I would posit that the real sign we are nearing a complete and total end of civilization as we know it is neither Lizzo twerking with historical artifacts nor world leaders teetering on the brink of nuclear war, but the latest viral TikTok food trend: the “butter board.”
A close but objectionable cousin to the charcuterie board, the butter board is exactly what it sounds like: butter smeared on a board. I will concede that when attempted by an Instagram or Pinterest professional, a butter board can look pleasing to the eye for about five minutes before anyone actually engages with it. That’s when things get questionable.
After artfully spreading softened butter on your butcher board canvas, then sprinkling with assorted toppings such as herbs, nuts, fruits, and spices, party-goers are invited to use torn chunks of bread to scoop up and eat the butter and toppings off the board. The food itself, bread and butter, is certainly not reinventing any wheel, but the opportunity to create aesthetically pleasing displays for your next party — and, more importantly, your social media feed — is why they’ve taken off in popularity for dinner parties and baby showers alike.
With content creators trying to one-up each other, the trend has been taken to impressive, and yet alarming heights of human innovation. You can find any iteration of any size, shape, or theme imaginable: cream cheese boards, nutella boards, and of course, a pumpkin spice butter board.
@flouring.kitchen Too much butter or not enough? @Justine Doiron is a GENIUS and I just had to make one too. Let me know in the comments if I should make a frosting board! Go to my profile and tap on the link for the recipe. Scroll down until you see the recipe. #butterboard #MyFallStarbucksOrder #pumpkinspice #pumpkinbutter #appetizers ♬ Fall October Halloween horror classic(177261) – rareNote
Yet amid all the wonderous things the human mind can think up, not many of these creative geniuses have stopped to ask whether they should. After the first few swipes, any aesthetic appeal you achieved is degraded to an incoherent mess, as is any respect for hygiene. There is suddenly nothing appetizing about it.
We finally emerged from a global pandemic, where the fear of germs was so tightly held that we forced loved ones to embrace through a shower curtain, only to throw all caution (and apparently all utensils) to the wind. Do you know what bacteria and pathogens live in the porus cutting board you’re serving room temperature butter off of? Have the numerous hands you are literally breaking bread with been scrubbed in before engaging? The answer to both questions is “not likely.”
Look, I ignore the CDC’s overly cautious food safety guidelines like any sane person who eats their steak medium rare. And while there is certainly a time and place for eating with your hands, we also invented forks and knives for a reason. Just because we’ve all grown strangely indifferent to the catastrophic events happening around us doesn’t mean we must abandon all rules of civility. Let us at least go down in dignity. No more butter boards.