Let the kids go Conan – "Barbarian Night"

December 23, 2014  
Categories: Op-Eds

We like to crush our enemies, see them driven before us, and of course hear the lamentations of their women as much as the next guy. But that’s not all that’s best in life. Spending time with your spawn, the spawn of your siblings and your those of your friends should never be foregone. Today we’re going to let our wretched editor tell you about something he does with his minions on occasion. And maybe it would suit your progeny to feed them in a chaotic and entertaining way before sending them out to “…tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under their sandalled feet…” Mad Duo



Barbarian Night

I’m not sure how it all started, but the first one I can remember was at least a decade ago. My spawn and his friend loved it. The next time we invited nieces and nephews and other flotsam of the family and neighborhood. They loved it too. The tradition continues to this day.

The idea is pretty simple.

Rally your minions. Prepare a meal and put it in front of them (starving them for a few days prior the way you would a pit-fighting dog is never a bad idea). Let them eat BUT…allow them no utensils. Everything must be eaten by hand. They have to tear off chunks of chicken (the drumsticks always go first), rip away pieces of bread  and smear butter on it with their fingers…you get the idea.

The pictures you see here are from our most recent Barbarian Night, wherein several chickens, a couple pounds of fried potatoes, much corn on the cob, several loaves of warm bread and a couple ice cream pies were savagely ripped asunder and devoured.

Watching one kid slop fistfuls of fried potatoes onto other kids’ plates was worth the price of admission itself.

Barbarian Night 11 - Feasting

Be forewarned: it will, as you might expect, be extremely messy. That, of course, is entirely the point (see below for some lessons learned).  There’s really not much more to it. I have a few suggestions for you based on hard experience, if you are interested.

1. Make sure Household-6 (or the Residential Sergeant Major, whatever you call her) is not home. She may say she’s down with Barbarian Night and may even help prepare the feast, but when push comes to shove and they’re wearing as much as they’re eating she will be unable to retain her equanimity.

Boiled down, that means No moms allowed. This might sound like an unfair requirement. Perhaps it is, but life ain’t fair.

You’ll just have to trust me that it’s necessary.

Grunts: equanimity.

2. Stick with your basic beef/poultry/pork for your main course, whether turkey legs or a pig with an apple in its mouth. Whatever, just so long as it’s the charred flesh of something that had a parent. We did it once with spaghetti. It was a blast, but the carnage afterward wasn’t pretty.

Barbarian Night 1 - so it begins

3. Knives should be optional based on age. Sure, barbarians used daggers, sgian-dubhs and the like to carve off the occasional aurochs haunch, but in the fog of war that is a multiple child Barbarian Night it’s best not to tempt fate with Ka-Bars. This is not to say that watching your kid carve into a pork loin with a big fixed blade isn’t cathartic of course, it is. However, there is something to be said for watching them tear bloody gobbets off with their teeth. Even if they have to do it from a roast you’ve hacked into more manageable pieces.

4. If you can get mugs or tankards to drink out of, do it. If not, stick with glass bottles. I’m not sure why but that’s always the most popular.

5. Playing a soundtrack by Basil Poledouris or Hans Zimmer in the background is optional but highly recommended.

Barbarian Night 16 - Feasting

6. Ice cream or frozen desserts may seem problematic but trust me – the feasters will persevere.

Anyway, this isn’t the most important op-ed or socially significant article we’ve ever run but we thought you might be interested. If you have the chance over the next couple weeks while the kids are out of school, give Barbarian Night a try. You’ll probably have a great time and I know they will.



Tango Yankee Chip animated

An attitude of gratitude is never a bad thing.


Barbarian Night 3 - caught starting early

I caught this one starting early.

Barbarian Night 10 - Feasting Barbarian Night 8 - Feasting Barbarian Night 7 - FeastingBarbarian Night 15 - FeastingBarbarian Night 17 - FeastingBarbarian Night 19 - FeastingBarbarian Night 20 - Feasting Barbarian Night 6 - Feasting Barbarian Night 5 - Feasting Barbarian Night 4 - Feasting

Barbarian Night 25 - Feasting Barbarian Night 27 - Feasting Barbarian Night 28 - Feasting Barbarian Night 21 - Feasting Barbarian Night 22 - Feasting Barbarian Night 23 - Feasting

Barbarian Night 30 - the aftermath


Tango Yankee Chip

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About the Author:

Reeder Profile Picture 5Someone has to corral the writing team, handle business expenses and bail the Mad Duo (and their minions) out of jail. For years the Pentagon and the International Association of Chiefs of Police sought an impeccable man to lead the pedagogic and frequently obstreperous team of Breach Bang Clear writers. They needed someone charismatic, a warrior, able to maintain mental acuity under the worst stressors Courage, integrity, cunning, tact, and decisiveness.

Unfortunately, the program suffered severe budget cuts so they ended up with David Reeder.

The Mad Duo’s Chief Wretched Flunky and Breach-Bang-Clear’s HMFIC. An LEO for many years and former AF Security Forces SNCO, his mastery of tactical sesquipedalianism is unmatched in modern times. He’s a self-professed POG who taught MOUT at the Bold Lighting Urban Warfare School and later combat tracking to members of all branches. As a LEO he worked patrol, training, SWAT and counter-narcotics and was on the OC-evaluation team at the National Homeland Security Training Center. You can read more about him here.

 Reeder Profile Picture 4




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David Reeder

David Reeder

About the Author


  1. MK262 Mod1

    Simply awesome!

    There is NO better way to spend some precious moments with the platoon.

    I am unabashedly going to steal this idea. My young recruit is a solo soldier so we may have to bring in a few of his buddies to make it more sporty.

    I’m sure you score a year’s worth of cool points for Dad every time you pull this off. You kids will carry those moments with them forever.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Chad

    That looks like a great time to be had by all. I know the food fights in the past have been great, but the clean up sucks.

    Merry Christmas to All!

  3. Doug Crawford

    Pretty cool idea. Need to turn the grandkids loose with this.

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