CULTURE & ARTS
09/01/2018 08:00 am ET

There Were Zero Things Better This Week Than Our Staff's Meatball Feud

Except maybe all the other beefs we encountered along the way.
Priscilla Frank for HuffPost

Welcome to Good Stuff, HuffPost’s weekly recommendation series devoted to the least bad things on and off the internet. It’s also Beef Week at HuffPost Culture, so this week’s reccomendation list is themed.

My “Beef Week” recommendation is more of a life hack, if you will ― a commitment to change your lifestyle for the better in a minor but meaningful way: Make your phone background a picture of meatballs.

Just kidding, it’s not that simple. First, make meatballs your phone background. Then, keep meatballs in your fridge so that when you look at the meatballs on your phone, you can know they are waiting for you in your fridge, to pop into your mouth at a moment’s notice. Somehow, as a result of this fantasy-reality-meat-mirror, your inconsequential worries will melt away.

Step 1: Make meatballs (by mixing ground beef, parmesan, eggs and bread crumbs into little meat orbs and plopping them in sauce. COOK UNTIL BROWN.)

Step 2: Take a photograph of the meatballs. Get up close and personal to really capture their texture and sheen.

Step 3: Eat some of the meatballs so you are familiar with this particular recipe. Put the rest in your fridge.

Step 4: Replace your phone wallpaper with the photo of the meatballs. No filters, no edits. They’re perfect as is.

Step 5: Casually put thumb pressure on your phone’s “home” button to illuminate the image whenever the bad feelings start to creep over you. Think about those dumb, beautiful balls waiting for you in a Tupperware, eager to be devoured.

Step 6: Eat the meats. Look at your home screen as you chew and swallow. Continue unto eternity. ― Priscilla Frank

Counter: I Have Beef With Your Beef

Thanatham Piriyakarnjanakul / EyeEm via Getty Images

Look, I’m sure Priscilla’s meatballs are excellent. Most meatballs are excellent. These seem like perfectly good meatballs for spaghetti and meatballs, and I cannot argue with making your phone background a picture of meatballs. But seeing as how this is the end of Beef Week, I must admit that I have beef with her meatballs anyway, because the best way to consume meatballs is not as part of spaghetti and meatballs, but by eating them, in abundance, all by their lonesome. And because that is true, I must also take exception ― beef, I guess ― with Priscilla’s meatball recipe, which does not include the most integral non-beef ingredient in good meatballs: Grape Jelly.

That’s right, if you’re not making meatballs with grape jelly, you are seriously fucking up.

So here is a proper way to make meatballs. It is very complicated, so make sure you’re paying close attention. You’ll need a bunch of meatballs, either chili sauce or BBQ sauce (or both if you’re adventurous?), and a crockpot. First, mix your sauce and an entire jar of grape jelly in the crockpot. Then, dump in the meatballs. Add some spices, if you like. Cook them low and slow for a couple hours, until they’re nice, hot and tender. Then, take a fork, plunge it straight into the ginormous pile of sauce-soaked meatballs you have just created, and eat them all. ― Travis Waldron

I’ll Second That, But I’d Like To Add Some Beef

LauriPatterson via Getty Images

Look, when it comes to Travis and Priscilla’s beef, I’m on Travis’ side, 100 percent. But I have beef with Travis. You don’t need chili sauce or BBQ sauce, or a crockpot. Put equal parts ketchup and jelly in a pot. Don’t bother with spices, Travis is making this too complicated. Cook the sauce down so it’s nice and smooth and hot, and then smother your meatballs in that and stuff yourself silly. ― Paige Lavender

Beef Upon Beef Upon Beef: A Ketchup Saga

Floortje via Getty Images

I love Paige. I really do. However, ketchup is the most vile product known to man. It’s sugar-filled, vinegar-diluted bullshit of the highest order. I don’t know about grape jelly in a sauce, but it’s whatever, I’d try it. But ketchup? Look at how far we’ve fallen. What has become of us if we’re eating ketchup willingly? Why would you ever consume such trash? I’m praying for my friends. I’m asking the internet to do so as well, because anyone who would openly advocate for ketchup needs some kind words sent their way. ― Julia Craven

While We’re At It: Here’s Some Arby’s Beef

Rick Diamond via Getty Images

Every family has its own unique culture. In my family, we call the remote “the glipper.” In my family, we gather around the kitchen island on Christmas Eve and make margaritas in my grandma’s vintage cocktail glasses.

In my family, we love and savor Arby’s.

When I was a wee thing in Indiana, I lived in a pro-Arby’s bubble. My parents did not buy us fast food, except during long road trips, when they exclusively fed us Arby’s roast beef sandwiches and curly fries. Accordingly, my brothers and I grew up appreciating the subtle umami and delicate mouthfeel of a mound of shaved beef loaf with special sauce moistening its folds.

The problem was the world, which did not understand. My brothers and I are now East Coast-dwelling expats with partners who find Arby’s viscerally repugnant. Every Christmas, we all truck back to Indiana, often by roadtripping together. Every road lunch and dinner is a fight between the Fallons and these people we have chosen to spend our lives with, these people who do not understand that Arby’s is the good fast food. That it has the meats.

This is an intractable beef beef. Sometimes we get the Arby’s we want; other times we compromise with Wendy’s. On one memorable occasion, my younger brother Dan and I ate alone in a cheery Ohioan Arby’s while our significant others drove off to find a Taco Bell. It hurt, but at least we had, and will always have, our glistening meat piles. ― Claire Fallon

OK, On To The Things That Matter: A Climate Change Beef

Roy Scranton is a bona fide, 21st-century man of letters. Bespectacled, with two degrees from Manhattan’s New School, a Ph.D. from Princeton, a teaching gig at the University of Notre Dame. Now, he’s completed the set with a nihilistic worldview announced in a way to deliberately antagonize everyone making a good-faith effort to make the world slightly better. Congrats!

On Wednesday night, Scranton, who has written two books on the hopelessness of curbing anthropogenic climate change, tweeted this:

“Appalling” as it may be, actual scientists researching this stuff got mad. Imagine that!

Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University, sent Scranton a link to a YouTube explainer she made. “Short answer: if everyone just gives up, then we really are doomed,” she said.

“You are living in a fantasy land,” said Sarah Myrhe, a paleoclimatologist who studies how the oceans have changed throughout the Earth’s history. “How fun it must be! Would you mind if you’d just turn the sound off? You are doing damage for the sake of damage. Stop.”

Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist and Grist staff writer, accused Scranton of “privileged nihilism.”

Scranton, to his credit, tweeted right through it, doubling down by morning:

Alexander Kaufman

Thank Mariah Carey For The Most Iconic Way To Respond To Beefs

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen this GIF.

Some time in the early 2000s, Mariah Carey dismissed pop contemporary Jennifer Lopez by pleading ignorance.

“I don’t know her,” she said of J. Lo, before vigorously shaking her head.

The extent of their rivalry has come under question, as over the years, Carey and Lopez have both insisted that they genuinely don’t know each other.

“I was just being honest and everybody’s kind of blowing it out of proportion,” Carey said in 2015.

“I’ve read things that she’s said about me that were not the greatest, but we have never met,” Lopez told Andy Cohen in 2014.

But it doesn’t matter, because insulting or diminishing a rival by asking “Who?” seems to have become the go-to response in beefs of all varieties. 

The meme comes up again and again, and it’s relevant even beyond celebrity feuds. For instance, every time President Donald Trump or White House officials want to distance themselves from whomever is involved in the latest scandal, they’ve given some Carey-esque responses.

Longtime lawyer Michael Cohen took a plea deal?

“Not somebody who was with me that much,” Trump said last week. “He worked for me — you could really say it was more or less part time.”

Former campaign chairman Manafort convicted?

“I didn’t know Manafort well.”

So brava, Mariah Carey, for the headshake seen around the world, and for the most iconic way to respond to beefs. ― Marina Fang

The Droids We Were Looking For Always Had Beef

Sunset Boulevard via Getty Images

Co-star feuds are a dime a dozen, as synonymous with Hollywood as flacks and Botox. But the best co-star feud of all time is the one that took place between two robots. I’m referring, of course, to Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker, the “Star Wars” actors encased in metal to portray C-3PO and R2-D2, respectively.

The extent of their feud varied over the years, but it’s safe to say the charming relationship between the Rebel Alliance droids did not carry over to real life.

By the time the “Star Wars” prequel series had ended, the two basically weren’t speaking. Daniels, who apparently preferred to keep to himself on set, has been largely mum on the issue, though he did say in 2011 that R2-D2 “might as well be a bucket.” Baker, prior to his death in 2016, was candid about Daniels’ “rude” behavior, including a claim that Daniels called the 3-foot-8 Baker “little man.”

But the pinnacle came in 2008, when Baker participated in a cast reunion associated with the British documentary “Bring Back Star Wars.” When telling TV personality Justin Lee Collins whether he would attend the event, Baker apparently said, “It depends. If you invite his lordship — the one with the golden balls — if he comes, I won’t be there.”

And that, my friends, is golden. ― Matthew Jacobs

An Ode To The Rock Vs. Vin Diesel And Tyrese Gibson: 2 Feud 2 Furious

The Rock vs. Vin Diesel and Tyrese Gibson is truly the one feud to rule them all. There are so many twists and turns that it deserves its own Silmarillion, so we’ll try to take this abbreviated refresher a quarter mile at a time.

Things started on Aug. 8, 2016, A.D. (After Dwayne), when The Rock posted that it was his final week on “Fate of the Furious,” praising his female co-stars but calling some male co-stars “candy asses.” The post was accompanied with some similarly biting hashtags such as “#IcemanCometh #F8 #ZeroToleranceForCandyAsses.” 

Shortly after, TMZ reported that Vin Diesel was the man whose ass was made of candy. The “Fast and Furious” world had been Rocked.

Tyrese enters the feud, just because God is good, posting on Instagram a photo of Vin Diesel and himself, saying he’s “fucking proud” to call Diesel family.

The Rock and Vin Diesel allegedly then have a secret meeting to talk things out, the contents of which are still secret. The Rock posts that “Family is gonna have differences of opinion and fundamental core beliefs. To me, conflict can be a good thing, when its followed by great resolution.” Promoting “Furious 8” in 2017, Vin Diesel says that The Rock is “Uncle Dwayne” in his house. Much like their characters Dom and Hobbs sort out their differences, it seems this feud is behind us.

Then it got 2 feud 2 furious.

In October 2017, the date of The Rock and Jason Statham’s “Furious” spinoff “Hobbs and Shaw” is announced, and it appears it may have pushed back the release of The “Fast and Furious 9” to 2020.

Tyrese can’t take this ish anymore, and the gloves come off.

He calls The Rock “Dewayne” on Instagram. (Oh, who, by the way, wasn’t returning his texts!) For reasons still somewhat unclear, he posts an old video of The Rock trashing his 2015 album “Black Rose.” Also, as Uproxx recaps, after Vin Diesel posts a picture of himself, Paul Walker and Tyrese captioned “brotherhood,” Tyrese posts a screenshot of that showing Ludacris likes it.

A post shared by TYRESE (@tyrese) on

Oh. Shit. Real enough for you yet!?

But wait, The Rock is back for one last ride ...

In an interview with Rolling Stone in April 2018, The Rock confirms he and Vin Diesel shot no scenes together in “Furious 8,” says he’s not sure he’ll be in “Fast 9” and on the feud, adds, “I harbor no ill will there, just because of the clarity we have ... Actually, you can erase that last part about ‘no ill will.’ We’ll just keep it with the clarity.”

The Rock later says there’s “no need” to speak with Tyrese following the beef. Tyrese shows remorse, saying the feud was “not cool.”

In July 2018, I asked Hiram Garcia, president of production at Seven Bucks, Dwayne Johnson’s production company (who was also called out by Tyrese over the “Hobbs and Shaw” spinoff), about the situation. His publicist jumped in, shutting our conversation down.

“I was about to say everything, dude,” he joked.

Garcia did tell me that is was “always an intent” to spin off Johnson’s character, and conversations “got real” after “Fate of the Furious.” Of the new spinoff, he says, “The two guys that butt heads the whole time in the funniest way, and all they want to do is kick each other’s asses.”

Wait, man, are you talking about Hobbs and Shaw or The Rock and Vin Diesel?

To be determined. ― Bill Bradley

Goodbye, And Thank You For Reading

The essence of Beef Week is defiance, and in the spirit of that, my pick for Good Stuff this week has absolutely nothing to do with beef ― it’s about thottin’ and boppin’.

I had no idea who Holiday Sidewinder was before I came across her latest music video for the song “Leo” this week, but what I do know is a good sex-positive bop when I hear one ― and this is it. The song is an ’80s pop-esque anthem about being an unapologetic heaux, with brilliant lines like “I don’t remember his face, but I remember when I came.” Go awf, sis!

Oh, and the vid? It’s sleek and very cheeky, featuring the Australian singer-songwriter Sidewinder making powerful poses in stellar outfits surrounded by hot naked guys. What else is there to say? The video is a sweet, amusing end-of-the-week treat in what’s been, as we know all too well, a consistently depressing summer. Long live the Thot Bop. ― Zeba Blay

CONVERSATIONS