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How to Eat a Sunflower Seed photo

So first you bite it?

—You have to bite it like this, between your back teeth. Position it longways with your tongue.

—Like this?    

—That's flatways. You have to get it like this with your tongue, so you can crack it down the faultline. Otherwise you'll end up with a mouthful of husk shards.

—Like this?

—That's flatways. You've got to prop it up with your tongue between your teeth like this. Get it longways. Crack it down the faultline. Like this.

—How'd you do that?

—I just told you, with my tongue. Once it's cracked you're going to want to use your tongue and teeth to separate the husk halves from the seed. Spit out husks like this. Chew. Swallow seed.

—How'd you do that?

—I just told you. Once you graduate from that you can start introducing multiple seeds into your mouth, keeping all but one on one side of your mouth, the storage side, transferring the one to be cracked to the other side, the dehusking side. Like this.

—That many? Are you sure?

—Transfer one over like this. Crack down the faultline like this. Separate husk halves with tongue and teeth. Spit husk like this. Chew. Swallow. Repeat.

—Where'd you learn that? From YouTube?

—No. Okay, you're up. 

—Okay, here goes.

—Just one to start. Longways, remember. That's flatways.

—Like this?

—Crack down faultline.


—Separate husk halves with tongue and teeth. Spit husk. Use your hand if you need to.

—Ugh. Like this?

—You got some on your nose. Wipe.

—But there's nothing left in my mouth.

—Because you spit out the husk and seed together. Look. It's in your hand.

—Here. Give me one.

—Here. Crack longways.

—Okay. Ugh.

—Separate husk from seed with tongue and teeth.

—Like this?

—Spit. Use your hand.


—Use your hand if you need to. Look, you've got some on your nose. Wipe.

—Where's the seed?

—You spit it out.

—Okay. Ugh. Here. Give me one.

—Here. Position longways. Crack. Separate husk.

—It's all over my mouth.

—Then spit it out. You don't want to swallow the husk. Look, you've got some on your nose. Wipe. I'll get it.

—Ugh. Dad.

—Here. Longways. That's flatways.



—Like this?

—Look. You cracked it flatways now you've got husk shards all over you mouth.


—Spit. Use your hand.

—The whole thing?

—Now wipe. I'll get it.

—Dad. Ugh. Here.

—Longways. Crack.

—Like this?

—No. Spit. Use your hand.

—Is there any on my nose?

—Wipe. Use hand. I'll get it.

—This is hard. Ugh. Dad. Here.

—You want to try again?

—What if I just keep one in my mouth and not worry about the cracking? I could suck on it for a while then spit it out. The guys in the dugout will think I'm doing it right because they won't check on the ground to see if there's still a seed inside, will they?


—You think that'll work?

—Still husk shard on your nose. Wipe. I'll get it.

—Ugh. Dad. Don't. Here.

—One more?

—Maybe I'll practice just sucking on it.


—It tastes gross. Ugh.

—Spit it out.

—Gross. Maybe I'll just chew gum instead. Will you teach me how to blow a bubble?


image: Aaron Burch