I am usually recalcitrant about updating my phone, but today my full-time job as a food writer mandated it: Apple's iOS 10.2 is finally available, and with it comes a battalion of new food and drink emoji.
Yes, it's true. Apple's thrown some new, fresh faces into a canon once dominated by such usual suspects as the peach and eggplant. Spiced it up a little. Added some jazz. These pixelated cuties have become battlegrounds of tribalistic passion in recent years. Consider the peach emoji, entangled in one of the more compelling cultural questions of our era: does this look like a butt?
So, some good news: I ranked the new food and drink emojis. (Please note that I didn't include the new chef emojis, but because you asked, I think they are all good—though we still need a chef kiss emoji. What's the holdup?) Take a swig of your cuppa and hold on tight, because here we go.
What the hell is this? I don't want this lumpen, starchy, tuberous crop in my digital arsenal! Fried, mashed, give me those "taters"; in what conversation would I use this? Ridiculous.
Yawn. The baguette. This one feels lazy—some diagonal stroke of beige with minimal shading, lifeless and indistinct. Next!
Yikes. I know what you're thinking. Uhhhh, do you mean a pita? Yes. But Emojipedia refers to this as "stuffed flatbread," so that's what I'll call it. Does it even matter? It's near impossible for me to tell what this represents when my face is mere inches away from my screen; I had to put on my glasses to figure out what this was. It doesn't even look tasty!
Salads, salads. Let's say it again. Salads. I prefer mine to be as sparse as possible—dressing-free, lettuce just washed, a real "palate cleanser." Decorated with a cherry tomato or two, maybe some cucumbers or carrots. This emoji, I'm afraid, embodies everything I tend to dislike about the traditional salad. Tomatoes? Onions? No, that's not what I said! Give me some lettuce you just washed under the tap and put it in a bowl. That's what I like.
Yeah, sure. It's pretty, all right—but I so wish Apple tried harder to distinguish this egg from the Twitter egg, that harbinger of anonymous toxicity that doles out harassment with casual, reckless abandon. There were a lot of options here for the egg. Why not show a little yolk? Who's afraid of some cleavage? Huh?
I know, I know—it's really paella, not "shallow pan of food," as Emojipedia calls it! Funny name. And it sure is shallow. It looks rich and flavorful, and yet there's a lot going on here. This emoji is trying to do too much. Bit off more than it could chew.
Ah, yes. Now we're getting somewhere. These are delightful. Remind me of being at a party. Clink a glass or two. Share some champagne with a friend. Give a toast. Say something you shouldn't have said. Get in a fight. Throw your drink at someone. Takes me back to my wildest days.
Ha. No "glass half full" here, folks. This one's unimpeachably pretty. And it's versatile, too. Two-percent, almond, soy—it can be anything you'd like. The glass of milk of your dreams.
I'm loving that shiny square of butter on top, but I wish the stack were shorter! Subtract a pancake. Yes, that would've been good. That's my only complaint—my only gripe.
I'm more bullish on bacon than most, yet not even I can deny the imagistic charge of these two wavy slabs, waiting to sizzle on your stove and stink up your kitchen and clothes. Careful! Don't touch it! It's a hot one.
Hey, you over there! In the peanut gallery! Knock it off. "Take me out to the ballgame" is right, folks—can't you just imagine a vendor throwing these babies at your face while you're watching some sports? Guys being guys. Love it.
There she is. Finally. Welcome. It's "the avo" you've been waiting for, and boy, is she a sight to see—voluptuous and ovular, seed spherical and luminous. She's got charisma.
I don't like croissants in real life. They're terribly cumbersome to eat in public, and usually suffuse themselves into my wardrobe when I didn't ask them to. No longer! This croissant emoji is perfect for someone like me. It's buttery and shapely, generously browned, tanned in all the right places. And it doesn't get on my mink.
Folks, what we've got here is a beautiful image of a cucumber mid-slice, green medals falling handsomely onto the foreground. And the detail! Squint your eyes and look at that prickly skin of this gourd. Oh, baby.
"There's nothing I like more than a nice glass of whiskey after a hard day of work," a lot of men have said. This one's for you, guys. Take it straight. On the rocks? Please. No ice. Apple's "poured one out" for you.
It's...it's perfect. This is a perfect digital carrot. No discoloration, nothing. I don't know what to say. Excuse me.
This one has verisimilitude, baby. It's everything you'd want from an emoji. Sleek, subtle. The works. It's the fantasy of the fleshy, green kiwi with a touch of realism—look at that brown fur coating.
And, well, I'm an art critic now.
What's your favorite new food emoji? Let us know in the comments.