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Last updateWed, 14 Apr 2021 11am

Features

Trending Recipe: Feta Pasta

Feta PastaGiven the times of the world we are in, some can get a little consumed with the new trends on social media. I know I have taken advantage of social media, especially the app TikTok. The app is a video-sharing social media network, and the purpose is to create and upload short videos for entertainment.

As I was scrolling on the app for hours one night, I stumbled upon a recipe for a baked feta pasta dish. The original recipe was posted by Jenni Häyrinen in 2019. Häyrinen is a Finnish food blogger, and her recipe led to the #fetapasta hashtag trending on TikTok, which now has over 44 million views. This recipe seemed like the easiest type of pasta to make, and I was confused as to why this was a big trend on social media platforms. I mean, no hate to this pasta recipe, but I just did not get why there were so many posts, articles, stories, etc. about this pasta. The Washington Post, Food Network, Delish, The Rachael Ray Show, and more have posted recipe videos and articles about this pasta recipe.

 The dish consisted of using an ovenproof skillet or deep-dish pan then covering the bottom of the pan with cherry tomatoes, olive oil, garlic cloves, basil, salt, pepper, and putting a big block of feta cheese in the middle (with the cherry tomatoes surrounding it). After the pan is created, throw it in the oven at 400 degrees and let it bake for about 40 minutes. While that is baking, you then boil your pasta. After the feta dish is done baking, you toss the pasta in the feta mixture and stir it all together, allowing the feta to cover the pasta. Seems simple right? Almost too simple, and probably not worth all the attention it was getting.

I decided to make the trending dish for my boyfriend and I one night. Being fully Italian, and coming from an Italian pasta loving family, I did not know what to expect from this dish. I went through all of the instructions carefully and started working on the meal.

Creating the feta mixture was what I expected, easy. Then after the pasta was cooked and ready, I tossed it into the feta pan. It was hard to stir it around and make sure it was completely covered. This step took me a little longer than I thought it would, but I guess you should leave the dish in the oven until the feta looks completely soft. Something I did not do.

After putting the pasta creation into two bowls, my boyfriend and I sat down and dived in. I was genuinely surprised, and I really enjoyed it. I did not think I would like it, since it seemed like a heavy dish, but I was completely wrong. I would definitely want to make it again.

My boyfriend TJ Foley,  a communication student, was there while I made the dish. Foley said that he watched me make the plate carefully and watched how the feta needed to be positioned in a certain way in order to completely spread around the pan.

“The dish was excellent,” said TJ. “It was kind of sweet, and strong in a way. It was also really heavy and made me full quickly. However, it was really good, and I would definitely eat it again.”

TJ believes that the reason for this pasta creation to be trending, not only on TikTok but on other social media platforms, would be because of how easy it is to make the dish. He also said the time length of this recipe is short, which probably made people more drawn to making it.

“It was such a unique pasta dish, actually. Now that I am thinking about it, it’s probably in my top three for my favorite pasta dish,” said TJ.

Donna Dolphin, Associate Professor of Communication, said that her first reaction to this recipe trending was because of the pandemic. “People are cooking now who never really did before. TikTok trends younger and this recipe appears very easy to make—and sounds delicious—and is healthy and affordable,” said Dolphin.

She also took into account the different topics and activities that tend to go trending on social media. Dolphin said, “I am often amazed by what takes off in pop culture. At least this isn’t people doing stupid stunts and hurting themselves!”

Mary Harris, Specialist Professor of Communication, has some background in food and nutrition. She said there are some benefits in this pasta creation.

“This recipe is a heavy dish, but ingredients such as the garlic, tomatoes, thyme, and lemon add some nutritional benefits in the form of vitamins and minerals,” said Harris. She also said that this type of dish can vary depending on whether someone is dairy free.

“This recipe would be appropriate for people who enjoy the salty, depth of flavor of feta cheese and who like being inventive with pasta dishes. For those who are dairy-free, they might be able to test out a vegan feta cheese in place of the dairy feta used in the recipe,” said Harris.

She said people want to see recipes that have not been done before, or at least is not widely known. Social media would also be the best outlet to release easy recipes in order to grab people’s attention quickly.

“Overall, social media users gravitate towards quick and simple recipes that pack a flavorful punch. This recipe hits all of those marks while also doing something that isn’t widely seen - baking a block of feta cheese,” said Harris.

She summarized by saying that people need to be careful with how much time they spend on social media, even if the videos are addicting in some way.

“In general, people’s attention spans have become increasingly shortened by social media and short videos such as TikTok and Reels, so I just recommend that people remain mindful of how many videos—cooking or otherwise—they are consuming, and whether or not they are actually spending time being creative and using the content they are watching in helpful ways,” said Harris.

 

PHOTO TAKEN by Georgeanne Nigro

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