Pop Culture

Lindsay Lohan’s Second Act, a Morrissey Meltdown, and More (Unexpected) Places We Found Food This Week

October 21, 2016

As of late, I’ve become obsessive in my quest to “find the food angle” everywhere I look. The good news: I find a lot of food where I least expect it. Every Friday, I will present each week’s findings. Here are last week's.

Arshad Khan, the fetching chaiwalla of Islamabad, Pakistan: Earlier this week, Arshad Khan, an 18-year-old who works as a chaiwalla (chai vendor) in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, was photographed and slapped on Instagram, activating the internet's collective libido. There he is—Khan, the male analog to Aishwarya Rai, the blue-eyed Miss World winner from the South Asian subcontinent whose beauty compelled Julia Roberts to call Rai the "most beautiful woman in the world.” Khan's sudden ubiquity online fooled some netizens into thinking his beauty could provide a reprieve for an inordinately complex, unsettling dispute between India and Pakistan, if not thaw tensions between the two countries altogether. Hm. To others, though, he rapidly became a sentient metaphor for chai's ability to unite all Pakistanis. Hm.

The travels of Eric Trump: The dashing and dapper Eric Trump has stolen more than just “my heart”; he also ventured to an In-N-Out located in Las Vegas and stole some lemonade, hiding it in a receptacle meant for free water! There he was, "snapped" holding a cup rather glaringly filled with maize-hued liquid.

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Hong Kong’s very own Starbucks uncle, unfazed and statuesque as a flood raged on: Starbucks uncle, Starbucks uncle. In the midst of some ungainly floods in Hong Kong this week, a 23-year-old Hong Kong resident happened upon an older man sitting at a Starbucks in Hong Kong's Chai Wan district, his feet steeped in muddy rainwater, and took a photo of him. It circulated rapidly and feverishly. Many scavenged for greater imagistic truths in this photo—was this anonymous geriatric, for example, a "symbol" of the blasé attitude of most people who live in Hong Kong, harboring a disaffected mood towards the torrential goings-on around them? More disastrous than the flood and the musings this photo inspired is perhaps this image’s memefication; netizens with MS Paint across the territory began to situate this poor man, peering at a newspaper, against other disastrous backdrops.

Lindsay Lohan’s plan to “save" Syria's refugees: Given her remarkable, Fonda-esque fluency when it came to live-tweeting the Brexit vote, Lohan's interest in helping out Syria's displaced isn't terribly surprising. Moved to her action after visiting a Syrian refugee camp in Nizip, Turkey earlier in October, Lohan has decided to partner with German energy drink manufacturer Mintanine and send the refugees she met bottles of the drink. The methodology is more puzzling than suspect, yet Lohan has nevertheless been mocked rather ruthlessly and snidely in many corners of the internet for her endeavor. I believe her heart to be in the right place.

The hideous rumor that Pamela Anderson attempted to assassinate Julian Assange with a vegan Pret a Manger sandwich: Sigh. Stop asking whether this happened; I have already addressed it. To the sandwich mythos, I say—enough.

Morrissey's meltdown—and a vendor's backlash: Last month, Morrissey, former frontman for the Smiths who has grown increasingly more difficult defend as I've gotten older, attended Chicago's Riot Fest—with a demand. "Moz", a staunch vegan and PETA acolyte, told vendors just hours before his set was to begin that they could not sell or store meat during his performance. One understandably disgruntled vendor, Puffs of Doom, growled back and created a parody sandwich in Morrissey's likeness—the "Pork Morrissey Grilled Cheese," a gorgon of a sandwich teeming with bacon ranch mac and cheese, barbecue pulled pork, and four kinds of cheese. The vendor revealed their sincere reason for doing so this week, citing a demand from customers for a response in the form of a sandwich. If I must take a "side" in this conflict, I choose Puffs of Doom's; I have long outgrown my teenage tolerance for Morrissey’s petulance masquerading as relatable miserablism. Perhaps Morrissey will put this ordeal to song, as he has done before.

CBS’ new Candy Crush show: On Tuesday, CBS announced it had ordered a television game show version of Candy Crush, the beloved phone game, in response to apparent market demand. The live-action show calls for two participants to deploy their "wits and physical agility to compete on enormous, interactive game boards featuring next generation technology to conquer Candy Crush and be crowned the champions." I have never played Candy Crush, so I have no "take" to offer on this development. But the show, on paper, has some appeal—recall Nickelodeon's Legends of the Hidden Temple, a show with a similar premise that I watched fervently as a child. I caught a rerun a few weeks ago and was bored.

Facebook's widening reach into every crevice of the way the world lives and interacts: The Silicon Valley behemoth behind the world's most influential information network has now entered the hideously saturated domain of food delivery, providing another answer to the question that buttresses their mission: “How can we make Facebook more useful in your everyday life?” Now, those who use Facebook will be able to order food directly from restaurant pages. Amazing. I am glad the company is deploying its bountiful resources to address these matters over other, ostensibly less pressing concerns.

Okay, bye.

What did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.