Welcome to Delicious or Distressing, where we rate recent food memes, videos, and other entertainment news. Last week we discussed McDonald’s mascot Grimace becoming a queer icon.
Pepsi, forever living in the shadow of its more canonical cousin, Coke, is trying its hand at a condiment. A number of people with an apparent vested interest in the matter absolutely balked at the news on Twitter, but I’m gonna come right out and say it: I’m intrigued. Most store-bought ketchup is already like 150% sugar, and I could imagine Pepsi would lend a molasses-y profile and depth in sauce form. Sure, room for improvement in the name Pepsi Colachup, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m game.
Also this week, Trader Joe’s, notorious and beloved duper of all things edible, has potentially duped a pasta shape from a food podcast. We are not surprised. Apple (the tech company) is suing apple (the fruit). Yes, there is more nuance to the goings-on—read on to find out. Lastly, you may remember that McDonald’s implored the entire world to celebrate the birthday of its mascot, Grimace, and remarkably enough the campaign appears to be bearing fruits in strange, strange TikToks.
Here’s what else is happening in food moments on the internet this week.
Pepsi has launched a new, infused condiment
Every year, too much importance is placed upon crowning a drink of the summer, and not enough on a condiment of the summer. Espresso martini? Dirty Shirley? Snooze. I’m all about Pepsi Colachup now. It’s Pepsi’s first infused condiment, made with help from the Culinary Institute of America. It includes a “Pepsi reduction” (I love fine dining) alongside smoked tomatoes, cinnamon, oregano, onions, and ketchup. It tastes “sweet” and “citrusy” like the soda itself, according to the press release. Are you kidding me? Inject this Michelin-starred hot dog topping into my veins. I don’t care how good it really tastes; we need more brand stunts that take themselves completely seriously while being totally bonkers. My only lament is that the sauce is only available on July 4 at a few baseball stadiums across the country. If you’re at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, please have a Colachup-dog for me. 4.1/5 delicious. —Karen Yuan, culture editor
Did Trader Joe’s dupe a food podcast’s pasta?
In this house, we love Trader Joe’s. Full stop. We love the bargains, we love the continuous stream of new products, and we definitely love the easy frozen meals (for the most part). One of the absolute best things about Trader Joe’s is that she’s a scam queen—she frequently knocks off products, slaps some quirky name on them, and calls them her own. Sometimes they’re even made by the same manufacturers. Now, accusations are flying that TJ’s has copied the Vesuvio pasta shape popularized by Dan Pashman, host of food podcast The Sporkful. (TJ’s did not directly provide a comment about the claims.) It’s possible, I suppose, but Pashman and TJ’s have partnered in the past, and besides, Vesuvio pasta isn’t a novel shape. It’s existed for a long time in Italy, typically in the areas surrounding Mount Vesuvius, for which the shape is named. Is Trader Joes a copycat? Maybe, but if that means there are more sauce-catching pasta shapes on the market, I’m not complaining. I’m giving this one a swirly, semolina’d 4.8/5 delicious. —Sam Stone, staff writer
Apple is suing apple farmers
Apple, the tech giant, is playing Whac-A-Mole with apple, the fruit. The California mega-company is currently going after Les fruits Suisses, a fruit union representing 8,000-odd Swiss apple farmers, all because the organization uses a red apple emblazoned with a little white cross as its logo. The two apples in question look precisely nothing alike, and a decision by the Swiss court will take months, if not years, to land. The move is part of Apple’s global strategy to gain intellectual property rights over depictions of apples at large. As Wired reports, the brand has challenged a meal-prep app that uses a pear logo, chased down a singer-songwriter named Frankie Pineapple, and pursued a German cycling track called Apfel Route, along with plenty more nonsense battles. I can only imagine the scene at Apple HQ: staff lawyers frazzled as all hell trying to seek and destroy every single variety, shape, and shade of the fruit that exists on planet Earth. Imagine if your gazillion-dollar law degree was being used to secure the rights to a black-and-white likeness of the Granny Smith. It’s so bleak. But also, naming your whole-ass company after the most ubiquitous food on Earth is kinda dumb. This is what y’all get. Long live apple (the fruit)! 4.1/5 distressing for the technocrats. —Ali Francis, staff writer
The Grimace shake is inspiring crime scene-themed videos
The year is 2033. It has been Grimace’s birthday for 10 long, tormented years. At least, that’s the vibe behind a dark new trend: People on TikTok are filming themselves trying a sip of a Grimace shake and then, some time later, lying still on the ground covered in purply milk, as if violently murdered by Grimace himself. “The grime scene,” a TikTok user commented on one video. “I hope they catch the griminal,” another said. Another video, recalling The Blair Witch Project with its shaky cam and bad lighting, features the camera holder heavily breathing while following a trail of purple slime in a decrepit building. I said dark earlier, but these videos are kind of delightful. I’m glad people are realizing that Grimace (alongside being a queer icon, an anthropomorphic taste bud, and a Gemini) is a cosmic horror beyond our comprehension. Happy birthday, Grimace. Please don’t hurt me. 4.2/5 delicious. —K.Y.