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Urban Dictionary defines “Bone Apple Tea” as “like when the food hella good and you bout to eat it you say bone apple tea its like french or some shit.” The Crimson defines “bone apple tea” as a colloquial form of “bon appetit,” often paired with pictures of pathetically prepared food (i.e. a naked Ken doll in a bowl of water and uncooked pasta, trying to pass as “Chick-Ken-Nude-Doll Soup”). The failure to spell “bon appetit” correctly seems to mimic the failure of these dishes.
Buzzfeed reports that the origins of “Bone Apple Tea” can be traced back to another similar saying, “Bone App the Teeth.” Apparently, someone posted a picture of piles of corn on slices of limp, white bread, captioning it “just made some cornbread, bone app the teeth.” The two phrases can be used interchangeably.
Since then, Twitter users have caught onto the trend. Even the popular pancake house Denny’s has contributed, with a photo of a whole coconut lying on a stack of pancakes in a black take-out box. Many of these pictures also tend to have puns, as suggested by the “cornbread” and “Chic-Ken-Nude-Doll Soup.” Cameron Baird (@Cb123Baird) shared a picture of multicolored Sour Patch Kids lying on a piece of wheat bread, calling it “sourdough bread” and finishing off the tweet with the familiar “bone app the teeth.” Others do not necessarily rely on wordplay, but have gained massive popularity since: A goldfish cracker lying on a bed of rice passing off as sushi earned 44,000 retweets since October 12; Liz Bien’s “delicious vegan lunch for [her] daughter”—a Ziploc of air with a straw stuck through it—received over 2,000 retweets. A pale waffle covered in purple Dawn dish soap has 1,134 likes and counting. And like some of these examples may suggest, not all of these dishes are edible. Ezekiel (@kawiizeke) posted a picture of man going headfirst into a stove pot, his body stick straight. Bone app the teeth?
Ezekiel’s contribution, though rather jarring at first glance, highlights the undercurrent anxiety present in all of these pictures. While these photos may poke fun at inadequate cooking skills, they seem to suggest a legitimate fear of not actually being able to make decent food. As people venture away from their parents’ homes, they also give up the comfort of home-cooked food and pre-packed lunches and suddenly must cook for their own survival. Though Harvard students are spoon-fed by our unlimited meal plans, we will join the rest of our age group eventually in the struggle to prepare meals that are not Matcha-flavored Pocky sandwiches, or burned toast, however easy those may be. Sure, we may laugh as we retweet “bone apple tea” memes now. But in a few years, will we be fondly looking back on HUDS’s catch-of-the-day entrees, wishing we took “bone apple tea” seriously?
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