TikTok Feta Pasta: There's More To It Than Hype
by WSNXT Team·
Written By Jade Scott
It happened. Sunday night. I did it. I made the #uunifetapasta and I’m not sorry. I am a few days late to the party but I never like to jump on a bandwagon too quickly.
Something about this dish has called out to the masses, causing feta blocks around the world to find themselves slathered in olive oil and flanked by clusters of tomatoes in a baking tray, in what has become a kind of odd, large-scale catering event that everyone attends from the comfort of their own homes. We’re all doing it and we’re all talking about it.
It was my Valentine dinner of choice (the toms are red and therefore romantic). I prepped (what little there was to do) and twiddled my thumbs for mere moments as the salty crumble of cheese melted into hot, bursting tomatoes, before folding through the pasta and filling my bowl. In what will become known as the quickest cooking decision I have EVER made, this TikTok sensation gave me everything I needed, flavour, comfort and heartiness, with a quick delivery promise and no need to tip the driver. It also ticked the boxes for nutrition in my eyes; fresh ingredients, simply cooked.
Now, this is not a food review, but it did stir up thoughts about the simple cravings that we get and how we’re satiated online. So many food-based puns available as well.
This isn’t just about food, it’s about the rituals that surround cooking and how our lives, ever-changing and full to the brim, require the most basic of culinary creations to reconnect us with fresh, nutritious ingredients and spark joy, not distress, in the kitchen.
What the creator of the #uunifetapasta, Jenni Häyrinen did, was create something appealing and ultimately, completely connective. We may not be dining out together, but there would have been thousands tucking into this dish at the same time when the feta pasta TikTok dropped. I wonder who I dined with last night?
So, why did this dish go viral? Simplicity. No bones about it. It’s easy and the reviews were glowing. Even Gwynny did it (she switched it up a little of course). The only slight amendments to the dish that I saw, was the gentle zesting of a lemon for extra zing over on some pages. Shy of any citrus fruits, rest assured, if you haven’t already made this dish (I’m pretty sure I’m the last living person on earth to do it) it won’t be lacking in flavour.
In a time where we’re limited by social activities and busier than ever as the Passion Economy flourishes, cooking is something that needs a minimal approach. Our minds, souls and stomachs benefit from it.
And it’s not just the ease of it. Many of us enjoy the ritual of cooking at home, but it’s the joy of minimal ingredient cooking that always wins out, especially if you’re looking to take it online.
Michelle Lau is an entrepreneur, dietitian, educator, chef and founder of Nutrilicious, a B2B nutrition consultancy with a vision to “Change The World, One Bite At A Time.” She’s educating the masses on great food and even greater nutrition and firmly believes that simplicity is the route to effectiveness. “My personal perspective on eating and food is very simple. You don’t have to be a master chef and you don’t need to be cooking with and eating expensive ingredients. All you need is fresh, seasonal ingredients with minimal processing.” With this in mind, it’s not hard to see the appeal of the TikTok pasta (as we’re NOT supposed to call it, apparently).
Finnish blogger Häyrinen created said pasta out of the pure desire for something easy and delicious. Once @feelgoodfoodie posted it on TikTok, it blew up. The idea that you need three common ingredients and everything else comes out of your store cupboard is no doubt, what caused such a stir.
For Michelle, she’s always had a love of cooking, but her memories are not of the prep, but of the final flavours and the minimal effort of a dish, “I’ve always loved to eat and cook. It’s in my blood. My early memories are of having wholesome meals at home. Fresh greens, pak choi and Chinese kales. I recall steamed fish and really simple dishes. Ingredients that are fresh and available and not processed.”
So #uunifetapasta ticks all the boxes. It takes simple food, elevates it to celebrity status and gets the world cooking. And, it seems that balance of creating wholesome food that comes together with little effort is the height of the appeal. Preethi Kasireddy took to Twitter on Sunday declaring “People who don’t cook seem to overestimate how much effort it takes to cook really delicious meals at home. Cooking doesn’t have to take hours. In fact, I find take-out orders more time consuming than cooking my own meals.” I wonder if she’d just made this dish? Am I as cool as Preethi Kasireddy? Probably not.
“A lot of people have the misconception that nutritious food can be bland. We want to change that not just for Chinese cuisine, for all cuisine. Food should be wholesome, fresh and ideally without a label on it.” Michelle’s mission currently takes place over in Hong Kong, where, she says, nutritional health is a growing issue, “Food is a very big part of life in Asia, I really saw, not only a demand but a need for something like Nutrilicious to exist... the obesity rate is quite high, we lived in a very fast-paced culture where not everyone has time to eat. There is also a lot of misinformation from various sources, which can cause confusion. The local food offerings are abundant, so it’s hard for consumers to know what to choose and decide what to eat.”
And therein lies the secret to the sauce of success. We live in a fast-paced world. Accessibility and speed of cooking are integral to people’s lifestyles. It can have an adverse effect when misleading advice slips into online food rhetoric. “[People] are connected almost 24/7 so they may be on a social media diet, seeing something online posted by someone who doesn’t necessarily have any formal training. They may be swayed to follow those diets without knowing the consequences or whether it is suitable for their body types.” So, when there is something genuinely good and super delicious online, it’s almost important that it gets shared in a viral frenzy.
Michelle continues, “I believe that food has the power to heal and energise. This is why Nutrilicious was founded. Better choices for optimal health.” Uuni Feta Pasta, top marks on all counts. I felt energised by my culinary success and soothed by the comforting taste notes.
Now, as far as viral recipes go, Feta Pasta has that balance of quick, easy and fresh, nutritional heart. I’m not sure the Pancake Cereal or Dalgona Coffee trends that flooded the net have the same nutritional values, but it doesn’t discount the fact that video content sharing can be a nutritional source of consumption when the right clip drops.
“Feed, not just your gut, but your soul,” says Michelle. “On a global scale, we should all learn to appreciate authentic food in its simplicity. Enjoying the taste of food and connect with it.”
Did I take photos of my own feta pasta dish I hear you ask? Absolutely not, it didn’t last long enough and when time is of the essence, one shouldn’t waste moments getting the perfect feta frame - there’s cheese to be eaten here.