REPORT

How I made an Internet out of potato

By James Cook

In a telling sign that they have no idea what their customers do when they’re not eating, frozen food company Birds Eye has created a range of Twitter-shaped lunchtime potato snacks named “Mas#tags.”

Yes, the company that creates frozen bits of potato for children has made bags of hashtags for them to eat. I decided to try them out for myself to see what eating the Internet really tastes like.

2014-03-09 18.50.11

Judging from the packet, inside you can expect to find hashtags, @ signs, smiley faces (likely surplus stock from another potato bag), asterisks, and a single heart. It’s like an annoying tweet, but made of REAL potatoes. The packet provides some context:

2014-03-09 18.50.38-1 (1)

Ah, well that clears it up then. Mashtags are #NEW, #Tasty and “Pot@to Shapes!” But the question remains: Who wants to eat bits of Twitter? Luckily, the reverse side of the packet offers some insight:

2014-03-09 18.53.20

Buy your children a bag of potato Internet and they too can start speaking like this. It’s nice to see dad here emphasising the cleanliness of his plates and promoting the real potato inside Mas#tags, but his use of “@now” is puzzling to say the least. An @ mention is used to flag a specific individual by his or her username, so either this dad is giving a shoutout to this random Twitter account, or Birds Eye actually has no idea how tweeting works. (Spoiler: It’s the latter.)

2014-03-09 18.53.49

It seems that potato hearts are the premium currency of the food world. Not wanting to miss out on one, I bought another load of Mas#tags.

2014-03-09 18.51.08

Now that I had two bags of ridiculous potato Internet food, I decided to really splash out.

2014-03-09 18.51.45

A quick trip to the shops later and I had all the ingredients needed to make an entire Internet out of potatoes: Two bags of Mas#tags and two bags of potato letters. It was time to open them up and see what delights awaited me within, and most importantly, whether I had scored a rare potato heart.

2014-03-09 19.05.19

After rummaging through the various bags of frozen potato shapes, I realised two things: Hearts are, in fact, not rare at all, and there are no As in potato alphabet letters. With one vowel out of the picture, I had to improvise. It turns out that a backwards R does a passable job for an A if you squint a bit. Selecting a variety of useful phrases, I arranged them on a baking tray and waited for my potato Internet to cook, eager to learn what hashtags really taste like.

2014-03-09 19.52.23

Because I wanted to create a complete potato Internet, I recreated Cher’s Twitter username using a combination of Mas#tags and potato letters. With a smiley thrown in and an asterisk lightly -browned for good measure, I felt confident that I had created an edible Internet.

2014-03-09 19.55.53

The potato hashtags proved useful, and this photo of my warm, lightly brown #WTF will surely come in handy in the future.

2014-03-09 19.56.14

Likewise, my potato #LOL looked delicious. It was time to serve up the potaternet.

2014-03-09 19.58.37 (1)

Doesn’t it look delicious? On my plate was a collection of letters, symbols, and hashtags that represented the Internet. It’s a strange concept to introduce the children’s food market, but it kind of works. Before eating the potato Internet, I decided to add something else.

2014-03-09 19.59.33

Much better.