The internet is a malignant, thousand-anused behemoth that despoils our every waking moment with its pitiless bone balladry, this much is evident. But occasionally, accidentally, it can provide brief moments of succor from its abysmal embrace. Often these moments come in the forms of memes, which we dutifully and gleefully share, each subsequent replication of which slivers off an outer layer of enjoyment until it’s left drained to an empty husk and we don’t remember what we ever saw that was funny about it in the first place.
im glad the internet makes funny things tedious so quickly because otherwise i will be thinking about “hot food for mother” for months
— it’s tony now (@ItsTonyNow) October 14, 2015
That may yet prove to be the case with Mother’s Hot Food, the latest joke that you probably haven’t heard of, and never would have if not for this stupid blog post, but I’ve been thinking it would’ve happened by now every day for past three days and it’s still just as funny, and haunting, as ever.
“mother’s hot food” had a 2-day gestation period for me but just exploded, Alien-style, in the last hour — the bone drone (@erasmuslijn) October 16, 2015
Let’s step back, briefly, and consider the joke’s origin. On Monday, the Jezebel vertical Kitchenette published one of its series of reader-submitted restaurant horror story posts. Among them were such typical fare as a table demanding grape jelly to spread on their pizza. But one stood out from the pack. Submitted by Lou Bergen, it relayed the story of an elderly couple (or was it?) continuously sending back their food at a seafood restaurant because it was never hot enough for mother’s liking.
Every 20 seconds, the man stretches his neck and starts looking for his waiter (which is me). Before he can turn the other direction…I’m there. “Mother likes her food very hot,” he says. He’s already told me 4 times, so the 5th should really make me remember.
The waiter does his best to ensure that food is hotter than anything he’s ever served, but it’s to no avail. “Oh no…this simply is not hot enough,” the man tells him.
I make some remark about re-doubling my efficiency. I then serve it three more times with the same result . “Oh…mother likes her food hot. Mother likes hot food. Food….hot food…mother must have it,” I had to endure every permutation.
The cook (who is also my stoner buddy) is at this point genuinely confused. “Dude…that shit will not get any hotter unless we flambee the fucker and you serve it on fire. Lucifer doesn’t eat food that hot.”
At this point, I come up with a plan: we’ll heat the serving dish until it’s on the verge of melting (or fracture). The radiant heat alone would cook a steak to well-done in under a minute. We leave this dish under the broiler until it glows dull red. Half of the gloop burns away instantly so we add another bag. The cheese is the temp of lava and literally boiling. We add another fistful just in case. My fear is that when I place this in front of mother, the tablecloth will burst into flames. She’s got a can’s worth of hairspray on her blue-haired head, so she’ll likely blow up as well. This would cost me money.
Finally, mercifully, mother is satiated. Mother has gotten her hot food, as mother is well known to like it. You may not realize it yet, but this is the funniest story you’ve read in a long time.
Twitter’s @rappinggranny first shared the post into my feed, where @crushingbort picked up on the delightful insanity going on here.
It’s worth reading the entire thread.
Multiple people picked up on the obvious serial killer undercurrents, and, crucially, the archaic, affected musicality of the man’s diction.
Not to mention the strange sexualized nature of the request.
But it was that hypnotic speech pattern that made the phrasing insinuate itself into our brains.
Mother likes her food very hot…..mother’s food must be piping hot — it’s tony now (@ItsTonyNow) October 14, 2015
It’s the type of phrase you can imagine yourself locked away in a padded room repeating over and over for years. And its trance-like nature was something that kept showing up over the next couple days in my feed.
By yesterday I had mostly forgotten about mother and the temperature of her food, which, as we all know, must be piping hot. But then this tweet kicked it back into full gear.
Lincoln Chafee holds press conference: “This will not do. Mother’s food must be hot. Piping hot food for mother.”
— Fervel Lankman (@cushbomb) October 14, 2015
It’s almost impossible to get out of your head once its black voodoo works its spell on you. Mother’s food. It must be hot, yes, yes it must. Hot for mother.
i spent about five minutes in a parked car today passing the time by repeating that mother must have her food extremely hot, it must be hot — gregory erskine (@cat_beltane) October 15, 2015
You’ll find dozens and dozens of other such examples here.
When the food is hot enough for Mother. Mother’s food must be hot pic.twitter.com/WXhHcYnwHD
— patrick (@pattymo) October 15, 2015
When the guy sends his food back/mother likes it hot/mother likes it hot/mother likes it hot — SickScreams (@McLeemz) October 16, 2015
I wish someone on my timeline could tell me whether or not mother likes her food hot
— The Crying Gamer (@AtlasSmugged) October 16, 2015
From the producers of Mother’s Hot Food comes Please Babysit My Son The Doll https://t.co/cC7VLYZUUj
— Hot Food Ma (@crushingbort) October 16, 2015
♫ When the food tastes like fire ♬ to avoid mother’s ire, that’s a hot plate When the lava cheese spouts ♫ into old mother’s mouth, that’s — Luke O’Neil (@lukeoneil47) October 16, 2015
I asked a couple of my friends who had been similarly ensnared by the gravitational pull of mother’s hot food, yes, yes, the hot food mother needs, why something so stupid was so funny.