Welcome to Delicious or Distressing, where we rate recent food memes, videos, and other entertainment news. Last week we discussed Martha Stewart potentially stealing a recipe from an employee in the 1980s.
Every masterpiece has its imitators. There’s the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the seven wonders of the world. Some 4,500 years later, our great artisan culture has now spawned the Doritos pyramid in its image—a wonder of the Vegas strip. The Super Bowl, an annual master class in snack capitalism, is responsible for this monument, seeing the Luxor pyramid (a.k.a. a hotel and casino) boast a gigantic nacho chip on one of its triangular faces. How lucky we are to be alive in the 21st century.
Also this week, Ina Garten announced slyly via her Instagram bio that she’s cooking up a new memoir. Keith Lee, upon visiting a food truck in Texas, asked that a hefty $4,000 tip be split among its workers—and the owner is under fire for failing to do just that. Lastly, TikTok is selling premade versions of its viral recipes, such as that feta pasta of yesteryear.
Read more below on this week’s food news around the internet.
Something to know about the Luxor in Las Vegas is that the hotel is apparently haunted—over the years it’s seen a number of murders and unexplained deaths. Now, all the spirits of The Luxor probably have to make peace with the fact that they’re resting in a gigantic Dorito. As part of a Super Bowl campaign, one face of the Luxor pyramid has been plastered with a huge molten orange Nacho Cheese Dorito. Like a cheesy Eye of Sauron, it overlooks the Vegas Strip as part of an “abject snack-ification” of the area, as Eater’s Janna Karel put it. Cheetos has also set up a wedding chapel where people can get married by a Chester hologram, Tostitos is hosting a taco pop-up, and Pepsi is offering a booth where visitors confess their darkest secrets to Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua in a bid to win merch and game tickets. (Okay!) Compared to these examples, the Luxor Dorito honestly seems…sensible? The pyramid face is triangular, a Dorito chip is triangular. You can see the vision, although I personally would have gone with Cool Ranch. Of course, the hotel ghosts are probably going to haunt the Doritos marketing people forever and ever. As far as Super Bowl snack ads go, though, it actually makes sense: If I walked past a 357-foot Dorito constantly, I’d want to eat a Dorito, probably. I also might never want to see a Dorito again. 3.5/5 deliciously and distressingly orchestrated. —Karen Yuan, culture editor
She needs no introduction, and she also apparently needs no flashy memoir announcement. Ina Garten, beloved heroine of food television going on decades, quietly whispered to the masses that she has a new memoir on the way—by plugging the release date, October 1 of this year, in her Instagram bio. It’s a power move befitting Ina, who is rightfully comfortable enough in her fame to announce the move in such demure fashion. Obviously, there is a PR team behind the book, and I can only imagine that the actual release will be accompanied by a press junket, as these things go. But it’s a 4.4/5 delicious tidbit nonetheless. —Li Goldstein, digital production assistant
A food truck in Dallas is getting heat after failing to split a $4,000 tip left by Keith Lee among its workers
The nationwide Keith Lee food tour continues—and where Keith goes, controversy follows. His enormous TikTok following means that basically any restaurant he posts about blows up over night—dubbed the Keith Lee Effect—and it often saves restaurants on the brink of closure. Also known for random acts of generosity, he’s in the news again after giving away $4,000 in a video. He asked Kim Viverette, owner of the Sweetly Seasoned food truck in Dallas, to charge his card for an extra $4,000—according to some, a barber and braider working by the food truck were each supposed to get a thousand, and Viverette was meant to get $2,000. In his video, Lee told Viverette to “give it to each other however y’all feel necessary,” but Viverette did not give out any of the money. Lee later clarified that he meant that Viverette could disperse the funds through whichever mode was best—“y’all could send it out through Apple Pay, through Zelle, through Cash App, through check, through cash,” Lee said. “I thought and I think that’s a very clear statement.” One he goes on to argue that was intentionally misconstrued. Commenters spammed the (apparently since deleted) social media pages of Viverette and her food truck with critiques, even after Viverette’s son posted an apology video stating that the money’s been given out. It sounds like everyone got their money in the end, but this whole story is thoroughly upsetting. 4.6/5 distressing. —Sam Stone, staff writer
I don’t need to tell you that over the past few years, TikTok has exploded with recipes. Some are so feral they’re designed to piss you off. Others are filmed with identical sounds that are time-tested for virality. And yes, sure, some are delicious. I’m not a hater but chances are you also scroll on by most of them…or you’re fatigued by the onslaught and still not sure what’s for dang dinner. It’s all well and good if this chaos stays on TikTok, I guess. Only now its dizzying, warp-speed trend cycle is also going to be infiltrating your real life too.
TikTok teamed up with its top food content creators and Virtual Dining Concepts, a delivery-only restaurant incubator, to bring its most popular recipes to DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub in partnership with the local restaurants that are game to cook them. Creators’ Kitchen is available in 30 states already and offers dishes like the Chopped Italian Sandwich, Fried Lasagna, and Baked Feta Pasta, which a People writer gently implied was mid. (It was apparently “less creamy than the at-home version,” which is really the entire point of eating molten feta.) I’m all for people getting their bags, which I assume and hope the featured creatives are, but I’m worried. This is the kind of top-down dissemination that flattens culture and perpetuates sameness. What’s wrong honey? You’ve barely touched your TikTok scampi. I’m rating this a sizzling 4.2/5 distressing. —Ali Francis, staff writer
Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit
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