
Eat chips, Cheetos and other snacks with chopsticks
This one's a bit of a Lifehacker classic, especially since our US editor Whitson Gordon swears by it, but it's still worth mentioning again. If you're going to eat greasy foods like chips or Cheetos, do it with chopsticks to keep your fingers clean.
Cut Off the Ends of Watermelon Rinds
For whatever reason, the traditional method for cutting a watermelon into wedges makes it nearly impossible to eat without getting watermelon juice everywhere. Thankfully, there are better methods.
If the watermelon's already quartered, you can simply cut off the ends as shown in the video above. This keeps the center intact so you have something to hold onto, but you don't get melon all over your face.
Alternately, if you're the one in charge of watermelon prep, cut it into sticks instead of wedges. This way nobody will look like a fool and you'll be a hero for many a barbecue to come.
How to twirl pasta
To eat ribbon pasta without resembling a Mafioso victim, request a spoon in addition to a fork. Explains Pasta TV Australia: "Grab 1-2 strands on your fork. Then put your spoon on an angle and start twirling. As you twirl, lift and separate the pasta from the actual dish."
Most people attach more strands to their fork before twirling, which results in a big, dripping clump you can't even fit in your mouth properly.
Bite the top off soup dumplings before eating
Chinese soup dumplings are tasty nuggets of explosive liquid that can destroy your shirt and mouth if you're not careful. Over on Zagat, they suggest taking a cautionary approach to those soup dumplings to avoid burning the roof of your mouth or splattering on your shirt.
Start by grabbing the dumpling with your chopsticks very slowly so you don't rip off the bottom, then, place the dumpling onto your spoon with the knot side up. Your first inclination now is to stuff that whole thing in your mouth, but don't do it. Instead, bite off the knot on the top to let the steam escape, then suck out the broth. Once it's brothless, go ahead and dip it into the soy sauce and eat the skin.