Unsurprisingly, several of this year’s memes were political. From #TacoTrucksonEveryCorner to Veep Joe Biden’s love affair with ice cream, it was a year ripe for eating and politicking. Television inspired viral food too, from Eleven’s Eggo waffles to The Great British Bake Off’s soggy bottom. Here’s a look at this year’s best food memes.
10. Trump Tomato
Numerous Trump food memes emerged this year, but the Trump tomato was easily the most colorful. Television personalities, comedians and just plain old citizens began to refer to Trump’s bizarrely-tanned face as tomato-hued, and a protester even threw two of the fruits at Trump at an Iowa Trump rally, inspiring the internet’s love. Zeri Deemy captured the zeitgeist with this Instagram image of Trump’s face within a tomato.
9. Luke’s Diners Invade America
Instagram lit up on October 5 with photos of Luke’s Diners across the nation in celebration of the upcoming Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Grumpy lifesize Luke cardboard cutouts flooded Instagram and Snapchat, with lovers of the show pointing to the sign that declared, “No Manbuns.” The famous Luke’s sign from the set was tacked up outside stores, and Instagrammers shared selfies with free coffee in Luke’s mugs. One coffee shop in Brooklyn featured an employee who actually dressed in Luke attire, complete with a plaid shirt and a backward cap. If only Michel had been there to offer fashion commentary.
8. PB&J is the New Grilled Cheese
When Bon Appetit fumbled the pho ball in September, comedian Jenny Yang responded brilliantly with her own instructional video on how to make and eat peanut butter and jelly. The parody irreverently skewered the notion that pho is a new, trendy item or that a casual food like pho would be so persnickety in its stylings, and the video went viral.
7. Eleven’s Leggo My Eggo
Eggo Waffles are a distinct part of the Stranger Things fandom. From the bloody nose to the pink dress, Eggos are unequivocally entwined with Eleven’s journey. She spent her life locked up and, once out, quickly bonded with kids her age. Eggos are easy, kid-friendly and culturally relevant. When offered, Eleven finally tasted childhood, literally and figuratively. Understandably, she refused to let go. Her adoration of Eggos is so pure, which makes for comedic moments and relatable memes (like this origin story for Leslie Knope that makes perfect sense). We get it, El, Eggos are delicious af and we wouldn’t want to let them go either. (Kristina Uriegas-Reyes)
6. The Food Baby
Foodbaby #2 has arrived, and Yelper Mike C., who in 2015 had just one Foodbaby to arrange napping or clowning behind his food, spent 2016 deep in double trouble, noshing on Voodoo Doughnuts and Neopolitan pizza with the pair. Chau told us that his 137k followers are particularly fond of regramming his baby-and-pizza Instagram photos. With promotional offers galore from food purveyors, it turns out that dining out and making sure both kids stay in the picture is key.
5. No Context Bake Off
Photo courtesy of No Context Bake Off
It’s the last season with the witty, beloved co-hosts Mel and Sue, and judge Mary Berry. But dozens of gems, intentional and unintentional, have been unearthed by the trio, and a Twitter called “No Context Bake Off” started this year to show them off. From a baker murmuring, “It just doesn’t feel as firm as it did at home” to Mary Berry’s squinting, politely British, shade-throwing expressions, the Twitter presents a whole other story out of context that fans can’t get enough of.
4. The Veep’s Ice Cream Obsession
The meme world generated a rare collection of totally adorable dialogue-driven memes this year surrounding the apparently genuine love and joy that characterizes Joe Biden and Barack Obama’s friendship, including a shot of the two eating ice cream together, but it’s the Veep who’s the real maniac for ice cold dessert. From celebrating National Ice Cream Day to sharing a cone with Jimmy Fallon, Joe is America’s number one ice cream fan, and the internet loves him for it. From Barack telling the ice cream truck to stop for Joe to this IDGAF gangster known as our Vice Prez, America loves Joe as much as Joe loves ice cream.
“My name is Joe Biden and I love ice cream,” the Veep said at an event commending changes in overtime laws at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. “You think I’m kidding; I’m not. I eat more ice cream than the three other people you’d like to be with, all at once.” Ah, Classic Joe. A Tumblr has even been served up in honor of Joe and his ice cream obsession. (Laura Leavitt)
3. Bone App the Teeth/Bone Apple Tea
When a post accidentally autocorrected from “bon appetit” to “bone app the teeth,” Instagram went crazy. With 10,991 posts to date, the viral meme has gone to extreme lengths, sending up social media obsession’s with upscale cuisine and zealous food photography by posting images like waffles drenched in purple dish soap. Slant rhymes and faux autocorrects caption many of the posts (i.e. “choke let chew rose” instead of “chocolate churros” or “mack jabroni” instead of “macaroni”). Vloggers can’t get enough of all the memes. Suffice to say that the meme has produced some of the most ill-lit and unappetizing food photos since Martha Stewart’s early days.
2. Taco Trucks on Every Corner
Don’t cross the super PAC of taco lovers, a powerful social media consortium: as of this writing, the #TacoTrucksonEveryCorner meme merits 7,277 Instagram posts, and is still going months after co-founder of Latinos for Trump Marco Gutierrez declared that rampant immigration could lead to a glut of taco purveyors on every corner of America. America rejoiced at the notion, creating a movie clip mashup of classic American protagonists responding with cheers, a video of Forrest Gump sprinting to his local taco truck, and animated gifs of raining tacos.
1. Pet or Food?
Image by Karen Zack
Could Fido be a meme star? Following on the heels of the popular #CatorCroissant meme, graphic designer Karen Zack, @teenybiscuit on Twitter, has created a series of pet-or-food images to rival Magic Eye graphics. The trippy similarities in #PuppyorBagel, #ChihuahuaorMuffin, #ShibaorMarshmallow, and #LabradoodleorFriedChicken are visual delights that keep us waiting for Zack’s next mashup meme for our 2017 list.