While all of these recipes list potatoes as an ingredient, not a single one of them instructs folks to just toss a whole unpeeled potato inside of the pot while cooking. But that’s exactly what a TikToker named Mely (@melybaby_xo) found just resting at the bottom of a container of the stuff she purchased from the chain.
Mely shared her surprising find in a viral TikTok that’s accrued over 696,000 views as of Sunday. She writes in a caption for the video, “Not olive garden doing me like this lol wtf.”
Her clip begins on a shot of a container of Zuppa Toscana for the restaurant which is inside of a box garnished with the popular Italian-style casual dine-in chain’s branding. A large ladle rests inside the gallon of soup, which Mely then grabs and begins to swirl around inside the container, swishing the soup around.
“It looks normal right?” she says, slightly chuckling as she continues to swish the ladle about. She then pushes the large serving spoon to the bottom of the container and scoops up a large mass from the bottom revealing that the restaurant placed what appears to be a whole, unpeeled potato inside of the dish.
“But what an entire f*cking potato,” she says before zooming in and chuckling some more. “I cannot make this up.”
While Mely thought it was certainly odd to discover a large, whole potato inside of her soup that Olive Garden chefs probably forgot to cut up, one commenter thought that things could’ve possibly gone much worse for her.
“That really is best case scenario from what could have been in that bowl,” they wrote.
Another speculated that the potato was put inside of the soup as a means of soaking up some of its salt content, writing, “Maybe they made it too salty and they tried to add a potato and forgot about it.”
@melybaby_xo Not olive garden doing me like this lol wtf #olivegarden #olivegardenfail #Foodfail #zuppatoscana ♬ original sound – MelyBaby
While the potato anti-salt defense may seem like an odd way to combat over-seasoning a dish, as it turns out, this is a tried-and-true method for de-salinating a soup, according to Southern Living.
“Try this method if you’re making chowder or vegetable soup…peeling a potato or two (or more depending on your pot size) and boiling them in the pot with your soup. Let them simmer for about 30 minutes to soak up the excess salt,” the site instructs. “When you’re finished, just remember to remove the potatoes from your soup.”
The outlet said that the potato should be salted, but from the looks of Mely’s video, it seems that an Olive Garden cook just tossed the nightshade into the pot and walked away to prepare their zillionth serving of never-ending pasta for the day.
“They probably didn’t have enough soup so they put that in there to fill it up hahaha,” another shared.
Mely, who commented that the gallon of soup cost her around $38 with breadsticks, thought this was the restaurant’s reasoning as well. However, some couldn’t fathom how the person serving the dish didn’t notice the potato.
“How did they not notice when they where dishing it?” they wrote. “I get accidentally adding a potato but not the ladeling.”
The TikToker seems to have been luckier than another Olive Garden diner who also made a surprising soup find while visiting one of the chain’s locations: a cricket. Folks enjoying some canned soup on their own have also made discoveries: like this Campbell’s customer who noticed a strange sachet that looked similar to a tea bag floating around in their savory liquid meal.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Mely via TikTok comment.