Yes, the butter board trend is revolting but you’ll try it anyway
TikTok’s latest viral food trend is, like many TikTok trends, a little questionable. The butter board, popularized by recipe developer Justine Doiron (AKA @justine_snacks), is sweeping the platform with creators trying out their own sweet and savory takes.
Doiron’s version of the butter board, inspired by chef Josh McFadden, is topped with flaky sea salt, lemon zest, herbs, red onions, edible flowers, and a “honey coriander situation” which is arguably a great indie electronica band name.
In theory, the butter board is fine–just a prettier way to serve a communal loaf of warm bread and soft butter. But in practice there’s something many find gag-inducing about the trend. People on the internet are criticizing everything from the amount of cholesterol to the difficulty of cleaning an oily wood board. It’s divisive enough that some Twitter users are threatening to end friendships if they’re served a butter board at the next party. Then again, the direction the sun rises couldn’t gain a consensus on Twitter.
Maybe we’re just not ready for communal foods again in this post-Covid world? But as Dorian points out in a comment to the hundreds of TikTok users who have never heard of cutlery, “YOU CAN USE A KNIFE JUST LIKE A CHEESEBOARD CALM YOURSELVES.”
All of this isn’t to say the butter board trend is without merit. At least it is exactly what it claims, unlike “nature’s cereal,” a 2021 TikTok food trend that boldly asked us to believe a bowl of berries drowned in coconut water was a suitable replacement for Cap’n Crunch.
The butter board is more akin to baked feta pasta or the tortilla wrap hack–a low-effort dish that relies on simple ingredients, requires little culinary ability, and offers endless options for customization.
Some TikTok users are opting for sweet ingredients like figs, strawberries, and honey. Others are infusing butter boards with popular flavors from their own cultures like this Desi butter board from @zaynahsbakes. Infused butter is nothing new, but the butter board trend eliminates the prep work of combining ingredients making it an easier way to experiment with new flavors.
Doiron mentions she wants to make butter boards the next charcuterie board, and if ever there were a year this could happen it would be one where food prices are predicted to jump 9 to 10 percent. Even with a butter shortage that’s caused a 24.6 percent year over year increase in price, assembling a butter board remains a more affordable option than loading up your grocery cart with cured meats, pricey cheeses, nuts, olives, fruit, and jam.
There’s a reason the phrase “bread and butter” has become synonymous with basic, ordinary sustenance; the cheap and filling combination has been a staple for hundreds of years. So if creatively plating that staple and topping it with fresh herbs and pretty edible flowers can make it feel a little more special, why not? It wouldn’t be surprising to see the butter board pop up on more holiday tables this year as a budget-friendly but striking addition to the turkey and mashed potatoes.
If smearing a bunch of butter on a cutting board becomes an acceptable appetizer to bring to potlucks and it can be assembled for less than $15, you can count my chips-and-dip bringing self sold on the trend. Even if just looking at it makes my blood pressure rise.