What Went Viral in 2011

We scoured through our archives to find the 10 hottest trending people, videos, and topics in the food world
Ben & Jerry's

Every year, there’s always a couple viral stories that stand out among the riffraff of pretty infographics and glamorous food photos. In 2008, Improv Everywhere made a splash with their food court musical. Last year, OK Go’s "This Too Shall Pass" music video (in which they have water glasses play the melody, among other insanities) got 31 million views.

So we’ve decided to round up the biggest items of 2011, presenting the 10 stories, people, and of course, the videos that everyone just kept emailing you about this year. This is in no way a comprehensive list, but here’s a reminder of what went viral in 2011.


Kate Middleton and Prince William, courtesy of Wikimedia/Magnus D

The Royal Wedding: Didn’t this feel like such a long time ago? Back in April, everyone was atwitter about what Kate Middleton would wear (McQueen), and of course, what the happy couple would serve. There was champagne, canapés, and a lot of cheese at the lunch reception. As for cake, the bride had a giant fruit cake from Fiona Cairns and there was a chocolate biscuit cake for the groom. Moving on.


Angry Birds: The Rovio android game was so popular this year, it inspired these adorable Angry Birds cupcakes. There's even an Angry Birds cookbook.  But all of this is nothing compared to the father who made a playable Angry Birds cake. It took the poor dad 10 hours to make, with green frosting for grass, chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, and iced birds as ammunition. Now, if only the birds would also explode...


Whole Foods Parking Lot Rap: Rap and food seem to go hand in hand (although it sounds weird in retrospect) and it may have started with this snarky rap about the Whole Foods parking lot. Sample lyrics: “Then I take it to the cheese counter, Humboldt Fog? / We just ran out sir! Really Dog? / Take it easy man, I try to calm myself... / I've been on edge ever since they took Kombucha off the shelf.”

Watch above to hear the whole song, then check out a similarly trending rap about making pancakes, set to Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now.”


Ben & Jerry’s "Schweddy Balls" Ice Cream: Media outlets (including The Daily Meal) love it when food businesses have a sense of humor, and Ben & Jerry’s proved their worth by releasing an SNL-inspired flavor: "Schweddy Balls." The flavor combines “vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and loaded with fudge-covered rum and malt balls." While some taste testers wished the ice cream was more ballsy, some conservatives weren’t too happy with the name. But hey, Ben & Jerry's completely revived the hilarious Alec Baldwin skit from the SNL archives, above.

Gwyneth Paltrow: We do apologize for bringing up Gwyneth Paltrow of GOOP-infamy, but she was sort of all over the place this year (even scoring the first celebrity cover of Bon Appétit). With all her schmoozing with Mario Batali and that rather redundant cookbook title, she’s managed to make it onto GQ’s list of least influential people alive and spawn a large crowd of haters. Ugh. Next. (Photo Wikipedia/Jared Purdy)


Man Eats His 25,000th Big Mac: It seems 2011 was the year of breaking food records. A Wisconsin man who already held the Guinness World Record for “Most Big Macs Consumed” reached his 25,000th Big Mac in May. (He’s probably still eating Big Macs, for all we know.) Also, there was the World’s Largest Nachos, really big cucumbers, and a man who unicycled on a row of beer bottles. (Photo Flickr/naystin)


Kina Grannis and 288,000 Jelly Beans: Guys, this music video combined two things we love: stop-motion and jelly beans. It’s just amazing. Also, animated movies were all the rage this year.


Vending Machines: Maybe vending machines will be the next food truck, since this year inventors rolled out vending machines for baguettes, wine, pizza (above), and even meat. Next year, we expect to see In-N-Out burgers and crème brûlée popping out of vending flaps. And maybe a turkey for the holidays, too.


Robots (and Other Cool Gadgets): There has been some major tech stuff for food, including a crazy 3-D food printer. Most popular, however, was the robot that fetches sandwiches and makes cookies.

Then there was one that could peel a grape (above). Ok, so that one is cheating since it’s really a surgical robot, but it’s still cool. If you were really rich and didn’t want to peel your grapes, but didn’t want someone else's gummy hands on them, you could just buy this robot to peel grapes for you all the time. But we’re getting off track, aren’t we?


“I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy”: One of the most viral videos of the year, this Jimmy Kimmel prank was a genius way to get candy, kids, crying, cuteness, and just a touch of evil, all in one video. All the kids' reactions are adorable; the two smart alecks at the end are still, however, the best.


Did we miss your favorite viral story this year? Maybe the videos of super-fast food workers? Let us know in the comments below.

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.

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