“There are many points at which one’s understanding of reality could conceivably start to slip while watching a stranger on the internet construct a pie out of Spaghetti-Os. It could be when the cook, a young woman named Janelle Elise Flom, holds up her container of garlic powder to the camera in the exact same way that YouTube makeup artists introduce a lip gloss. It could be when she adds a splash of milk, to make things ‘juicy.’ For me, it is when she uses her forearms to mash butter and granulated garlic into slices of bread that will form the pie’s top crust, and then lets her arms slip unwashed back into the sleeves of her pristine white sweater…
When you see anything online, it is prudent to ask yourself at least one question before committing to a reaction: Is this a joke? From the Spaghetti-Os pie video alone, it’s hard to know. I reached out to Flom, but she didn’t respond. I watched the video again and again, looking for details that would make it clear whether people on Twitter, who were largely taking it at face value, were getting trolled. Flom plays the scene totally straight, discussing the pie in the buoyant, slightly conspiratorial tone of someone demonstrating a life hack, but she doesn’t cut or taste the pie once it comes out of the oven—is that a tell? I had seen worse food videos. Had I seen worse food videos…
Disgusting food goes viral for the same reason you ask whoever is close by to smell the awful, forgotten thing you just found in the back of the fridge. By the millions, people voluntarily look at things they find revolting, over and over again, before gleefully spreading the experience to others. The cycle continues—more people document themselves trying out the offending recipes, the sense of communal disgust expands—until another video emerges to briefly obliterate our understanding of how other humans eat when the cameras are off. But the mystery here is really about us: Why can’t we look away?”
Amanda Mull, the writer of the piece, points a finger at BuzzFeed, which has an influential brand they called Tasty. Tasty has an aesthetic that is often the inspiration for these are they a joke or are they just gross videos.
It’s up to you to decide whether these are legitimate attempts at making a yummy dish.
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