Gross or great? Fancy butter boards soar as shortage looms

NEW YORK (AP) — Legit rough or crazy delicious?

Butterboards, the polarizing stepchild of charcuterie, have taken TikTok to new heights of eating habits as some horrified safety and nutrition experts look on. And now, heading into the holidays, the boards are landing on tables as quick, cheap alternatives to the meat- and fancy-cheese-laden OG despite a winter butter shortage for the U.S. that could drive up prices and make it harder to find in supermarkets.

“I wish they would just go away. The idea of ​​smearing something on a wooden board with other food, sharing it with other people and letting them all dip into it. It’s germ heaven,” says Laura Cipullo, a registered dietitian in New York City .

Justine Doiron, who creates food content like @justine-snacks on TikTok and Instagram, started the butter board party on September 15. She is credited with coining the term in a video that has her spreading it with abandon on a cutting board and topping it with, among other things, edible flowers.

She got the idea — fortified butter on wood — from chef Joshua McFadden’s 2017 cookbook with Martha Holmberg, “Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables.”

“I think the draw is that it’s super customizable,” Doiron told the Associated Press. “You can be so creative with it, and people are always looking for something they’ve never seen before. It’s an easy way to have some fun with food.”

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Side note: She has a plant called Butter.

Doiron went viral with his busy butter board and hand swipes of thick, crusty bread slices. Copycat videos under the hashtag #butterboard have since received more than 240 million views on TikTok. Searches related to the topic have reached 10 billion on the platform, with decorated mountains of butter also going strong on Instagram.

And the boards themselves have spawned sweet sister versions, vegan cousins ​​and ice cream aunts and uncles.

Magnolia Bakery posted a video of buttercream frosting being spread in a weird way on a cake stand with chunks of cookies, brownies, rainbow sprinkles and other goodies to swipe. Toothpicks were involved, as opposed to all hands in. Ben & Jerry’s filmed a frozen version.

Private chefs have many requests from customers who are now looking for spreadable products on board. Kevin Hart’s chef in Los Angeles, Kai Chase, said she created several of the boards for him as decoration.

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While some eateries have been buttering boards for years, Magnolia, for one, has no plans to sell its own boards. As for the idea of ​​promoting sugar overload, Magnolia’s CEO and head baker, Bobbie Lloyd, said, “We believe moderation is the key to a sweet, balanced life.”

Doiron regrets some butterboard, when it comes to food handling, though she’s reluctant to put “yuck in someone’s yum.”

“I prefer a knife. The big mistake in my video was swiping it because I only had 28 seconds. But I think just like a charcuterie board, serve it with a knife, let people serve themselves. But it’s really up to personal preferences, she says.

Suzie Cornell of Boca Raton, Fla., brought a lox and cream cheese board to break the Yom Kippur fast in early October when her family got together with a small group of friends. Putting food together on a board (in her case stone) appeals for a simple reason: “I don’t cook. I mean, literally, I don’t cook.”

Cornell ditched the joint swiping situation and went for silverware because the hand swiping bores her.

In Salina, Ohio, Emily Westerfield runs a small catering business that specializes in boards and bites. Boards slathered with toppings and toppings are on the tongue of many customers these days.

“I get requests like crazy. A friend who hosts her book club asked for a cream cheese board since they met that morning,” she said.

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Darin Detwiler, assistant professor of food policy at Northeastern University and an expert on food industry regulation, sees the potential for pathogens everywhere when it comes to butter boards. Wood boards crack and those cracks cannot be adequately cleaned, he said.

Detwiler entered her field after losing her 16-month-old son in the 1993 E.coli outbreak linked to contaminated beef at Jack in the Box restaurants. More than 700 people fell ill in four states and three other children also died.

“Personally, I would use a plastic disc, something that can be disinfected in a dishwasher,” he said. “The other hidden danger is the idea of ​​so many hands in a butter board. People think big. People don’t think about making small butter boards. They think about making these big beautiful displays. If any of those hands aren’t washed, you’re just inviting .”

Paul Zahn, an entertaining expert in Los Angeles, has a solution for that: “jarcuterie.”

“Make individual jars or boards for guests,” he said. “That way, people keep their bacteria to themselves and you give them portion control.”

Some deny the fatty nature of butter in general and the almighty devil, evil cholesterol. Moderation would help there too. Less filling spreads are also used, including hummus.

“It’s a pretty silly trend in a way,” says Lori Shemek, a nutritionist in Dallas. “I saw a comedian who said, ‘Oh, butter boards.’ It’s like butter on bread.’”
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