Interview: Cooking for Bae Creator
And you thought Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden operated under a shroud of secrecy…
Get a load of the minds behind “Cooking for Bae” aka home of the struggle plate. I profiled their antics a few weeks ago in Keeping it 140, but couldn’t resist getting a closer look at their set-up.
Think League of Shadows, only the aim is to expose food pics.
It all started in mid-July, that’s when a 30-something Georgia resident and her friends, began curating failed attempts to get to a man’s heart through his stomach.
Proudly and lacking in any self awareness (or knowledge of cooking), the unwitting chefs were posting their epicurean efforts with the hashtag: cookingforbae.
“We originally thought it was short for ‘cooking for my baby,’” the co-founder explained of #cookingforbae. “But it turns out that it stands for ‘before anyone else.’ I guess it’s one of those things like when people thought Kanye meant “cray” as short for “crazy.’”
Regardless of the mix-up in meaning, the hashtag is swiftly becoming a viral goldmine for CookingforBae, which currently boasts over 70,000 followers on Instagram.
You can see why when you take a gander at this deep-fried…ahem… rat (or–as the curators suggest, tempura guinea pig). It practically dares you to look away.
Submissions like this one result in online shaming of epic proportions. (Hence, the anonymity of the minds behind this account.)
And the comments…oh, the comments.
“I’ve still got friends who put up nasty looking food that I want to post,” the Georgian explained of the need to be incognito online. “I don’t want any of them mad at me.”
Anonymity will likely not be an option for much longer.
Even celeb types have taken notice of the account, with John Legend’s new wife Christine Teigen tweeting out some of the more stomach churning and LOL fare.
Oh my god RT “@THATjodi: Cookingforbae on IG is COMEDY.”
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) November 12, 2013
Reaction to being featured is mixed.
Users often express mild surprise and disdain at having been added to the lot of disgusting Styrofoam plates. Others take their kitchen fails in stride.
Sometimes, however, the original poster is in no way amused by being inducted into #cookingforbae infamy.
“I actually had to take one picture down recently because when I say the person got upset….” the Cooking for Bae co-founder trails off in disbelief at the level of anger. “Basically, the husband started commenting and using some rather colorful language. It got to the point where we took the picture down. I don’t want anybody stalking me.”
There is also emerging criteria for what makes the cut. First off, it has to be real. The page’s popularity has inspired some intentional ugly food. The founders screen those out. (Sorry, jokesters.) The other requirements include being able to see, and be properly nauseated by, what’s posted.
“We like clear pictures,” she explains.
As for composition, aka what makes a true struggle plate:
“A struggle plate is a Styrofoam plate,” she explains. “It consists of some type of sliced cheese. Lately, there’s been a lot of Velveeta Mac n’ Cheese. And there’s usually a mystery meat in mystery sauce.”
She pauses, before adding: “And there’s some form of hot dog. “
Nobody, and she does mean nobody, is safe if they post that kind of craptastic meal.
Take heed all you Marcus “Shamuellsons” and Chef F G “Garbages;” the submissions are surging.
Currently, Cooking for Bae draws about 200 e-mails a day. The crew expects to be inundated in a few days as Thanksgiving pictures flood the inbox.
“I think we’ll see a lot of messed up looking potato salad and green bean casseroles.”
So, um…good luck with that turkey. Try not to add cheese…or snausages to the mix.