A Main Ingredient in Chrissy Teigen's New Baking Mixes: Drama

Welcome to Delicious or Distressing, where we rate recent food memes, videos, and other decidedly unserious news. Last week, we looked into Restoration Hardware’s questionable ban on black pepper at its restaurants.

Two recurring characters in the simulation that is life emerged as protagonists this week, and it’s a duo I personally wouldn’t want to cross: grumpy everyman Ben Affleck and controversy maven Chrissy Teigen. Ben, infamous for his perilous Dunkin’ jaunts, initiated his new wife Jennifer Lopez into the ritual. Meanwhile, Teigen was accused of plagiarizing the branding and components of a fancy boxed cake mix.

As if those two didn’t sufficiently provide the internet with its weekly sustenance, Twitter also engaged in ever-thrilling discourse about whether or not there’s inherent privilege in possessing basic cooking skills. And a man embarked on a valiant quest to eat one (1) whole rotisserie chicken every day, for 40 days, and invited the world to tune in to the finale.

40 chickens in 40 days.

What is wrong with me? When I read a headline about a man eating 40 rotisserie chickens in 40 days, my reaction was an emphatic: I could totally do this. On November 6, Philadelphia man Alexander Tominsky will complete his quest to eat a full bird every day for—I simply must repeat—40 days straight. While there’s really nothing relatable about this particular feat, I can’t help but relate. Isn’t it normal to eat nothing but rotisserie chicken? When we say we’re “eating at home tonight,” don’t we all just mean buying a trusty rotisserie chick and roasting some broccoli? If this isn’t a man of the people, I don’t know who is. In an interview with The Takeout, Tominsky admitted to being nervous about his final chicken-eating event. If you happen to be in Philly, please, for me, go cheer him on. The rest of us rotisserie chicken heads will be raising a drumstick in his honor. 5/5 delicious. —Elazar Sontag, restaurant editor

Chrissy Teigen versus indie baker.

View the Instagram photo.

Polarizing internet darling, short-lived Quibi star, and Alison Roman enemy Chrissy Teigen finds herself at the center of yet another scandal this week. After launching her line of baking mixes last month, Teigen has been accused of plagiarism by Jordan Rondel, a Los Angeles-based New Zealand baker and owner of The Caker, a line of high-end boxed cake mixes.

If I learned one thing in sophomore year English class it’s that plagiarism = not good. Stealing ideas is bad, and stealing ideas from a small business is worse, but it seems as if Rondel will not be pursuing legal action—in this case, internet shame is the pinnacle of justice.

Upon closer inspection, we found that while the branding and packaging is suspiciously similar, Teigen’s ingredients are strikingly different. The Caker’s cakes are made with ingredients like ground almonds, Belgian couverture chocolate, and fresh fruit, and are known for being rich if not a little dense. Rondel charges $25 a box. Teigen’s mixes, on the other hand, include additives and “natural flavors,” which are notably not included in The Caker’s cake kits. Each one costs between $7 and $10, or $21 for three as part of a sale.

Is it a straight rip-off? Who can say for sure, but there’s certainly enough overlap in the overall aesthetics to raise some shady eyebrows. Teigen’s representatives responded to the accusations with a lukewarm comment about the aesthetic differences, but ultimately, there are no winners here. 2.3/5 distressing —Sam Stone, staff writer

Cooking is a privilege.

If you’re reading this column and don’t understand how Twitter works, this week’s cooking discourse—a word that is doing a lot of heavy lifting here—should give you insight on how things are going. Essentially, someone went viral for arguing that cooking is a privilege. By this I do not mean the Taurus way of seeing it, like, man, it’s such a privilege to be alive and on this planet and cooking delicious foods. I mean privilege like the way being a white, cisgendered man born into wealth is a privilege. Really!

The tweet that launched it all has been deleted, but here’s a screenshot, which makes it clear that we are not talking about skills like speed-julienning a vegetable. Buzzfeed tech reporter Katie Notopoulus summarized the absurdity of the argument perfectly: “It’s classist to know how to boil an egg.” Obviously, cooking is a skill that can be developed, some people have more access to developing them, and some people may need assistance with basic tasks like peeling an orange or peeling garlic due to disabilities. But all cooking? Anyway, the person eventually said that everyone was right to clown on their original tweet. Then that was that.

You may think this sort of back-and-forth of strangers’ half-baked thoughts is brain-melting, but it’s also exactly what’s keeping people on the platform for entertainment. Congrats on your purchase, Elon. 2.3/5 distressing — Serena Dai, editorial director

Ben Affleck welcomes JLO into the Dunkin’ life.

Picture this: New England’s unofficial mascot, Ben Affleck, red in the face, grimacing, juggling a Jenga tower of Dunkin’ cups, doughnut bags, and munchkin boxes. You actually don’t even have to picture it, because it’s a mirage carved into the annals of American history. And it never gets old. Ben recently invited a new companion to his most intimate of Dunkin’ runs, none other than old flame slash new wife JLo. It’s a perfect marriage of two pop culture obsessions that have afforded Affleck outsized prominence: Dunkin’ Ben and Bennifer.

He’s remarkably calmer here, standing upright with a cool confidence rather than hunched over with terror in his eyes—no death grip here. He appears to be holding an iced coffee and a bag of something (maybe a sausage egg and cheese?). Meanwhile, JLo seems to carry a frap of some sort in one hand and a matcha latte in the other. Maybe the only thing he needed all along was an extra set of hands. 4.7/5 delicious. —Li Goldstein, digital production assistant

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