NEW YORK• This is the story of a woman who became famous on Instagram for smooshing her face into bread products.
It sounds completely random. But consider the Internet and you can begin to believe.
In a culinary era defined by its anti-gluten principles, one 27-year-old woman is showing her unabashed love for all things grain-based.
Her work has caught the attention of BuzzFeed and Vice's Munchies blog, helping her amass a following of more than 33,000 people.
The Brooklyn-based blogger, who is a copywriter by day, wishes to remain anonymous but The Times has verified her identity.
Since she first smooshed a potato on her Instagram account, Bread Face Blog, six months ago, she has created a ritual that involves rolling her face in bread to a carefully curated soundtrack.
A single Popeye's biscuit is smashed to the tune of a song by Lindsey Buckingham. The Cocteau Twins croon as she prepares a stack of tortillas.
"It's just a little crush," Jennifer Paige sings in the background as a pretzel from Black Forest, a beer garden in Brooklyn, is smooshed.
She eats everything when she is done.
"I've learnt the hard way not to eat a party sub," she said. "Probably won't face another bread that big if I have to eat it alone."
She is only physically alone. Across social media, her disciples have taken to #breadfacing, smashing their faces into loaves of bread, stroking their faces against tortillas and sticking their noses in leftovers from Applebee's.
It might be tempting to declare the advent of breadfacing as the moment when the Internet has finally lost its marbles, but really, people have been going crazy for years. Breadfacing mirrors the physicality of fads that first took over social media in 2011.
People all over the Internet were lying facedown (#planking), hanging upside down (#batting) and perching and staring into space (#owling).
Why do people do it?
"It's a very simple idea that captured people's hearts," Mr Sam Weckert, a man credited with starting the planking trend, told The Wall Street Journal in 2011.
The owner of Bread Face Blog has been asked several times if her project is meant to appeal to gluten fetishes, therefore invoking the so-called Rule 34, defined by Urban Dictionary as the truism that sexually related materials exist on the Internet for any conceivable subject. But it is an idea she denies.
"If I'm filling a once-empty slot for someone sexually - then that's awesome," she said. "I get it. I don't think it's weird - food is tactile and sexy and we can't help what turns us on, just don't overindulge yourself. The other part of me wonders if anyone would even bring that up if I weren't an Asian girl. I mean... I don't wonder that much; I know the answer."
Regardless of how the project is received, at least one company, a butchery and sandwich shop in Brooklyn, sees the opportunity in a viral Instagram movement and has donated its wares to the Bread Face Blog, turning this unlikely meme creator into a platform for sponsored viral content. (Otherwise, she estimates that she has spent about US$200 or S$288 on bread so far.)
In an e-mail explanation, Mr Gil Calderon, a representative with the company, The Meat Hook, baked in some puns: "We definitely had a roll in setting up the collaboration. Her popularity seems to be leavening quite nicely, wouldn't you say?"
NEW YORK TIMES