Food & Drink

The Worst Foods to Eat With a Beard, According to a Woman

ice cream with a beard
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Sandwiched between two bearded colleagues -- one named Ben, the other, Brandon -- I'm eating a strawberry ice cream cone. While usually my brainspace would be occupied with thoughts on how unremarkable strawberry ice cream is, I am instead anxious about and conscious of the cold stuff that's weeped into the bristles of my upper lip, and thoroughly aware that I look like a Cuban revolutionary.

Such is life with a beard.

As a woman who, on a regular day, happens to be non-hirsute, I eat tall, condiment-heavy sandwiches with abandon, and with little regard for leakage. A clean face is a simple tongue flick or back-of-the-hand wipe away. It is a condition I was lucky enough to be born into, which is why I felt inclined to don a fake beard and get munchin' -- to live a moment in someone else's face, and better understand the bearded experience.

But as I only wanted to check my privilege for the duration of one article/photo shoot and not actually have to live this life, I emailed and asked a few bearded fellows, "What are the most challenging foods to eat with a beard?" This gave me guidelines for what foods I should eat with my new face rug. Below, along with some bearded cohorts, I try them.

powdered donuts
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Powdered donuts

We tried two: store-bought baby donuts, and then some palm-sized jelly-filled ones I found at a food cart outside the office. My biggest takeaway here is that I need to eat Hostess Donettes more frequently, because they are truly exquisite. But also, my unreasonably long mustache was like a Swiffer Sweeper cleaning up Derek Foreal's tablescape, so that, combined with the moisture from my mouth-breathing, really lent itself to a sticky situation.

Oatmeal

"Try eating oatmeal for breakfast without getting schmutz in your beard. Literally impossible," one beardo said to unanimous agreement. I have to say, I did not find this to be that big of an issue so long as I took reasonably sized bites. All these buffoons who find eating oatmeal taxing must just be using tremendous spoons. The bigger the beard, the bigger the spoon, is what I've always said.

Egg sandwiches with running yolks

Runny yolk is hard to contain, as it runs as quickly as it hardens, and once it sets, it's terribly difficult to get out of a beard. "There's like, literally nothing worse than having egg on your face," said one fuzzy bozo. But this is challenging for me for other reasons: runny yolks are my mortal enemy, and I usually only eat eggs when the orange is mixed with the whites in either an omelet or quiche situation, so that the eggs basically just become a vehicle for cheese (but definitely not American cheese!!). So I just went ahead and took everybody's word for it, because I'm sure vomit is also hard to clean out of a beard.

chicken wings
Brandon cautiously goes for seconds. | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Chicken wings

Our wings were kind of budget, so they weren't nearly saucy enough, neither for our tastes nor for this experiment. The ranch dressing, however, was problematic. I considered the implications of buttermilk: do I eschew aesthetics and instead judge the worst foods to eat with a beard based on spoilage? How long can this dressing last in my woolly chin without refrigeration? I did not find my answer this day, because my poorly glued face-toupee fell off well before the dairy turned.

S'mores

Guys, s'mores are dumb. A perfectly browned marshmallow roasted rotisserie-style does not need to be corrupted by bargain chocolate and crackers that taste like paper grocery bags. But as my email men named it one of the worst things to eat with a beard, I had no choice but to fire up the ol' gas burner, bastardize a 'mallow betwixt some graham crackers, and shove that sucker into my shaggy face-hole. The problem here is that marshmallow sticks to all kinds of body hair even when I'm not wearing my fake beard, so you can imagine how this went for me. NOT WELL.

My taste-test confirmed what one of the beardos mentioned: the only way to get s'mores out of a beard is to shave it and start fresh. I only wear my costume beard on Tuesdays, so I'm just not gonna eat s'mores then, because shaving this marmot is obviously not an option.

Corn on the cob

Corn on the cob by itself is a tricky motherfucker, with those kernels flailing around your face and up into the muttonchops all willy-nilly and whatnot, but hit it with any kind of accoutrements -- butter, Sriracha mayo, Nutella -- and it's game over. The mustache acts as a fly trap, while the beard catches all toppings like the dollar-store sieve that's been sitting in my kitchen sink for three weeks because it's been used one too many times and now I can't clean it properly, and honestly, I think I'm just going to throw it out because who knows how to clean a sieve properly, anyway?

noodle soup
Check out Ben's form! | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Soup: noodle or otherwise

The photo panel didn't find anything too offensive about this udon except that it was super spicy, which really has nothing to do with inconveniencing hair at all. Soup was initially suggested by some of my polled colleagues, but after trying this out myself I am unconvinced this is really an issue. "Soup. Fuck soup," one said. I say, this slurping disturbance is underwhelming. Just lean over the bowl a little more.

Condiment-heavy sandwiches

"I hope I'm not alone on this… when taking a nice big bite out of a sandwich, sometimes the hairs on the edges of my mustache get caught in the bite. I end up pulling hair out of my mustache and it stings like a bitch," groused one man. "Just reconfirmed that a falafel sandwich is good and tricky, owing mainly to the hummus," said another.

Sloppy sandwiches are precarious for the non-hirsute, so I didn't have high hopes for my fat falafel sandwich. The trick is napkins. Very, very strong napkins, so you can wipe your face after each bite and not look like a total freakin' loser. It also makes the best bite, that peninsular bite that you deliberately set up to have an even layer of every sandwich topping/stuffing, even more important.

Ribs

The bone must be turned delicately to ensure that the meat is consumed without any barbecue sauce interference on the face, which is no easy feat. And BBQ sauce is frequently beard-colored, so again, napkins are yugely important here unless you don't mind smelling like a pig roast for the rest of the day. I, however, did mind because there are a lot of dogs in this office.

eating cream cheese bagels with beards
Brandon is not nearly as mad at this bagel as Ben is. | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Toasted bagel with cream cheese

A freshly toasted bagel with cream cheese was cited a number of times as the worst of all offenders, because there is little control over how the molten cheese squirts out of the sides of the sandwich. It can go anywhere! Also, because I had to hold the bagel with two hands, the wayward cream cheese covered my little fingers and made wiping excess away from the face exceedingly difficult -- I just exacerbated the problem. On the bright side, these grocery store bagels were surprisingly bitchin'.

Nachos

Listen, I'm friends with a lot of bearded people who eat nachos. I'm a real friend to bearded people who eat nachos. One even told me that a nacho's "curvature is like a snowflake. Each is different, so you never know where the cheese will drip. And sometimes you have to tilt the chip, and then BAM. Cheese all up in your 'stache." Which might be true for some, but I didn't find them to be too difficult so long as I gaped my maw wide, wide open. However, I did eat one robust one that cracked halfway into my mouth, but as my beard sits well below my bottom lip, I caught the fixings in hand before they ever touched the hairy part of my chin. I imagine most beardos do not have such luxury.

Ice cream cones

I felt the cool cream wiggle its way under my $15 real human hair mustache that's used for stage productions and it was unpleasant. Relatively it wasn't too bad, like, the time I ate questionable mozzarella sticks at a Cracker Barrel in Reading, PA and then ended up puking in a YMCA bathroom was definitely more uncomfortable, but I still wasn't into this. My face felt dirty. Mad dirty.

"Is this how all bearded men feel all the time?" I thought to myself. I'm pretty sure Ben's beard isn't applied with Cinema Secrets spirit gum adhesive so I answered my own question pretty quickly. Anyway, strawberry ice cream in a cone is definitely hard to eat with a beard. Brandon told me he eats his cones in bowls, but I cannot abide. What is the point of the cone if one must eat it with two hands? Does a girl know who she is?

napkins
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Conclusion

Having a beard made eating ice cream hard. Fuck beards, man.

Carrie Dennis is a Food & Drink editor for Thrillist. She keeps her fake beard tethered to her desk because her office has a liberal pets-at-work policy. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrrieDennnis.