As people who think about food all the time, here at BA we were stuck on the word seemingly and took it upon ourselves to try to identify the sauce. (It’s a quiet Friday afternoon.) When polled, BA staffers were dubious that it was indeed ranch on Swift’s plate. Senior editor Joe Sevier thought it couldn’t possibly be ranch because there were “no specks” to speak of, proposing watered-down yogurt or sour cream instead. Senior cooking editor Emma Laperruque ruled out mayonnaise because the dip in the photo looked “too thin” in consistency. Associate culinary producer Leslie Rainey, a former resident of Kansas City where this drama took place, suggested it could be white BBQ sauce, a popular condiment in the area: “KC is a big BBQ city,” she said. “It could make its way into the concessions.”
Production manager Matt Carson noted the location, Arrowhead Stadium, and associate cooking editor Zoe Denenberg found a catering menu that featured sauces possibly served at the stadium: French onion dip and blue cheese dressing. Epicurious senior commerce editor Noah Kaufman shared a recent Instagram post from Levy Restaurants, a company providing food to suites at Arrowhead Stadium, that seemed to close the case: “Chicken Tenders (Taylor’s Version) served with ketchup and ranch,” its caption read. Was it ranch all along? It’s a new part of the menu, so potentially not what Taylor was offered last weekend. Needless to say Taylor’s reps could not be reached for comment.
Ranch-or-not-ranch speculation aside, it’s actually stunning how quickly a lighthearted meme will be repurposed by brands (yes, including this one). It’s ultimately excessive, but I am positively terrified of the Taylor stans, so in terms of rating the event for this column, I don’t have anything negative to say at all! Seemingly ranch! Love it! I’m rating this delicious, if only so that Swifties don’t hunt me down with pitchforks. 5/5 delicious. —Sam Stone, staff writer
How far would you go for a tan? This determined TikToker, for one, is eating three large carrots to achieve a glowy hue. “Hopefully in three weeks I’m orange,” @tiktokunbanmepls says on day two of her experiment with a mouthful of Jif peanut butter. She corrects: “Tan-orange.” It’s unclear what prompted her, um, routine. But dermatologists have warned that, if you’re white, too much beta-carotene (responsible for carrot’s color) could turn your hands and feet the shade of a certain former President. It’s also not for the faint-hearted: “Erghh, I’m not in the mood to eat three carrots today,” she says on day four.
More concerning than her carrot habit, and her future “summer camper who simply cannot get enough of the tie-dye station” look, are the comments she’s getting online. Chiefly, people are concerned with her peanut-butter pairing. Some say it’s disgusting. Others have told her it’s going to make her gain weight. “Zip it,” she tells her haters. I don’t want to eat three carrots dipped in peanut butter every day but I do want to live in a world where people don’t yuck my yums. 4.7/5 distressing for the trolls. —Ali Francis, staff writer
I have a theory that I’ve been calling, as of writing this blurb, Lao Gan Ma’s Law: Given enough time, eventually all food brands will undergo a chili crispification. The Sichuan topping has exploded in popularity over the past few years in the US, and beyond the already thriving market of chili crisp brands, major food companies have gotten in on the excitement: Trader Joe’s, Hidden Valley (of ranch fame), and now, McDonald’s, with its limited-time launch of Sweet & Spicy Jam starting October 9.