ravioli memes pop-tarts

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How the internet decided that every food is ravioli now

What is ravioli? Baby, don't hurt me. Don't hurt me no more.


Jay Hathaway

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 15, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 9:42 pm CDT

Several years ago, there was a heated social media debate about whether a hot dog is a sandwich. Most said “no,” but once a mind is stretched to a new idea of what a sandwich can be, it can never return to its original form. People started to point out other things that could, with some creative thinking, be classified as sandwiches: burritos, ice cream tacos, even pizza. In 2018, the sandwich debate is old hat, but it’s given birth to an even more iconoclastic debate over food taxonomy: What is ravioli?

The discussion of ravioli’s true essence kicked off in July 2017 with this tweet from Ellen McGrody, who argued that Pop-Tarts, the toaster pastries with a sweet filling, are ravioli:

If a sandwich is just some foods between some other food, as the internet has postmodernly posited, can’t ravioli be any type of grain-based shell with any type of filling? Sure!


Some even argued that Tide Pods, which are not safe to eat and are only a food in the world of internet jokes, are ravioli. Mamma mia! Where does it stop?


The “Pop-Tarts are ravioli” meme re-entered the spotlight in early 2018, when someone Photoshopped a sign set up on a college campus by conservative media personality Steven Crowder. It originally said “Male privilege is a myth,” but it was replaced with “Pop-Tarts are ravioli.”


At the time, McGrody expressed some consternation that her Pop-Tart joke just wouldn’t die.

Pop-Tarts even weighed in on the debate earlier this month on Twitter. The company (or social media manager for the company) apparently doesn’t believe that Pop-Tarts are ravioli.

But the ravioli hypothesis is here to stay, and it has led to even wilder food-naming theories, including the “Cheerios are penne” conjecture:

The ravioli classification debate may be just one facet of a larger internet obsession with stuffed pasta. YouTube icon Filthy Frank hit it big in 2015 with a video where he walked around eating ravioli from his pocket and singing about it:

His song was likely inspired by an even earlier SpongeBob SquarePants bit that became a meme of its own: “Ravioli, ravioli, give me the formu-oli.

One person on Twitter declared that the “ultimate and final ravioli” is a coffin.

It’s a dark joke—but is it wrong?

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*First Published: Mar 15, 2018, 1:13 pm CDT