Eating elbow to elbow in a boodle fight tradition

My eight-year stint in the academy exposed me to the cadet tradition of the boodlefight. This boodle fight thing is fun. I did this many times.

Boodles, is a PMA cadet lingo to refer to food such as noodles, chocolate, candy, cake, ice cream or any other eatables. A boodle fight therefore is a gathering where boodles for a major meal, usually consisting of rice and one or more of the following: pancit, bihon, noodles, sardines, adobo, lechon, tuyo, fried fish, etc, and topped with fresh and dreadfully hot chilis; are laid in a long straight line on newspapers or banana leaves and if the sponsor can afford, aluminum foil.

I like the fact that there's juice ready to down our food.
I like the fact that there’s juice ready to down our food.

The affair demands that the participants will eat with their bare hands, otherwise the essence of the tradition is lost. Second there are no chairs, everyone will have to stand closely to each other and learn to maneuver in the process.

Sometimes a pail of water and soap is prepared so that everyone dips their dirty hands into the pail, the soapy water of which often turns brown even before the last person’s turn. If water is scarce, no cleaning ritual happens besides, soldiers have strong immune system, they hardly catch viruses. The only thing they battle are people and not the invisible microorganisms.

One of the standing rules of this eating tradition is that a grace before meals is offered before a long queue of hungry mouths taking their vantage position in front of the table or the floor or ground where the boodles are set. As soon as the marcher or officer orders the start of the meal, everyone shouts “fight” and the battle begins.

Elbow to elbow simulating a real ‘fight,’ the hungry participants assemble a ball of food with their hands big enough to ram into their mouths. Half the fun of this celebration is when somebody unintentionally or intentionally flings food particles into themselves or others. Everyone is expected to consume everything with utmost pleasure. But that’s not a problem because the participants – the cadets have truck driver’s appetite.

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