With summer upon us and temperatures soaring, sometimes it’s too hot to even fathom firing up the oven or standing over a hot stove.
Introducing “Girl Dinner” — the latest culinary trend taking the internet by storm (and causing plenty of debate with its name).
Girl dinner, for those not on TikTok, is a pretty simple concept that involves filling up your plate with a bunch of small snacks to replace a meal. Think bread paired with cheese or oil and vinegar; fresh fruit or crudité; a variety of dips, olives or pickles and cured meat. Basically, it’s a cohesive group of foods that don’t require cooking.
And while the concept of girl dinner is nothing new, the now-viral name can be traced back to TikTok user Olivia Maher, who coined the term in May while showing off a spread of bread, hard cheeses, pickles and grapes.
“I cannot find the TikTok right now but a girl just came on here and said how in medieval times peasants had to eat nothing but bread and cheese and how awful that was, and she was like, ‘That’s my ideal meal,’” Maher said in the video.
“This is my dinner, I call this ‘girl dinner’ or ‘medieval peasant dinner.’”
Given that we live in the most viral of times, of course the trend has taken off, with hundreds of people sharing their take on what’s essentially a charcuterie-for-one. Some girl dinners are cleverly curated and presented, while others are obviously shared by tired folk just trying to make it to the end of the day.
Maher told The New York Times: “I think the concept of girl dinner came to me while I was on a hot girl walk with another female friend of mine.”
“We love eating that way, and it feels like such a girl dinner because we do it when our boyfriends aren’t around and we don’t have to have what’s a ‘typical dinner’ – essentially, with a protein and a veggie and a starch.”
Many, however, have pointed out that they’ve been eating this way for years. Tired parents feed it to their kids and call it “snacky supper” or a “picnic plate,” others refer to it as “Plate of Stuff” or “Bits and Pieces,” and some cultures embrace this type of dinner regularly.
In fact, the girl dinner moniker recently attracted the attention of celebrity chef and food critic Nigella Lawson, who said she (and other Brits) call it “Picky Bits.”
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No matter the name, girl dinner is a perfect excuse to use up the bits and bites in your cupboards and fridge. The options are truly endless, and any combination of snacks, dips, veggies, carbs or protein will do the trick.
It can be a meal-for-one, or a feast for family and friends when thrown together on a large tray.
Call it whatever you want, but please pass the plate.
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