Delicious Doesn’t Always Mean Pretty

Excerpt from this article:

I’m still not sure precisely why, but a couple of months ago I decided I wanted to come up with a chicken recipe that would go viral on social media.

O.K., fine. I do know why. I was just too embarrassed to admit it outright: I was jealous of the New Yorker food correspondent Helen Rosner’s blow-dryer roast chicken. And every recipe the Times food columnist Alison Roman has ever written. So I wanted to throw my hat into the ring. With a chicken recipe. Because everyone (besides vegetarians, I guess) likes chicken, right?

What emerged from the oven about an hour later looked beautiful to me, but every mother thinks her children are gorgeous. In truth, I knew it wasn’t destined for a life of hashtags and retweets. It just wasn’t photogenic enough.

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The Joy of #Cooking Why are Instagram-famous recipes so impossible to resist?

Excerpt from this article:

Until mid-November, #TheStew was an Instagram hashtag primarily devoted to Boston hip-hop producers, filled with dimly lit shots of guys hunched over their laptops. (“Stew” is a play on “studio.”) Very quickly, though, the images featured on the hashtag transformed into shot after shot of actual stew, milky and yellow, decorated with a few chickpeas and a scattering of fresh herbs. Every image was a version of the same stew, a recipe for Spiced Chickpea Stew With Coconut and Turmeric by New York Times food columnist Alison Roman, and if you follow urbane, food-loving millenials on social media, you probably thought that everyone in the world decided to make it for dinner this winter.

In less than two months, #TheStew has taken on a life of its own, and has no doubt entered the regular cooking rotation for numerous home cooks around the country. In the days when cookbooks, food magazines, and product labels were the primary spots that people found new recipes, it could take months or even years for ideas to become universally beloved household staples… But in the age of digital word of mouth, you only need to see the same recipe pop up on your feed so many times before you feel compelled to try it — and then of course to post about it yourself. The Instagram snowball effect means a recipe can enter the home-cooking canon in a matter of days, not years. Call it the joy of hashtag cooking.

I Found the Best Burger Place in America. And Then I Killed It.

man standing outside Stanich's

Excerpt from this article:

In my office, I have a coffee mug from Stanich’s in Portland, Oregon. Under the restaurant name, it says “Great hamburgers since 1949.” The mug was given to me by Steve Stanich on the day I told him that, after eating 330 burgers during a 30-city search, I was naming Stanich’s cheeseburger the best burger in America. That same day, we filmed a short video to announce my pick. On camera, Stanich cried as he talked about how proud his parents would be. After the shoot, he handed me the mug, visibly moved. “My parents are thanking you from the grave,” he said, shaking my hand vigorously. When I left, I felt light and happy. I’d done a good thing.

Five months later, in a story in The Oregonian, restaurant critic Michael Russell detailed how Stanich’s had been forced to shut down. In the article, Steve Stanich called my burger award a curse, “the worst thing that’s ever happened to us.” He told a story about the country music singer Tim McGraw showing up one day, and not being able to serve him because there was a five hour wait for a burger. On January 2, 2018, Stanich shut down the restaurant for what he called a “two week deep cleaning.” Ten months later, Stanich’s is still closed. Now when I look at the Stanich’s mug in my office, I no longer feel light and happy. I feel like I’ve done a bad thing.

And that fact is the thing I can’t quite get past. That a decision I made for a list I put on the internet has impacted a family business and forever altered its future. That I have changed family dynamics and relationships. And it could very easily happen again.

I’ve been asking myself what the other side of this looks like. How do I do this better? Is there a way to celebrate a place without the possibility of destroying it? Or is this just what we are now — a horde with a checklist and a camera phone, intent on self-producing the destruction of anything left that feels real, one Instagram story at a time?

 

Edinburgh nightclub meme: What was being said

Excerpt from this article:

Actually, the two were at school together and hadn’t seen each other for a while – the now famous photo was taken as they were having a quick catch up.

Lucia admits she was pretty much ready to go home – which explains her expression.

And have they learnt anything from the experience?

“I probably wouldn’t have worn that shirt if I’d known I was going viral, I guess,” said Patrick.

“But… nah, not really. It’s just one of those things.”

Lucia said: “I’m just glad I did my make-up that night.”

‘Too pure for this world’: how unfiltered joy became the internet’s antidote

Excerpt from this article:

We live in a foul world that incentivises the exploitation of the many and the indulgence of the few. A world that condemns people to endless, dehumanising work and invasive unfreedom, even (and especially) in what is sold to us as pleasure.

And what’s the opposite of foul? Pure.

You might have seen pure stuff on social media: stories of people spontaneously helping others, innocently misreading social situations, or being playful for no reason. Dogs are way too pure – especially when they do “human” things, like “paying” for treats using leaves. Interspecies friendships are pure.

Cheering on your ex is pure. Being delighted by babies in Pope costumes is pure. Children’s emotions, beliefs and gestures are pure. Using your acting skills to grant a dying boy’s wish is pure. Gentle, creative, non-competitive activities are pure.

Perhaps the pure operates as a genuine circuit-breaker: a welcome moment of surprised relief. Dads are pure because men are foul. Old people’s texts are pure because young people’s experiences of text messaging are foul. Everyday heroes are pure because celebrities and admired leaders turn out to be foul.

Crucially, the pure is redemptive and liberating.

“Yanny” or “Laurel”: the audio clip that’s tearing the internet apart

Excerpt from this article (and here’s another):

Like a dress that’s either gold and white or blue and black, the two seemingly unrelated words “Yanny” and “Laurel” are threatening to split the internet in half.

On Tuesday, Cloe Feldman, a social media influencer and vlogger, posted a seemingly obvious question on her Instagram story, which she then cross-posted to Twitter: “What do you hear? Yanny or Laurel,” accompanied by a recording of a computerized voice that is clearly saying “Laurel.”

The viral story of Taiwan Jones, who learned he failed his midterms on Twitter, doesn’t add up

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In other words, the “Taiwan Jones” account that went super viral was very likely changed from a previous Twitter handle to match that of the student described in the midterm tweet. It’s a well known, relatively easy trick that shows up again and again in dubious viral Twitter moments. It also works pretty well, as the hundreds of thousands of retweets on the “Taiwan Jones” reply show.