Hi, my name's Deirdre and I'm doing TikTok wrong.
At least that's what my kids tell me.
Honestly, it took me a while to figure out the point of TikTok. At first, I thought it was for editing and publishing videos, like this one that I made to celebrate the last day of school during the first COVID semester, because I tend to combine celebrations with things that embarrass my children.
Then I thought it was a source for nonsense news, and every time my kids would say hey, "Is it true that..." I'd immediately accuse them of getting their information from TikTok and cross examine them with, "did you fact check this? Did it come from a creditable news source? Did you cross-reference against NPR? Was it published by actual journalists in a regional or city paper?" #supportlocaljournalism.
But turns out they were getting all that from YouTube.
Then I heard about a certain group of TikTokkers who reserved tickets for an event they had no intention of attending, thus making sure it wasn't well attended, and I thought, ok, that's kinda fun. Finally, I realized all these videos I kept seeing on Twitter all came from TikTok and I started searching for them, and I fell down the rabbit hole.
Funny bits by random people
Harry Potter spoofs (so many)
And then...the food videos
I love to cook, I love to read cookbooks and apparently I also love to watch other people talking about food.
Watch me pack lunch!
Here's what I got from Aldi!
Here's how I feed my family of 10!
Here's what we eat for (insert holiday from any culture, if there's a meal, I want to see it)!
Let's make a Depression-era recipe using ingredients you don't want to eat together!
Watch me make a Minnesota salad!
I could spend HOURS scrolling through my feed for food-related videos.
I started sneaking TikTok recipes into our family meals, hoping to convince my teens to branch out in their eating.
Three-ingredient ice cream!
Three-ingredient Fettucine Alfredo!
Three-ingredient coffee cream! (ok, that was for me)
Dessert charcuterie board!
Apple cider mimosas! (ok, that was also for me)
Sheet pan quesadilla!
Sheet pan pancakes!
Sheet pan anything!
It was the Boursin cheese pasta that finally broke us.
I'd seen the feta tomato pasta, and was itching to try it. But then I saw Padma Lakshmi make linguine with boursin cheese and peas and OMG YES PLEASE.
I served it on a Sunday night with roast chicken breasts and French bread, and the peas were on the side because this is not my first rodeo.
It was delicious, decadent, divine.
Or, if you ask my kids...it was ok.
"I GOT IT FROM TIKTOK," I said.
"Meh," they said.
"ARE YOU KIDDING THIS IS AMAZING!"
"I'm sure it is, Mom," said Luke, while piling a mountain of sliced chicken on his plate, carefully avoiding the pasta.
"Yeah, Mom," Parker said, pushing his fork into the linguine to make it look like he'd eaten some. "It was good. It's just, you know, I'm full already."
"THAT'S NOT WHAT THE ICE CREAM SANDWICH IN YOUR HAND SAYS!"
That's when I just stopped talking and started muttering to myself about ungrateful teenagers.
Glass half empty: they didn't eat it
Glass half full: they felt so guilty after my Boursin-fueled rant they actually offered to help with the dishes.
So I backed off.
I stopped incorporating TikTok foods into our meal plan.
Ok, that's a lie, I just stopped telling them that's what I was doing.
And then my oldest Parker had my phone (probably because he couldn't find his, which...don't get me started) and said, "Mom, your TikTok feed is so boring. You follow the lamest people."
I said, "I follow funny things. Those people are hilarious. You just don't appreciate satire."
Parker held up my phone to me, showing someone making a Mississippi pot roast. "No, Mom, I don't appreciate crock pots."
That's when he told me I was doing TikTok all wrong.
That's when I reminded him I paid for his phone.
That's when he handed mine back and stopped talking.
We no longer speak of the Boursin pasta.
Or what we follow on TikTok.
Two weeks ago, I couldn't help myself.
I made the TikTok green beans.
I casually let it slip as we were in the kitchen. "Oh these? I got the recipe from TikTok."
And then I waited. Told myself: be cool, man.
Parker dished up first and he didn't take any beans.
I didn't say a thing.
Then Luke dished up.
"Some green beans?" I asked.
Luke shrugged and handed over his plate. I served him a modest amount. NBD, just some beans. That are green. And viral.
We sat down to eat. I took a bite and said, "wow, these are really good." And then mentally kicked myself for coming on too strong.
At first, nobody responded.
Then I watched as Luke picked up a green bean.
I was tempted to remind him to use his fork, but again, I said nothing. Memories of Boursin-laced linguine danced in my head as I watched him take a bite.
He ate the entire bean.
And then he said, "you know what, Mom?"
"What's that, sweetie," I asked, oh-so-casually.
He looked reflective, as he used a fleece blanket for a napkin instead of the actual napkin in his lap.
"These almost make me want to eat green beans."
And in my house, we call that a win.