Face it, if someone's a good target for assassination, they almost certainly know it. They'll expect their food to be poisoned. So instead, poison the cutlery, or the glass. That way, when they eat the proven-safe food (or pretend to eat the food they can't risk testing), they'll get the poison that way. A twist on Tampering with Food and Drink. Compare and contrast Finger-Licking Poison, where the assassin poisons non-food-related items like book pages, envelopes or postage stamps.
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Anime and Manga
- In Detective Conan, the story "Karaoke Box Murder Case" had Tatsuya Kimura being poisoned by Mari Terahara using potassium cyanide, with the poison kept on Tatsuya's jacket. The poison was applied to the place's Tatsuya was known to handle his jacket whenever he took it off, before he ate using his hands and ended up being poisoned to death.
- Done in Rappi Rangai in an attempted assassination of the first princess, Hibari, with poisoned chopsticks.
- Murena goes with the theory that the Roman Emperor Claudius was poisoned, not by the mushrooms he'd eaten but by a poisoned feather stuck down his throat in order to get him to vomit up the (supposedly venomous) mushrooms.
- Done in the Ranma ½ fanfic "Nekophilia" with chopsticks.
Film - Live Action
- In Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprentice, one of Fitz-Chivalry's assassination ploys was to poison the cutlery instead of the food.
- In The Count of Monte Cristo, it's explained that the Borgias used something like this for their inexplicable "only the intended victim dies" poisonings: the cup used has a special compartment containing the poison, but it only opens if a button is pressed on the cup. So the Borgia could drink from the cup first to prove neither the wine nor the cup was poisoned, then pass it to the target after pressing the button.
- In Feet of Clay, the Patrician is being slowly poisoned with arsenic and the Watch has to figure out how the poison is being administered. After ruling out poison in the food, Vimes wonders if the poisoner is making cutlery out of arsenic. Cheery explains this would only work if you could ignore the spoon instantly dissolving in the soup.
- In The Malloreon, Sadi manages to finally get rid of an annoying minor villain by poisoning the spoon he's going to use at a banquet.
- In Outcast of Redwall, Swartt uses this trope so he can convince Bowflegg that the wine isn't poisoned by drinking some of it straight from the bottle. He tries it on three separate targets, though the third would-be victim catches on, forcing him to find a different method of disposal.
- In Phoenix Rising, Kyri is suspicious enough of a person who offers her a drink that she only pretends to drink it; it turns out that the drink itself was fine, but the glass it was served in was enchanted to knock out the person who picked it up.
- In The Sirens of Surrentum, Locusta, a master poisoner, tells of a murder she heard about. The victim was given food with mild poison, but when they made themselves throw up using a feather they died from the lethal poison applied to the feather's tip.
- A short story in Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina had Boba Fett sharing some wine with Dengar, and putting a drug on the rim of the glass (he used a straw).
- In Burn Notice, Larry tried to kill Michael's client by spraying her fork with atropine.
- Defiance, "Everything is Broken": Stahma offers Kenya a drink from her flask when she is threatening to tell everyone about them sleeping together. Kenya is smart enough to realise that it may be poisoned and doesn't take a drink. Unfortunately, the outside of the flask was coated in poison.
- Justified has this happen in the first episode of season 2, when Mags Bennett shares a jar of her "apple pie" (i.e. moonshine) with Loretta's dad and reveals that while the apple pie wasn't poisoned, one of the glasses was. In the last episode, this happens again only to Mags herself.
- In one series of Taggart, a serial killer uses snake venom to poison his victims, and in a scene near the end of the series, it's revealed that he administers the poison by sharing a meal with the victim and poisoning the victim's spoon.
- A Game at Dinner, a recurring In-Game Novel in the The Elder Scrolls series, tells of a paranoid prince who poisons suspected spies this way, and offers them an antidote — the idea, of course, being that by taking the antidote, they'll be admitting to their treason. He lied, though. Not being certain who was his enemy, and not wanting to poison someone loyal and lose his Magnificent Bastard status, he poisoned only the so-called "antidote".
- In Wings of Dawn, Thomas' Poison-and-Cure Gambit involves faking giving his allies-of-questionable-allegiance a slow-acting poison, and rationing out the antidote to keep them alive so that they can't betray him anyway. Since none of them trust him, either, though, he's not allowed to prepare the food — but he is allowed to set out the plates.
- Emperor Nero had Britannicus poisoned despite his food being checked by a food taster. Instead of poisoning the wine he was drinking, the assassin added the poison to the water used to cool the wine after Britannicus felt it was too hot.
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