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The Most Disappointing Grocery Item of 2023, According to Customers

A former head writer for "The Simpsons" just kicked off his annual food awards.

At the end of each year, Bill Oakley, a former head writer and showrunner for "The Simpsons," likes to reflect on all of the foods he tried over the past 12 months. The comedy writer turned fast-food fanatic just revealed his most disappointing grocery item of 2023—and it's a doozy.

Since his time on "The Simpsons," Oakley has developed quite a following for his reviews of fast-food and grocery items on Instagram (@thatbilloakley). He also founded his very own club for fellow food lovers, which he named "The Steamed Hams Society" in honor of one of his most famous Simpsons sketches.

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For the past few years, Oakley has been handing out awards to the best and worst food items of the year through his annual "Steamie Awards" on Instagram. This week, Oakley gave out the award for his "biggest disappointment" of 2023 to a frozen item from a major fast-food chain: White Castle's Cheeseburger Castle Bites.

Developed in partnership with the frozen food company Bellisio Foods, this frozen White Castle item first hit grocery store shelves in September 2022.  In a press release last year, Bellisio described them as "bite-sized snacks" that are "made with 100% real beef and onions and wrapped in a crispy golden crust." But according to Oakley, the taste of the Castle Bites is more akin to "cat food."

White Castle Cheeseburger Castle Bites
Bellisio Foods

That's not to say Oakley doesn't enjoy anything from White Castle's frozen food line. In an Instagram video announcing the award, he said that he's been eating and enjoying the brand's microwaveable sliders for nearly 30 years. But considering that the Castle Bites are Oakley's biggest disappointment of 2023, they certainly didn't live up to the mini burgers he already knew and loved. 

Oakley also announced two runners-up for the Most Disappointing Grocery Item of 2023 award. His first runner-up was the limited-edition Spicy Jalapeno Pineapple Doritos that debuted over the summer. The second runner-up was Pink Sauce, an eyepopping condiment that went viral on TikTok last year and then debuted at Walmart at the start of 2023.

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Oakley's biggest disappointment of 2023 is only one of 10 accolades he's giving this year as part of his sixth annual Steamie Awards. He began announcing two awards per day on Dec. 18 and will continue announcing them through Dec. 22. Other Steamie Awards that have already announced include pickle of the year (awarded to Pops' Pepper Patch Spicy Habagardil Pickles) and international potato chip of the year (awarded to Bret's Côte de Boeuf chips from France).

Zoe Strozewski
Zoe Strozewski is a News Writer for Eat This, Not That! A Chicago native who now lives in New Jersey, she graduated from Kean University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Read more about Zoe