“Swicy” Is TikTok’s New Favorite Flavor (But It’s Just Sweet and Spicy) – Bon Appetit

Welcome to Delicious or Distressing, where we rate recent food memes, videos, and other entertainment news. Last week we discussed Trader Joes recalling five products in one month.

Just when we thought we’d reached the maximum number of named flavors, another one’s pushing and shoving its way into the mix. Umami? Old news. Everyone please give a warm welcome to the newest Flavor: swicy. It’s a portmanteau of two well-established flavors—you guessed it, sweet and spicy. You also guessed it: This flavor very much already existed, albeit without an official label. You guessed it again! It was coined by none other than TikTok, because of course it was.

Also this year, Starbucks’ canonical pumpkin spice latté is entering her 20s—join the club, girl. Speaking of Starbucks, Ed Sheeran decided to pop by one not as a customer, but as a barista, following in the footsteps of an increasing number of celebrities cosplaying service workers. Lastly, an ungrateful boyfriend stewed on Reddit about requesting a basic cake from his girlfriend and then receiving a cake with even more flair. Yes, sir, you are the asshole.

Here’s what’s happening in food moments on the internet this week.

You know when you want a really specific snack? Like, say, you’re craving air-fried frozen french fries but you don’t have them at home. So you have to dress your fiendy ass, go to the store, and collect your spoils like a hunter gatherer. But how much better do those snacks taste versus the ones that, oh, I dunno, were just lying around? All this is to say that I feel similarly about the internet generation’s obsession with the portmanteau: Smooshing two words together into one is only satisfying if it’s truly earned. (Take the “spork.” It’s a spoon, and it’s a fork, and at the time of its naming, the spork was a totally novel invention.) Now, let’s zoom in on “swicy,” the trending lovechild being used to describe foods that are both sweet and spicy. Yes, this flavor profile is everywhere. But has it not been everywhere always? Take: Hot honey, chili-laced chocolate cake (how do you like that, Reddit boyfriend?), the jalapeño marg, and so many of the dishes you order from a Thai restaurant. That a new word amalgamation is being used to describe an ancient food truth is akin to eating stale crackers when you really wanted the frozen french fries: It simply does not scratch the itch. That’s a singularly, salty 3.9/5 distressing. —Ali Francis, staff writer

Pumpkin spice season is not so much a time period as it is a state of mind. It’s walking pensively down an empty street in a big city, hands in your pockets, like you’re in a Hallmark movie. It’s cable-knit sweaters. It’s lighting a scented candle in your apartment just because. This is all to say that, while you may think of pumpkin spice as seasonal, the Starbucks latte will continue to debut earlier and earlier each year until we are living in PSL season all year round. This year, it appeared in Starbucks on August 24. Next year—who knows? Maybe we’ll see it in July. This year also marks 20 years of pumpkin spice at Starbucks, and although it’s nowhere near my go-to drink, I do want to give PSLs the respect they deserve. When I turned 20, I was working at a fitness studio and I didn’t know how to pronounce the word paradigm. On pumpkin spice’s 20th birthday it is mere steps away from world domination. Of course, I didn’t have a team of executives behind me engineering my success, but all told that’s probably to everyone’s benefit. I’m giving this one a sweet, sugary, 4.2/5 delicious. —Sam Stone, staff writer

Last week, Ed Sheeran, the pumpkin spice latte of pop music (orange, beloved, and a little overplayed in coffee shops), worked a shift serving coffee at Starbucks. As a barista, he greeted fans and intentionally (or so he says) got their names wrong on orders: “If you gave me your name I gave you a new one, for I am the barista of joy,” he wrote on Instagram after the stint, channeling the mischief of a medieval imp who asks commonfolk to guess his name thrice lest he whisks away their firstborn child. (His presence did seem to bring joy to people’s coffee runs.) Sheeran has lately made appearances at restaurants around the country—such as a cheesesteak spot in Philadelphia and hot dog joint in Chicago—in order to promote his tour and now, his new album, “Autumn Variations.” While some celebs (including Sheeran) have received criticism for LARPing as service workers, Sheeran has been forthright that he just seems to get a kick out of donning an apron and saying hi to fans behind the counter. Like a pumpkin spice latte, this particular stint seems harmless and only very controversial to the particularly online. 3.9/5 delicious. —Karen Yuan, culture editor

Imagine, as a child, you asked Santa for a toy car—just a humble, regular toy car. On Christmas morning, you’re shocked to discover Santa has gifted you one of those toy cars that are so big you can sit and drive in it. Also, he got you a pony. And some gift cards. Instead of being filled with wonder at the miracle of Christmas, you’re furious that he didn’t give you exactly what you asked for. That’s pretty much how one Grinch-like boyfriend felt about the birthday cake his girlfriend baked for him—he was so upset that she didn’t bake him the exact specific chocolate cake that he asked for that he took to Reddit, where his post went viral. The girlfriend’s crime? A chocolate cake with the addition of vanilla icing between its layers, surrounded by even more chocolate frosting. Boyfriend was so upset that he ate around the vanilla bits, which is an almost aspirational level of pettiness. The Christmas metaphor is admittedly wonky, but come on. Coals in boyfriend’s birthday stocking. 4.9/5 distressing. —Karen Yuan, culture editor

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