By Mike Pomranz
Updated November 26, 2014
Credit: iStockphoto

“OMG. That emoji you sent me in your last text. I soooo want to eat that! But I don’t have a recipe for it!”

The above, admittedly fictional, text presents a real problem. Emojis are replacing certain words (or phrases) in our digital language, and yet they aren’t given the same status as those words. Why can’t we use emojis in academic papers or legal documents? Shouldn’t these helpful little pictures be thought of in a more dignified way?

Apparently, the New York Times Cooking site thinks so.

On Tuesday, Sam Sifton, food editor for the New York Times, announced on Twitter that his site’s recipe database is now fully searchable when using emojis. The fallout: No matter what emotion you are feeling, as long as there’s a Unicode for it, you can turn that feeling into a meal (or at least a side).

The emoji-to-English translation remains a bit of a mystery though. Turns out a pair of hands high-fiving is the international symbol for banana beignets. The woman with bunny ears emoji (often depicted as two girls dancing), quite head-scratchingly gets fried chicken as one of the results.

All this is made doubly confusing because there aren’t recipes for every emoji. The next time somebody asks you if you want “wind chime” for dinner, you can respond with confidence, “There are no recipe results for that emoji, you idiot!” Frowny face, frowny face thumbs down.