A new trend is churning on For You pages across TikTok, and you’ll either love it or hate it.
On Sept. 16, TikTok user and recipe developer @justine_snacks, whose real name is Justine Doiron, posted a clip to her feed where she creates a butter board, a dish inspired by a recipe in Josh McFadden’s James Beard Award-winning book “Six Seasons.” In her video, which has since gone mega-viral, Doiron spreads butter across a serving board and adds various flavors atop it.
“Have you heard of a butter board? This is what one looks like and I want to make them the next charcuterie board,” says Doiron in the video. She then pulls out a wooden board shaped like a slice of toast and spreads a heaping helping of butter directly onto it as if someone were planning on taking a bite of the buttered board with their morning coffee.
Doiron explains that McFadden’s butter boards are intended for serving a group of guests who might want a communal feel to their appetizer service. Then she adds flaky salt, lemon zest, herbs, sliced onion, edible petals and finally honey to the aesthetically pleasing offering.
Doiron’s video blew past the margarines, as it were, garnering 7.6 million views and nearly 1 million likes as of this writing. A further 2.7 million watched the same video on Instagram, with 86,000 liking it, inspiring people across social media to create their own versions of the board with their own favorite ingredients to pair with butter.
“I bet you didn’t know that a butter board is better than a charcuterie board,” said TikTok user @themodernnonna in her version, which includes fig jam, fresh figs, hot honey and walnuts. Many commenters have expressed their desire to make their own at home as well.
Even though this video has also gone viral, along with others that employ items like chili crunch, apricot and edible pansies in their butter boards, the comments of all the videos are peppered with naysayers who have concerns about the trend.
“Idk if I would like eating a block of butter as a snack,” said one TikTok commenter.
“During Covid everyone wore gloves, masks, and stay 6 feet away. Now we’re sharing tables of bite size food and scraping butter off the same plate,” someone else commented on TikTok.
“I’m sorry but the ‘butter board’ …. No,” tweeted Eater reporter Bettina Makalintal. “It’s the like big spread of butter that gives me the ick but all the components presented slightly different would be good,” she added in a subsequent tweet.
“I recognize this is likely not a widespread problem but i can’t stop imagining my butter-obsessed cat (???) just losing her entire tiny mind,” tweeted another Twitter user. “Not a single piece of toast would have time to reach that board.”
“Wooden boards are too porous for all that,” remarked someone else on Twitter. “Why can we just serve compound butter in cute shapes/dishes?”
“The concept of digging your grubby little hands onto this buttery board — People don’t like it anymore, not after the pandemic. Make individual butter boards,” said another TikToker in a video echoing the hesitancy many others across social media have expressed.
When it comes to handling food on wood, the FDA suggests that consumers may use wood or a nonporous surface for cutting raw meat and poultry, but should consider using one cutting board for fresh produce and bread and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood. So, if you’re eyeing the only wooden cutting board you own to try this trend out, maybe look into buying a dedicated board for your buttery fantasies.
For her part, Doiron has heard some of the criticism, particularly with a certain action she took in the video that started it all and has decided to speak out — specifically, about the bread-dipping from her viral video.
“I was not expecting this to blow up but YOU CAN USE A KNIFE JUST LIKE A CHEESEBOARD CALM YOURSELVES Ok ily,” Doiron commented on her own TikTok.
McFadden, the original recipe creator, said he’s happy the recipe is getting newfound attention, years after his 2017 tome added pasta with kale sauce to the zeitgeist.
“Everyone loves butter,” McFadden told TODAY Food, adding that serving it in this visually arresting way makes it more fun and interactive. “I think it’s super cool. It’s something I’ve been doing forever, so it’s nice getting noticed that way.”
McFadden, whose recipes often channel farming sensibilities, said the recipe began when he did a lot of different dinners on the farm. In addition to three restaurants he runs in Portland, Oregon — Ava Gene’s, Cicoria and Tusk — he also “is bringing new life to” Berny Farm, a historic 50-acre farm in Springdale, Oregon.
“We would do what we call ‘breads and spreads’ and and put them on the table,” said McFadden, who added that this recipe is actually about a decade old. “That was always one of the best things: to have a really amazing cultured butter. Typically we were on farms, so we’d be able to pull in all these different little herbs and little special things that are hard to find.”
Could we have seen this trend coming? Perhaps. In June, Alejandra Ramos, TODAY contributor and host of PBS’ “The Great American Recipe” stopped by the TODAY kitchen to share ideas for entertaining summer guests, including three distinct versions of the butter board. In Ramos‘s versions, she instead makes compound butter, or butter with blended ingredients, which she places in the center of each board along with a thematic items to dip within, like muffins for her strawberry butter board.
All in all, the idea of butter boards, according to its inventor, is to use the recipe “as a guide to set you up for success.” The world is your oyster — and if you want to slap a few of those on your butter board, go on ahead. No judgment here.