How the Internet Ate in 2023

Bon Appétit

With a viral, highly criticized ad, Big Milk became cheugy
Milk got aggressive this year. Angered by years of alternative milks chipping away at its market share, Big Milk released a campaign helmed by Aubrey Plaza spoofing nondairy milks by facetiously promoting the fictional “wood milk.” The joke did not land. —S.S.

May

Martha Stewart dropped a Sports Illustrated cover
Martha Stewart will not be stopped. At the age of 81 she appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated‘s Swimsuit Issue as the oldest model to ever grace it. Whatever you may think of her brand, you have to appreciate a bold later-in-life swimsuit cover. —S.S.

June

The Grimace Shake became a meme, and Grimace a queer icon
Technically, Grimace has birthdays every year, but this year McDonalds decided it should be a big deal. The internet agreed, and suddenly the large purple burger mascot was deemed a queer icon. Is there anything inherently queer about Grimace? Not to my very queer and discerning eye, but who am I to deny people what they want? —S.S.

July

Lana Del Rey’s Waffle House stint baffled fans (and everyone else)
Lana Del Rey, the queen of melancholy, ditched her California daydreams for a Waffle House shift in Florence, Alabama, this summer. Wearing the brand’s blue-collared shirt and a yellow name tag, “Lana” played barista, belted out Amazing Grace with a diner, and left fans…utterly perplexed, as they’ve been by the many celebrities cosplaying normies in restaurants this year. (She was actually there hanging out with her relatives when a server offered them shirts.) —Ali Francis, staff writer

The Barbie movie inspired many extremely pink foods
An entourage of Barbie-themed merch rode the coattails of Margot Robbie’s reign this summer. The brave souls at BA dove into the plastic queen’s culinary realm by taste-testing some fuchsia-hued foods. Reviews swung from a resounding “5/5 Barbie” for the Pinkberry frozen yogurt to a “0.5/5 Barbie” for the Pasta G. Di Martino’s pennette rigate. Some fails are to be expected when the muse’s taste buds are made of vinyl and plastic. —A.F.

TikTok feasted on “girl dinner”
Thanks to TikTok creator Olivia Maher, girl dinner has transformed every random assemblage of foods into a whimsical feast. Salt-and-vinegar chips, cereal, and a trio of Starbursts? Girl dinner. Picture-perfect plates of cherry tomatoes, olives, prosciutto, burrata, and plums in olive oil? Also girl dinner. I think you get it. —A.F.

August

Tomato Girl Summer (and other food aesthetics) came into fashion
“Hot Girl Summer” walked in 2019 so [Insert Food] Girl Summer could run this year. Tomato Girl rocked linen maxis; Lemon Girl flaunted flowy dresses on her sunset jaunts; and Vanilla Girl cozied up in beige neutrals. Born innocently to teens on TikTok, the terms were swiftly taken up by big brands and sold back to…the same people who created them. Nothing kills a vibe quite so fast as a corporate marketing team. —A.F.

September

Taylor Swift’s “seemingly ranch” proved the Taylor Swift Effect on food is real
Taylor Swift embraced the reality of her mortal meat carapace by devouring chicken tenders at a Kansas City Chiefs game ft. her since-confirmed boyfriend and team tight end Travis Kelce. Her snack (the chicken, not Travis) was complete with, as a fan account observantly noted, “Ketchup and seemingly ranch!” Cue brands: Hidden Valley Ranch renamed itself “Seemingly Ranch” on X (nee Twitter, also renamed this year), Heinz unveiled a new sauce named “Ketchup and Seemingly Ranch,” and the Empire State Building social account posted a photo of the concrete phallus lit up in white and red. Unfortunately, despite our completely scientific analysis, BA cannot confirm nor deny the ranch-ness of said white goop. —A.F.

October

Not to be outdone by his partner, Travis Kelce launched frozen meals
Buoyed by boo’s culinary endeavors, aforementioned tight end Travis Kelce debuted a frozen meal line called Tracis Kelce’s Kitchen at Walmart. We can now predict with low-to-moderate accuracy what’s for dinner in the Swelce household: Defrosted burnt ends, sliced brisket, baked beans, and a hearty dollop of seemingly ranch. —A.F.

November

Red Lobster reported it lost millions in its Endless Shrimp deal
Red Lobster made its Endless Shrimp promotion a permanent fixture on the menu and unleashed chaos unto itself. For a mere $20, enthusiasts devoured limitless shrimp, boosting year-over-year traffic by 4% at the chain’s 670 locations. This was, quantitatively, too much shrimp: The seafood chain is now grappling with a $20 million shrimp-related loss. —A.F.

December

A woman chomped on a chopped finger in her Chopt salad
A Chopt customer discovered an extra serving of protein in her arugula salad: the tip of an employee’s left pointer finger, which Greenwich, Connecticut, woman Allison Cozzi found herself “chewing on.” The health department fined the Mount Kisco, New York, store $900 but Cozzi is seeking more, recently suing for “severe and serious personal injuries”—both mental and physical. —A.F.



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Author:Ali Francis, Sam Stone | Website:www.bonappetit.com

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