The Spy Test Kitchens strive to be au courant and topical. We read food columns, pour over cook books, watch trends, and avidly consume restaurant reviews. Because the writing can be delicious and clever, we get all sorts of ideas of what is new and innovative, and what to cook next. By the time a novelty food is featured as a gag on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” I think it is safe to assume the train has left the station, the novelty has worn out, or it just wasn’t a really great idea to begin with. It is passé. I point you to NyQuil Chicken, as an extremely bad cooking idea. Less dangerous, but no less odd, are butter boards.
NyQuil Chicken, also reported by NPR, was a bad joke popularized on TikTok, which is a popular site for young cooks to get new and groovy cooking hints. I like chicken, and once a year I like having a cold that demands a nighttime drug experience with NyQuil – I would never combine the two. I have seen photos of cooked NyQuil chicken: it looks sky-blue, not a color that is any way appetizing. In this NPR report, which details the dangers of poaching food in chemicals, it is green, and not in a healthy, leafy green vegetable way. DO NOT COOK NyQuil Chicken. https://www.npr.org/2022/09/22/1124252556/nyquil-chicken-challenge-fda-warning
Butter boards are extremely photogenic food and greatly popular on TikTok as well. (I first heard about them on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell me”, the NPR news quiz, which easily explains my demographic.) Butter boards are the natural progression of charcuterie boards, which seem to have outlived their usefulness as a novelty. The thrill of rolling up bits of deli meats have given way to schmearing cutting boards with pounds of softened butter (which is costly now, and in some markets, hard to find).
The butter is then covered with artfully tossed bunches of edible flowers, fresh herbs, handfuls of artisanal salts and peppers, and jewel-like baby vegetables, over which your guests then fawn, while spewing fresh post-COVID germs over each other. Your guests are supposed to twirl crusty slices of freshly baked peasant breads through these careful arrangements, scooping up butter and toppings, which in turn help to sop up the wine your friends are inhaling.
Add figs, add nasturtiums, add pomegranate seeds, add hot pepper jelly. You can clean your fridge out of all the fancy little glass jars of preserves, relishes and spreads that you own. But don’t make the cheese board an entire dinner. Maybe assemble a modest butter board for an appetizer while you are frantically shredding a Costco rotisserie chicken in the kitchen, attempting to make everything you serve look homemade.
You can pair a butter board with a cheese board, a crudité board, and a charcuterie board and put them out on the sideboard. So 1950s cocktail party. Peg Bracken would approve. Be sure to have lots of wine.
There is nothing that I like better (food-wise) than a glass of nice red wine, with a piece of crusty, warm and yeasty bread, with good butter. I tend to stop after one piece, though. I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, and I imagine she will look askance if I told her I was consuming mass quantities of butter for my dinner tonight. https://www.tiktok.com/@food52/video/7146324658722180394?
Go be trendy. Enjoy modern life. If you can find good, affordable butter, and want to share it with your friends, make a butter board. It’s easy, it’s pretty, and it’s tasty. And the holidays are upon us: https://cookthestory.com/holiday-butter-board/ Just no experimenting with NyQuil Chicken, please.
“‘Two days wrong!’ sighed the Hatter. ‘I told you butter wouldn’t suit the works!’ he added, looking angrily at the March Hare.
‘It was the best butter,’ the March Hare meekly replied.
‘Yes, but some crumbs must have got in as well,’ the Hatter grumbled: ‘you shouldn’t have put it in with the bread-knife.’
The March Hare took the watch and looked at it gloomily: then he dipped it into his cup of tea, and looked at it again: but he could think of nothing better to say than his first remark, ‘It was the best butter, you know.’”