Unpopular opinion: "Unicorn" is not a flavor
This article originally appeared in ExtraCrispy by Meredith Turits.
Unicorn is not a flavor. If we are speaking technically, it is not actually even an animal. “Unicorn” is a word used to reference a mythical Biblical creature, a private startup with a billion dollar-plus valuation, or any number of things in the polyamory community. Unicorn is a lot of things. But it’s not a fucking flavor.
Would someone mind telling the internet? Every time I try to do it, I seem to end up blacked out, splayed like putty on the carpet of this office, or trying to practice some calming breathing exercises after someone’s pulled me away from whichever Slack channel I’ve freaked out in yet again. The problem with taking this trend quite so personally is that we are at peak unicorn—confirmed by intel from a confidante at a bulge-bracket investment bank, who told me that his department went out and bought Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccinos the day they were released so that they could Instagram them.
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Every last food does not, in fact, have to be shitting rainbows. You may understand my rage, then, when a cookbook called Rainbow Bakes by Mima Sinclair showed up on my desk to instruct readers how to bake everything multicolored. You can make rainbow fudge and an anti-gravity unicorn cake. Rainbow cake-in-a-jar, which is everything you’ve ever seen on Pinterest in one recipe. I imagine there must be some time and place for these recipes—I haven’t yet found them, although I’ll especially let you know if I pivot to a lifestyle that can’t be arsed with gravity. I take a universal hard stance against the rainbow yule log; I imagine this is the future liberals want.
Occasionally, there’s a time and a place, like a child’s birthday, or even for my own damn wedding cake (probably because I’m also a child). I am generally an extreme proponent of Funfetti, for instance; as much as it may not seem like it, I did have a couple of years in the ’90s that would count as a childhood, and a least a fraction of my insides harbor a soul that hasn’t yet decayed. But I’m positive that Funfetti doesn’t belong in cream cheese, and rainbow doesn’t belong in bagels.
Can we return to the Bible for a moment? It’s not my favorite place to be, sure, but important for the sake of unicorn scholarship. Biblical unicorn references may actually be actually mistranslations—meaning you were reading about rhinos, not mythical creatures. Really, really comparatively unsexy, kinda-lumpy-and-highly-less-magical rhinos.
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That may be a bubble-burster for some, but I actually think it’s kind of great. Sure, it’s fun to make some things here and there more colorful—like Funfetti cupcakes—but wasting time to rainbow-ify toast for social media cred… it’s culture’s attempt to turn the rudimentary into something extraordinary. Although the result may be temporarily satisfying and escapist, the sensational doesn’t actually exist as sustainable. We can’t spend the money making unicorn toast forever or we’ll be broke; we can’t drink Unicorn Frappuccinos daily because we’ll be diabetic. We also can’t permanently live in a world of rainbow-colored Insta food, because the earth is still heating up irreversibly, and the country remains in a moment of unprecedented political chaos.
The rhino is better. Brown toast is better.
By ignoring the frippery and sparkle of Instagram—or, at minimum, not unicorning every last thing—we stay just a little more grounded. And, sure, things maybe aren’t as optically great, and we can’t escape as often, and unicorns are actually rhinos (who are actually really killer creatures, so don’t be a dick). And yep! Food isn’t always pretty. But food doesn’t have to be constantly pretty; it just has to be constantly nourishing.
But whatever. Don’t listen to me, clearly a jaded, bitter Old telling the Youngs to stop wasting their time on frivolity when they could be eating better food and possibly leading more fulfilling lives! I am in no way turning into my mother. Everything is fine. I’m going to go move to the suburbs now.