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Martha Stewart’s Sports IIllustrated swimsuit cover. The Grimace Shake. Girl dinner. The internet’s virality machine has served up another year of delicious slop and we thank it for the food. So many of 2023’s biggest internet moments have had to do with what and how we ate, for better and for worse. In this timeline from January to December, we’ve traced each month’s biggest edible moment on the World Wide Web to acknowledge the impact that Tomato Girl Summer, Lana Del Rey’s mysterious Waffle House stint, and Taylor Swift’s “seemingly ranch” have had on our Extremely Online psyche.
Following Green M&M’s literal reboot, M&M launched “all-female” packages
M&M’s changed feminism forever (and set off right wing cultural critics) by releasing special candy packages featuring only female M&M characters. Skeptical of their girl bossery? What if I told you one of the female M&M’s was wearing glasses? Yeah, that’s what I thought. —Sam Stone, staff writer
“Carnivore bread” became TikTok’s latest unsettling cooking trend
Anything can be bread—even meat and eggs and baking powder, I guess. That’s the upsetting recipe that went viral on TikTok this year. But it’s not just one recipe; a carnivore diet movement is sweeping the nation. —S.S.
BORGs took over college parties
BORG stands for Black Out Rage Gallon, and they are gallon jugs filled with water, an entire bottle of alcohol, and electrolytes. They’re meant to be drunk over the course of the entire day at long, rambling college parties. If you drink a BORG, you will most likely black out. You will probably rage. It’s likely that you will gallon. —S.S.
Scientists made a meatball from mammoth DNA
Scientists used genetic sequencing information from wooly mammoths to grow enough cells to synthesize the meat. Confused? That’s okay. Unfortunately, we’ll never know how this giant prehistoric meatball tastes—the scientists refuse to eat it (or let anyone else try) because it could hypothetically contain some kind of prehistoric virus that would wipe out humanity, I guess. —S.S.
MrBeast launched his viral Feastables chocolate bars to fanfare and controversy
YouTuber MrBeast, a.k.a. James Donaldson, has been in the news a lot this year. First for opening his restaurant, MrBeast Burger and then for closing his restaurant, MrBeast Burger. Also, for asking his legions of loyal fans to fix the cattywampus displays of his chocolate bars in stores. It was stan behavior for sure, but that didn’t stop people from dutifully straightening up displays. —S.S.
#WaterTok flooded TikTok
You might imagine #WaterTok to be short video content about, I don’t know, streams, rivers, and oceans—I would watch, honestly. No, #WaterTok was video after video of recipes for mostly sugar-free flavored water concoctions, like “Mountain Dew-flavored water” made with powdered Tang, zero-sugar lime syrup, and powdered, kiwi-lime Skittles flavor. —S.S.
With a viral, highly criticized ad, Big Milk became cheugy
Milk got aggressive this year. Angered by years of alternative milks chipping away at its market share, Big Milk released a campaign helmed by Aubrey Plaza spoofing nondairy milks by facetiously promoting the fictional “wood milk.” The joke did not land. —S.S.
Martha Stewart dropped a Sports Illustrated cover
Martha Stewart will not be stopped. At the age of 81 she appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated‘s Swimsuit Issue as the oldest model to ever grace it. Whatever you may think of her brand, you have to appreciate a bold later-in-life swimsuit cover. —S.S.
The Grimace Shake became a meme, and Grimace a queer icon
Technically, Grimace has birthdays every year, but this year McDonalds decided it should be a big deal. The internet agreed, and suddenly the large purple burger mascot was deemed a queer icon. Is there anything inherently queer about Grimace? Not to my very queer and discerning eye, but who am I to deny people what they want? —S.S.
Lana Del Rey’s Waffle House stint baffled fans (and everyone else)
Lana Del Rey, the queen of melancholy, ditched her California daydreams for a Waffle House shift in Florence, Alabama, this summer. Wearing the brand’s blue-collared shirt and a yellow name tag, “Lana” played barista, belted out Amazing Grace with a diner, and left fans…utterly perplexed, as they’ve been by the many celebrities cosplaying normies in restaurants this year. (She was actually there hanging out with her relatives when a server offered them shirts.) —Ali Francis, staff writer