BuzzFeed quizzes are alive and well in 2021, because no matter how much the internet evolves and how often TikTok can find elaborate new ways to eat up our time, there’s just nothing like a good old-fashioned online quiz to distract and delight us. The one that caught our eye this week was BuzzFeed’s “Here Are 60 Foods—Tell Us What You Like And We’ll Guess Your Age.” Telling the computer which snacks I enjoy? Sign me up!
It’s a two-part quiz. In each half, you’re presented a grid of foods and told to check off “all the foods that you like.” (Quick aside: I took this quiz at 6:30 in the morning, when certain foods could not look less appetizing, even if I generally enjoy eating them. So you’ll probably want to wait until midday to indulge in this little diversion.) The methodology behind this quiz is clear: the first grid contains trendy, hip young-people foods such as acai bowls, bubble tea, and avocado toast, whereas the second grid shows items like potato salad, Jell-O, butter pecan ice cream, cottage cheese, and, bafflingly, pecan pie and biscuits. The more you choose from the latter grid, the older your estimated age becomes.
My age, according to BuzzFeed, is 44. Here’s how the rest of The Takeout staff fared in the quiz:
- Lillian Stone: 41 years old
- Allison Robicelli: 35 years old
- Dennis Lee: 49 years old
- Aimee Levitt: 41 years old
None of us are the ages that BuzzFeed guessed us to be; the estimates were inaccurate by as little as 3 years and as much as 15 years. Not that I expect BuzzFeed quizzes to stare deep into my soul, but I do think the results point to something interesting. This quiz isn’t measuring how many “old people foods” you like. I think it’s inadvertently measuring something else instead.
Geography is obviously going to play a huge role in this. Coastal cities are probably going to have a greater availability of charcoal ice cream, cronuts, sushi burritos, and wheatgrass shots, meaning that the foods you simply haven’t had a chance to taste count against you in the “youth” category. Moreover, foods that are considered “old people foods”—outmoded entrees of the middle 20th century—tend to be alive and well in certain pockets of the country. My Midwestern Thanksgiving celebrations, for example, always include a riff on ambrosia salad, some Jell-O, and green bean casserole, dishes that might leave someone in Manhattan scratching their head. And while Twinkies were popularized in the 1930s, it’s not like elderly people sit around eating them to this day, as far as I know. It’s a childhood food that typically (do I presume too much?) stays in one’s childhood, no matter what span of years that encompasses.
Selecting every item from the first grid and nothing from the second projects an age of 10. Choosing everything from only the second grid lands you at age 70. Please, I beg you, point me to the preadolescent who’s downing dalgona coffee and kombucha on the regular. I want to ask them many questions about their energy levels.
Anyway, sorry for writing 550 words about a BuzzFeed quiz. We know how to suck the fun out of pretty much anything, don’t we?