Pranks a lot, April Fools' Day food jokesters
April 1st, 2014
12:10 AM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

For some people, April 1 is just another day. Others see a world of possibilities on April Fool’s Day. You can make this the day to: Install an air horn as a door wall protector, or paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish. Then there are the food-inspired pranks. For instance, replacing Oreo cream filling with toothpaste, or experimenting with mayonnaise-filled doughnuts. (Thanks to boredpanda.com for these inspirations.)
 
Of course, I want to hear any brilliant April Fool/Food jokes that anyone has perpetrated. In the meantime, let’s salute some truly epic ones.

Artisanal Air
Capitalizing on the out-of-hand artisanal trend, the online magazine The Bold Italic reported last year on San Francisco's "newest small-batch movement: artisanal air." The story followed Jason Munchausen, a bearded, bespectacled, cardigan-wearing artisan on his journey to create mason jar–bottled handmade air.

Jason was “fed up with the regular old nitrogen-oxygen blend. “So corporate,” he bemoaned. The article included plenty of photos, including one featuring Jason's "air production machine" and describing his five different air flavors, including Breakfast Blend and Vintage Whiff.
 
Left-Handed Whopper
Burger King made headlines on April 1, 1998 when they announced in USA Today that they would start selling the "Left-Handed Whopper” with the same ingredients as a regular Whopper, but with everything turned 180 degrees so it would fit more comfortably in the left hand. Supposedly, thousands of customers asked for the Left-Handed Whopper before Burger King announced it was a prank on April 2.
 
Taco Liberty Bell
On April 1, 1996, Taco Bell took out full-page ads in six national newspapers to announce that they had purchased the Liberty Bell and that, henceforth, it would be named the Taco Liberty Bell. The prank created such outrage that National Park Services was overwhelmed by calls. As a gesture of goodwill, the chain donated $50,000 toward the bell's upkeep. Many people were still upset by the joke, claiming that it defaced a national treasure, but a Taco Bell spokesman defended the ad, saying, "Think about how much recognition we've given [the bell] in this one day."
 
Thomas Edison's Magical Machine
One of the earliest food-related pranks occurred when the New York Graphic reported on April 1, 1878 that Thomas Edison had invented a fantastical machine that could change soil into cereal and water into wine. The Graphic called it "a machine that will feed the human race!" and the article was reprinted and praised in other publications all over the country, until the paper printed a story a few days later letting their readers know it was a joke.
 
Spaghetti Trees
Perhaps the most famous food prank of all time occurred in 1957 when the BBC news show Panorama reported that southern Switzerland was harvesting spaghetti from the trees, and even included a video clip showing a Swiss family plucking pasta from the trees. It was probably the first time TV was used to stage an April Fool's prank, and the response was enormous: Hundreds of viewers called the BBC wanting to know how they could get their own spaghetti tree, to which the station responded, "Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."

More from Food & Wine:
New Orleans Cocktails
World’s Best Restaurant Views
Restaurants Worth a Pilgrimage
Best Cruises for Food Lovers
Best New Bars in the U.S.

Previously:
Shell, no! Taco Bell employee appears to lick food
Taco Bell truck airlifted into Alaska town
Man builds $141.33 'McEverything' dream sandwich

© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Filed under: April Fools Day • Content Partner • Food and Wine • Holidays • Marketing • Stunt • Taco Bell


soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. RogTy

    "When April Fool's Turns Tragic":

    Sure, it's all fun and games...

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9xWdeWtHag&w=640&h=390]

    ...until somebody REALLY gets hurt!

    [Note: The above is actually a 1 minute COMEDY video!]

    April 1, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Reply
    • ?

      WTH?

      April 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  2. PushingBack

    My direct reports are about to be made to believe that one of them will be laid off in the next week. This is my favorite holiday!!

    April 1, 2014 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • Yurah Dique

      See above

      April 1, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • Brandi

      I would love to hear how that prank works out with one of your direct reports

      April 1, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Reply
  3. gastronomiette

    Reblogged this on gastronomiette and commented:
    Happy April Fool's! Eatocracy has done a wonderful article on the most epic of food-related pranks, from left-handed burgers to spaghetti trees. What will you do today? :)

    April 1, 2014 at 9:49 am | Reply
  4. JellyBean

    Spaghetti Trees. LM F AO!

    April 1, 2014 at 8:35 am | Reply
  5. TNT

    Mayonnaise filled doughnuts? That's disgusting & just wrong! (especially if you're the one biting into it) Lol!
    The worst thing I ever did was bring hard boiled eggs to work to share that weren't hard boiled. (I even brought xtra paper towels) 😄

    April 1, 2014 at 7:58 am | Reply
    • PushingBack

      LOL...I love the raw eggs posing as hard boiled eggs trick! I will have to keep that in mind.

      April 1, 2014 at 10:27 am | Reply
      • A traveler

        Even better around Easter to color uncooked eggs and add them to your Easter-egg hunt.

        April 1, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  6. AleeD®, Thread Dom

    I am left handed ... and I've handled some whoppers. Coincidence? ~_~

    April 1, 2014 at 6:55 am | Reply
    • RC@ The Thread Dom

      I think not.

      April 1, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Reply
  7. Richard

    Beans in Dry Ridge, Kentucky has Nacho Cheese filled donuts and ketchup filled donut holes!

    April 1, 2014 at 6:45 am | Reply
    • Thinking things through

      Unfortunately, these don't sound like they are just for April first...

      April 1, 2014 at 8:18 am | Reply
  8. Jaelyn green

    I love a april for the a lot

    April 1, 2014 at 6:25 am | Reply
    • PushingBack

      Be glued boosen me likey.

      April 1, 2014 at 10:33 am | Reply

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