2022 Internet Food Culture in Review: From the Most Delicious to Most Distressing

Pilk, Pink Sauce, Corn Kid, rotisserie chicken man, and more—we rank the year’s main characters in a matrix.
Jennifer Aniston Salad Kendall Jenner Cucumber Corn Kid—These Were the Internet's Biggest Food Moments in 2022
Bon Appétit / Getty / Recess Therapy / M&M's / TikTok/@Chef.Pii

That’s all, 2022. From the good (most popular recipes!) to the bad (least favorite food trends!), we're spending December looking back. Head here for all the stories in BA’s year in review.

This year, Bon Appétit editors started keeping close track of one of our favorite things: all the silly, stupid, wonderful, and also horrifying moments in internet culture. We witnessed the rise and fall and rise of Pink Sauce, and we watched as the Green M&M went from seductive to stately. We warmed our hearts with Corn Kid, and we loved butter boards until we didn’t. Some were delicious and others were distressing, and we rated them all as such as they flooded our social media feeds and sprung up in our group chats. 

As the year closes out, we decided to revisit the year’s biggest food world main characters. Who was the most delicious? Who was the most distressing? And when all is said and done, who will we still remember when the internet churns again tomorrow? Read on for a year-end matrix of our Delicious or Distressing column, plus descriptions for each if you missed them. —Serena Dai, editorial director

Art by Caroline Newton and Hazel Zavala.  Image sources: Getty / FX Networks / Miran Burić Alamy Stock Photo / Recess Therapy / Youtube / Windy Gates, Soho, Inc. / M&M's / TikTok/@Chef.Pii / Netflix

Delicious/Staying Power

Art by Caroline Newton and Hazel Zavala. Image sources: Getty / FX Networks / Miran Burić Alamy Stock Photo 
  • Sexy Dirtbag Chefs: It’s not just the aftershocks from season 1 of The Bearemotionally unavailable line cooks and chefs have always been hot in a weird, self-destructive way.
  • Pilk: Dirty Soda has a long and storied history. Just like its spokesperson Lindsay Lohan, Pilk is as incredible as it is indelible. Pilk today. Pilk tomorrow. Pilk forever.
  • Negroni Sbagliato: Ooh…stunnin’. If you have a pulse and an internet connection, you’ve most likely heard about Emma D’Arcy’s go-to cocktail order. The drink’s been around for a long time, though, and will remain tasty even if Al Gore’s internet fizzles. —Sam Stone, staff writer

Delicious/Blip Energy

Art by Caroline Newton and Hazel Zavala. Image Credits: Recess Therapy / Youtube / Getty.
  • Rotisserie Chicken Man: Philadelphia’s fervor around resident Alexander Tominsky eating 40 rotisserie chickens in 40 days is somehow very Philly. Hope your bowels have recovered, sir. 
  • Kendall Jenner’s Cucumber Cut: Gun to our heads, we would have already bet you that able, adult woman Kendall Jenner does not know how to do basic cooking tasks like cut a cucumber. Yet to see video proof of it is astonishing. She will inevitably do something else ludicrous soon, perhaps appear in another tone-deaf soda ad, and we will forget this ever happened.
  • Olivia Wilde’s Salad Dressing: One of the only reasons we stayed on Twitter this year was to follow delicious, delicious gossip around Don’t Worry Darling. Olivia Wilde’s “special salad dressing” that she allegedly made Harry Styles was one flash in this saga, and a pretty good flash at that.
  • Corn Kid: The purity of Corn Kid’s love for corn was one of the few genuinely sweet viral moments on the internet this year. Thank god nice moments like this still happen on this cursed plain. Corn is a beautiful thing. —Serena Dai, editorial director

Distressing/Blip Energy

Art by Caroline Newton and Hazel Zavala. Image Sources: Getty / Windy Gates, Soho, Inc.

Distressing/Staying Power

Art by Caroline Newton and Hazel Zavala. Image credits: Getty / M&M's / TikTok/@Chef.Pii / Netflix
  • Pink Sauce: Not long after Pink Sauce inflamed the TikTok masses, the controversial condiment went commercial with a full-on brand deal. Will it be successful on the mass market? Who’s to say. That’s for 2023 to figure out.  
  • Green M&M’s New Look: We’re pouring one out this New Year’s Eve for sexy green M&M, gone but not forgotten—if you’re reading this, green, know that you’re still sexy even in your plain white sneaks. Alas, she’s not the first victim of M&M’s super weird creative decision-making, and she probably won’t be the last. 
  • GBBO Mexico Week: The Great British Bake Off, in classic GBBO fashion, aired an extremely tone-deaf, overtly offensive “Mexico Week” episode this season. Even without Matt Lucas at the helm, we’re bracing ourselves for future GBBO flubs.  
  • Boards: Remember when charcuterie was the only board of note? Us neither. After the butter board rose to fame (infamy?), a bunch of other edible things are saying, “I want in.”
  • Soup on Art: Climate activists made a big splash this year, weaponizing soup by throwing it onto fine art. If museum security across the globe didn’t scan for soup possession upon entry, up until this point, they certainly should now. —Li Goldstein, digital production assistant