Try as I might, I cannot get into Food TikTok. It is a lawless place where flukes are presented as the norm and camera tricks run rampant, plus there are so many children, and I don’t enjoy watching children be performative unless they are related to me. (The only TikTok-er I check in on with any regularity is this 40-something-year-old man who does very unique and interesting automobile modifications.)
But maybe I should give Food TikTok — and the children who drive it — another chance. Not because their recipes are good, but because they are Dadaist masters. Take this video from TikTok user Juliette (@itmeju1iette), for example:
Anyone who has ever cooked a steak, especially one as fatty as the one Juilette is preparing, knows that this is a bad idea, and anyone who takes even two seconds to look at the rest of Juliette’s profile can see that this is absurdist performance art. Her bio reads “masterchef champion ????” and two of her other food videos feature spaghetti and meatballs cooked in a coffee maker, and bacon and eggs cooked with a hair straightener. It is shit posting at its finest, but some people’s minds are too literal for Juliette’s art, which is why The Sun “reported” on this “cooking method” as if it were an earnest culinary suggestion.
Even without looking at the rest of Juliette’s TikTok videos, it’s pretty obvious she does not cook the “steak for her boyfriend” entirely in the toaster. We never see her take the finished steak out of the toaster, but the biggest clue is the lack of grease fire. Though there is nothing wrong with applying infrared radiation to cook a piece of meat, the main problem with cooking a steak in a slotted toaster is that the grease has nowhere to go except down into the toaster, which would undoubtedly start a fire, or at least smoke like the devil himself. (Judging by the amount of browning on the steak, a fair amount of the grease has rendered out.)
What do we learn from all this? Well, I learned that some kids are pretty funny (though I have no idea how old Juliette is, she looks quite young), and that British Tabloids are one of the most irresponsible and evil forces in food journalism today. (First with that sandwich “hack,” now this!)
If Lydia Hawkin of The Sun had even glanced at the rest of Juliette’s profile, or had a 30-second conversation with Gordon Ramsey (it’s a small Island; I’m sure she could find him in like, two hours), she would have figured out that this little video is a joke, meant to be laughed at, not presented as something that someone actually did, which could encourage copycats.
And that’s really why I’m writing about this video. If you are someone who saw the “article” from The Sun, or watched Juliette’s video devoid of context, and are considering sliding a few cuts of marbled beef into the slots of your toaster: Don’t. You will probably start a grease fire, which will ruin your toaster, your steak, and possibly your home.
If you were drawn to the toaster method because it seemed simple and straightforward, don’t worry, cooking one in a pan is not that difficult. Start here if you’re intimidated, and grab Denver steaks if you can find them. They’re my favourite cheap cut, and come out delicious without too much hassle, no TikTok hack required.