Welcome to Delicious or Distressing, where we rate recent food memes, videos, and other entertainment news. Last week we discussed Hillshire Farm recalling 15,000 pounds of smoked sausage.
Her silence has been broken; the presses, in turn, stopped. Her, of course, refers to the ever-elusive alt-pop matriarch Lana Del Rey. Her silence—it was deafening—followed her brief, almost fantastical stint at an Alabama Waffle House, where she was captured working a shift. The “why?” of it all hung over everyone like a rain cloud. Had it not been for the internet’s permanent paper trail, we might have wondered if we collectively imagined it. Thank God: Lana has emerged to shut down rumors and hydrate our parched selves with an answer—in short, it’s a miraculous and somehow equally confounding sequence of events.
Also this week, Kraft hopped on the recall train for 83,000 boxes of its cheese Singles due to a potential choking hazard. Starbucks is also facing some heat—in the court of law—for allegedly misrepresenting the fruit content of its Refreshers, said content apparently being zero. Lastly, New York Times columnist David Brooks is getting flamed from every direction on the internet for complaining about his $78 burger at Newark Airport—made exorbitant not by America’s fraught economy, as he alleges, but by the double shot of whiskey on the bill.
Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, more popularly known as Lana Del Rey, baffled fans and enemies alike when she appeared in a Waffle House in Florence, Alabama, apparently working a shift and serving customers. Was it performance art? “It’s inexplicable. It’s ineffable,” Delicious Or Distressing’s own Li Goldstein wrote at the time. Hollywood Reporter has purportedly found answers: Lana’s a regular at that Waffle House, where she was dining with her brother and sister when servers approached them. “We were on our third hour, and the servers asked, ‘Do you guys want shirts?’ ” Lana recounts. “Hell yeah! We were thrilled.” Then someone ordered a Coke, and the servers apparently encouraged Lana to bring it to him. Someone else snapped a photo and the rest was internet history.
Lana, I am sorry to share that this anecdote only raises more questions. Sure, we’ve solved the mystery of why you were (not) working at Waffle House. But why were you offered shirts? When I’m three hours deep into a meal at a fast-food chain, why do I only get, “Ma’am, is everything okay?” Why are your servers a Greek chorus-like entity, plurally spectating yet influencing your day’s events? What happens after we die? 4.1/5 delicious lore. —Karen Yuan, culture editor
Plastic cheese has reached its final form—literal plastic. This week, Kraft Heinz voluntarily recalled over 83,000 cases of Kraft Singles “cheese” (technically: American Pasteurized Prepared Cheese) slices due to a potential choking hazard. The cause for alarm was “a temporary issue developed on one of our wrapping machines, making it possible that a thin strip of the individual film may remain on the slice after the wrapper has been removed,” Kraft Heinz said in a statement. The recalls simply will not stop recalling: I’m talking bone fragments in 15,000 pounds sausage; rocks, insects, and metal in various Trader Joe’s products; a certain darling of fall vegetables harboring E. Coli; and 58,000 pounds (or about 36.25 cows’ worth) of beef pulled from shelves. Like a person struggling to swallow some of the most malleable “cheese” on earth, consider me gagged. I know I just type words on digital white rectangles for a living but seriously? Do better, America. That’s a breathtaking 4.6/5 distressing for the American Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Lords (APPCL). —Ali Francis, staff writer
If you’ve read a lot of my past Delicious or Distressing blurbs, you may have (correctly) discerned that I am not generally on the side of huge corporations. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that multinational corporate entities are ruining the planet—just a hunch! That said, I do have trouble stirring up anger over the way Starbucks labels its Refreshers, which is the subject of a recent class-action lawsuit. The plaintiffs are alleging that Starbucks’ drinks such as Mango Dragonfruit, Pineapple Passionfruit, and Strawberry Açai don’t actually contain any of the fruits named in their titles. Starbucks argues that the names in the titles refer to flavors rather than ingredients. To me, if you’re going to Starbucks in search of eating or drinking an abundance of fruit, you might want to look elsewhere. Love and light! This news gets a 3.5/5 distressing. —Sam Stone, staff writer
This week, New York Times columnist David Brooks went to Newark Airport—something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy—and ordered a meal. He posted a picture of his burger and fries, and what appears to be a whiskey on the rocks (bold beverage choice) on X/Twitter complaining that the meal was $78. “This is why Americans think the economy is terrible,” he captioned the photo. Inflation! Airport pricing is out of control! This used to be a real country where brave newspaper columnists could get an honest meal of meat and liquor for under thirty dollars! The internet, as it always does, began to sleuth and soon discovered that the photo was taken at 1911 Smokehouse Barbeque, where burgers are in fact $17. Though some people think Brooks might have actually been joking in his original post, 1911 Smokehouse Barbeque responded to Brooks’ tweet in a Facebook post explaining that 80% of his bill was his bar tab—but not before Brooks was roundly dunked on all around the internet (mostly by Joyce Carol Oates, for some reason). The lesson here is either don’t go to Newark Airport or don’t lie about bullshit on the internet for clout, but for the life of me I cannot tell which. Either way, this one gets a whiney, fake 5/5 delicious. —SS