While working on the article about searching Yelp using emojis this week, I realized that the emoji canon has some rather glaring omissions. Sure, I could search for a burger place or Italian food or sushi, but what if I want a sandwich? A cupcake? Some charcuterie?
Emojis were first invented in Japan in 1998, and they've certainly evolved since then (hell, there's a floppy disk and a crystal ball, should you ever find yourself chatting about obsolete '90s technology or fortune tellers), but there are still many things missing.
I polled a few local chefs, restaurateurs and food personalities to see what they thought might be a useful addition to the oeuvre of emojis, and then I made a list of my own, featuring images I constantly find myself wishing I could text into the stratosphere.
What would you add to the already vast (and bizarre) lineup?
Pastry chef Becky Masson of Fluff Bake Bar immediately responded to my query about emojis we're lacking with "macarons...they're the new cupcakes." She also suggested grilled cheese and macaroni and cheese, both of which seem like necessary additions, as well as something to depict a food coma. I'm picturing a drooling, half asleep smiley face.
Joshua Martinez of Goro & Gun and The Modular food truck initially suggested chicken feet and tripe, but then amended his response to the slightly less bizarre corn dog and whole roasted pig. You know, for whenever you're at a luau.
Our wine guru Jeremy Parzen suggested there need to be emojis to describe wine, "like one for poopy smells (reduction) or acetone or brilliant acidity and tannin." He proposed that acetone smells like nail polish remover and and tannins cause gums to "flex." "Acidity," he said, "could be someone getting an electric shock." I can think of other uses for that as well...
Canadian native and executive sous chef of Reef Ryan Lachaine immediately responded that we need moose, beaver and seal emojis. Not the cute, furry animals, mind you. He meant as meat.
Yeah, emojis. Where's the kebab?!
Here's what else yours truly thinks has been overlooked by the gods of emoji.
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10. Various cuts of meat Yo, emojis, charcuterie is a big thing now. Or haven't you heard? Actually, it might not be in Japan, but if we've got dollar bills and a drum stick, we should probably add some classy American meat to the mix. Cured or bloody, it don't matter to me.
9. Microgreens These are perfect for whenever you feel something is superfluous or unnecessary.
8. Twin Peaks/Hooters Waitress Alternatively, this could just be an image of a waiter or waitress, but I think emoji users would appreciate the...enhancements.
7. Red solo cup This would be for inviting a friend to a frat party or describing Toby Keith pictorially.
6. A sandwich HOW IS THERE NOT A SANDWICH?!
5. A vomiting/hungover face As a food writer, I get food poisoning from time to time. And as a 20-something human being, I get hungover from time to time. And in both of these instances, I would like a way to express these feelings without taking the time to think about spelling or stringing a sentence together.
4. Margarita There's already beer, wine, martini and something that appears to be a long island iced tea. How is there no margarita? As South Texans, we desperately need this image. Then, on hot Saturday afternoons, all we'd have to text our friends is the margarita emoji and a question mark, and we'd all know to meet at El Tiempo on Richmond in 20.
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3. Taco/breakfast taco By that same token, there should really be a taco or at least some sort of Mexican food to choose from. I haven't been to Japan. I don't know if Tex-Mex is a thing there. But it should be, and we should have an emoji to show our love for all things related to meat, tortillas and cheese.
2. Barbecue I realize we're getting very Texas specific here now, but Japanese yakitori is similar in some ways to barbecue. There needs to at least be a grill. With meat on it. Maybe a smoker. And a bottle of barbecue sauce. And a rack of glistening ribs. Let's just go with all of the above.
1. Cheese Yeah, I bet you didn't even realize there isn't a cheese emoji because it seems too obvious. But then, one terrible day, you go to text someone about your desire for cheese and LO AND BEHOLD THERE IS NO CHEESE EMOJI. Look, I don't even care what kind of cheese is depicted. There just needs to be cheese. Preferably several varieties like Swiss, string cheese, chèvre, cheddar, brie and some sort of giant wheel. And queso, of course.