How do you do, fellow kids? It is I, a cool and relevant elder Millennial who knows lots of things about trends and slang. I own a lime-green eyeshadow from a DTC beauty company. Yesterday I complimented someone on their Jibbitz. So I was flattered but not surprised when our lifestyle editor asked me to write Bon Appetit’s year-end roundup of TikTok food trends, seeing as how I have my “finger” on the “pulse” of this cultural moment.
I did have one slight hesitation. I’m not on TikTok. I have seen TikTok videos, of course—mostly via Instagram or the platform’s terrible desktop interface or this SNL documentary. Many creators are doing delicious, bizarre, wonderful things with food on the platform, and I work with at least one very talented person who is legitimately TikTok famous. And yet I remain unclear on whether the word “TikTok” is a noun, adjective, verb, or all of the above. I’m on top of FoodTok in the same way that I’m on top of professional sports—if I need to talk to your uncle about the Jets, I can do so for five minutes before I run out of material. And so, I present to you a very official critique of 2021’s TikTok food trends, written by someone who uses earbuds with a cord. (Wait, is that in again?)
This one is clever! Without having tried this hack, I imagine that there’s enough oil in pesto to sub in for a knob of butter or a glug of olive oil, with the added bonus of bright herby flavor and a little frico action from the cheese. Would still recommend a nonstick skillet, but I’d try it. Nine out of ten TikToks (it’s a scientific unit of measurement now too). Points off because that yolk is a little too done for my taste.
This probably won’t kill you, but as a general rule, let’s not start ingesting supplements based on internet videos, yeah? Could we not just...eat spinach? Looks pretty, seems scammy, two out of ten TikToks.
I don’t get brain tingles from ASMR, but I did find this deeply satisfying. In an alternate reality where I’m on TikTok, the thing I like most about the platform is the feeling of being transported to locations very different from my own. Plaudits for strong knife skills (that ginger brunoise?) and the cleavers-as-tongs trick. An enthusiastic ten out of ten TikToks.
Can we leave coffee alone? Wasn’t it fine without ghee and protein powder? I don’t support, but I also don’t think this one is TikTok’s fault—let’s blame protein bros and the “wellness” industry. One out of ten TikToks.
Fifty years from now, will baked feta pasta define our cultural moment in the same way that fondue did for the ’70s or flourless chocolate cake did for the ’90s? To me, this seems like the quintessence of FoodTok—there’s a hacky element, you need little to no cooking expertise, and it’s intensely cravable. Eight out of ten TikToks.
I’m on a roll, I know this one too! We wrote about Emily’s favorite knives. I admit to being befuddled by the virality of this video. Unlike the feta pasta or sushi bake trends, there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly novel about the recipe or preparation, but she seems nice, like maybe she’d let me sit with her if I were new at school. Six out of ten TikToks.