Do you love potato salad? Maybe you're one of more than 4,000 backers who collectively contributed more than $40,000 in less than a week to Zack Danger Brown's now infamous potato salad Kickstarter, whose goal was initially set at $10. With ample publicity from nearly every corner of the mainstream media — earlier this week, Brown was interviewed by Good Morning America, Buzzfeed, and participated in a Reddit AMA — the donations are still pouring in by the minute. It seems everyone wants a piece of this potato salad.
In fact, Brown is struggling to come up with new rewards for his thousands of backers. He initially promised backers a bite of the potato salad, but now he's upped the ante by offering to live stream the making of the potato salad, use better mayo and multiple recipes. He's even contemplating ordering trucker hats that say “I love potato salad.” But the truth is, not everyone's going to get a bite of this Ohio-made potato salad.
It turns out, Kickstarter is flooded with a new crop of local campaigns inspired by Brown's success. Here's a look at the best L.A.-based Kickstarters from Brown wannabes — who might actually share their product with you if you go fund it. ]
Mac and Cheese
Antonio Sanchez, an Angeleno who describes himself as an effects artist and inspired chef, wants to make the greatest mac and cheese of all time, according to the copycat Kickstarter he launched on Monday. He promises to share the mac and cheese “with the world,” which is doubtful, but maybe he'd at least share it with some other L.A.-based backers. He clearly copy and pasted most of his backer incentives from the legendary potato salad Kickstarter (hat, T-shirt, recipe book, etc.) but at least L.A. backers have a better chance of tasting this mac and cheese in Sanchez's kitchen than flying to Ohio for a bite of potato salad. Want to fund it? You've got until September 5 to contemplate the risks — according to Sanchez, there aren't any.
Joseph Bustamante in Montebello also wants to make mac and cheese. His project goal is also $10, and he's only got until July 28 to fund it. Unlike Sanchez, Bustamente faces some real risks. For one, he might put the ingredients in the wrong order and mess it all up, he writes. Or the cheese might burn and set his house on fire. He aspires to make mac and cheese with his own two hands — “not that instant Kraft mac and cheese stuff,” he insists. His ambition is palpable, and his calculations (including gas to drive to the grocery store) are strategic. Even his backer incentives are inspired: Who wouldn't want a sculpture of their own face made out of uncooked macaroni and Elmer's glue?
Three Bean Salad
Andy Lowe, an L.A. playwright, wants to expand his repertoire and learn to make three bean salad. Referring to himself as a troll for potato salad, he seems to be campaigning out of revenge for Brown's Kickstarter. Besides, the three bean salad has more protein and less carbs than the far more popular potato salad, Lowe reasons. But his incentives are somewhat self-loathing. The more money you donate, the more he talks down to you. Donate $1, and he'll say “cool beans.” Donate $50 by August 7 and “you've just elevated a dumb prank to 'performance art' thereby devaluing real art and craftsmanship and setting the field back about a hundred years.” We're not sure what field he's referring to, but we're guessing he's not a fan of potato salad. Cool beans. [
“J” is just a guy who likes to cook and wants to try making new things, says his Kickstarter profile. And as of this week, J in Los Angeles just wants to make ice cream. (Well, he also wants to make salsa. More on that below.) Inspired by Brown's Kickstarter, J will attempt to raise $100 by September 6 to make ice cream for the very first time, once he buys the equipment and ingredients. The incentive? Backers get to decide which flavor he makes. But “please don't ask for weird or gross flavors,” he begs. That just wouldn't be funny.
This is J's other Kickstarter campaign, in case the ice cream thing doesn't quite pan out. The goal is low, at just $15, and unlike his ice cream project, this one doesn't involve any risks. He doesn't even have a salsa recipe yet, but he does have backer incentives that become increasingly condescending with each increased donation. Donate $15, the goal for the entire project, and J will personally send you a hand-written thank you note. He may or may not also write “Whoa there big spender!” in the note, as he does on the website. You've got until September 6 to fund this project, big spender.
Simon Gross, an experienced baker based in the Antelope Valley, wants to go above and beyond the traditional gingerbread houses he's already mastered. He wants to build a bona fide gingerbread castle, and he'll need to raise $60 by August 7 in order to do so. Gross is somewhat secretive about this entire operation, and he keeps the ingredients and recipe completely under lock and key. We're not exactly sure how this edible fortress will come together, and we doubt backers would get a bite out of it, but the backer incentive is pretty solid: Pledge $30 or more and you'll get a dozen snickerdoodle cookies. Pledge anything less than that, and you'll just have to be satisfied with knowing you funded what might be Southern California's only gingerbread castle. And isn't that more impressive than having funded a bowl of potato salad you'll never get to taste?