From Yum to Yuck

Illustration by Erik Carter. Photographs by Sung Won Yoon

Excerpt from this article:

Earlier this year, a video called ‘‘Korean Girls Taste American Snacks’’ appeared online. It featured the reactions of young women as they sampled popular American junk food like Pop-Tarts and s’mores-flavored Goldfish crackers. …

But it wasn’t a one-hit wonder, or a fluke — the video is part of a larger trend of culinary voyeurism that involves coaxing unsuspecting volunteers into trying unfamiliar food items and then filming their bewilderment.

…These videos are the descendants of a much older food meme in which toddlers are recorded tasting something intense for the first time — lemons, say — so we can witness their comically grimacing faces. It appears that there’s a universal appeal in watching someone encounter something entirely new and strange, especially if the viewer is already intimately familiar with that experience. Perhaps that’s because this Internet phenomenon works best when it takes our mundane rituals out of their usual context and turns them into an intoxicating spectator sport.

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