Pop Culture

A Few of the Most Perplexingly Random Food Occurrences in 2016

December 26, 2016

Food is everywhere. It's just a fact. I'm not just talking about how it's underneath the cupboards or stuck beneath your couch. No. I'm talking every medium—music, television, the cinema. We polled the Food52 office about some of the most memorable food moments from 2016—weird, random, that's-just-life moments.

Here are some that came to mind from the minds of Food52ers. I'm going to sort this list chronologically, and I'll cap it at exactly seven. You'll see why soon enough. Just hang on.

1. Ben Carson's line about fruit salad.

Big Ben! Remember when he explained that he'd hypothetically choose a Supreme Court nominee based on looking at "the fruit salad of their life."

2. Obama's quip about eating "exactly 7 almonds"

Bet you're wondering why I settled on such an arbitrary, alarmingly precise number for the list. Well, here's the reason. I’ll never forget where I was when I got this NYT Now (R.I.P.) push notification in July telling me that President Obama eats exactly seven almonds every night. (Actually, I already have.) Measures them out, one by one. Little almond morsels, in his mouth. Anyway, read the article this push notification linked to, about how Obama spends his nights

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A month later, he set the record straight and revealed he doesn't really eat seven almonds every night.

3. Father John Misty's musical paean to Go-Gurt.

"Watch Father John Misty Perform a New Song About Go-Gurt and Death on Adult Swim Show," as this Pitchfork headline suggested? No thanks; I have other things to do.

Just kidding.

So I watched it. It's a song about Americans dying in the dumbest of ways, and these particular episodes all involve Go-Gurt. This, he contends, is the essence of being American—dying stupidly, with a slender sieve of yogurt in plastic by your side. Incredible. I once heard this song in person and wanted to scream.

4. The woman eating a pork bun in the middle of Typhoon Megi.

This poor Taiwanese woman, embarrassed as some photojournalist snapped her photo at the onset of a typhoon chomping on a pork bun, umbrella in shambles. What a picture. Well, folks, believe it or not, she is really not "all of us"; it's been months, and I am still myself.

5. The Chaiwala hottie of Islamabad.

Who knew that a fetching Pakistani chai vendor would've captured the hearts and minds of the South Asian netizenry, almost smoothing over flaring tensions between India and Pakistan, before his hotness spread across the globe? I didn't. But one modeling contract and many enflamed libidos later, here we are. I'm excited for next year's thinkpieces checking in with this dude after a year and ruminating on his "importance" and what "he's up to," by which I mean I'm really looking forward to writing mine. Watch this space.

6. The alleged "Internet of Things."

Recall this man's eleven-hour dalliance with a wifi kettle before he hacked it out of frustration; then imagine what he could've done in that timeframe.

7. Mariah Carey's diet of Norwegian salmon and capers.

Ah, food. Historically, it makes celebrities "just like us." And celebrity food diets have always been a fact of navel-gazing fascination. I can't help but feel we reached a fever pitch this year, which saw the revelation of some odd, somewhat distressing dietary proclivities, like Tom Brady's admission that he's never consumed a strawberry. Among the finest, though, was Mariah Carey's admission that her diet only consists of Norwegian salmon and capers; nothing more, nothing less. Candid! And so relatable. Thanks for sharing.

What a year. Ah, the memories. Take me back.

What are some perplexingly random places you saw food this year? Let us 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.