Tasty’s Chicken Abomination

A look at the internet’s premium recipe video provider

Buzzfeed is a wildly successful website, garnering 385.4 million views between December 30, 2017 to January 28, 2018. One of their more recent projects, Tasty, has a similar success rate. The formula is simple: the creators at Tasty present recipes that are convenient, short, and easy.  Many of their video recipies clock in at about 1 minute, making them very Facebook-friendly, as they are easily shared across the platform.

The entire video is shot from an aerial view and includes simple recipes made with ingredients that are easily accessible, as all of the ingredients could realistically be found in the average person’s kitchen. Tasty’s videos are typically fun and trendy – meals and desserts that one would serve at a party or social gathering. The meals are easy enough to follow, entertaining, and delicious…except when they are not. Many of their videos, such as the ‘Slow Cooker Eggnog 4 Ways’ or the ‘Mashed Potato Bun Bacon Burger’ leave viewers wondering, “who’s actually eating this?

On December 15, 2017, Tasty posted a video recipe to their self-titled YouTube channel for a recipe of ‘Hasselback Cheese Puff Fried Chicken.’ Typically, hasselback chicken is prepared by cutting slits into the chicken breasts, about 1cm apart from each other, and then stuffing them, usually with  spinach or tomatoes. Buzzfeed’s take on this classic dish included slicing the chicken in the typical hasselback style and, instead of stuffing it with vegetables, coating it in crushed cheese puffs, and deep frying it.

Their spin on this recipe has Tyler Trout, a senior, saying “I can’t wait to try this.” Trout, who began taking Food and Nutrition this school year, states that he “never would have even thought to try this.”

Mr. Valenza became the Food & Nutrition teacher at Long Reach 18 years ago, and has worked

in food service for 30 years. He claims that the kids would “probably love it,” as it is cheesy fried food, and who doesn’t love cheesy fried food?  Valenza states that, “if you wanted an alternative, you could use bread crumbs,” but this dish would not be made in class any time soon, as students are not allowed to fry food in class. A student of Valenza, Senior Daija Robinson, claims, “This is something I would like to make. It looks very simple and doesn’t have too many steps so it’s not time consuming, and [it] doesn’t have too many ingredients.”

Now, it was time to put the recipe to the test. While every Tasty video has an accompanying recipe on their website, many people go based on the video alone. The video was simple enough to follow – the recipe ingredients include only chicken, salt, pepper, buttermilk, and cheese puffs. The preparing of the chicken was fairly straightforward; cover chicken breast in salt and pepper, dip in buttermilk, slatherin cheese puffs, and then deep fry.

Despite the initial excitement that the Food & Nutrition students expressed, it became very clear very fast what that recipe really was: bland chicken with cheese puffs.  Tasty missed the ball in two major areas: flavor and execution. The salt and pepper flavor rub proved insufficient in making anything “tasty.” The dish possibly could have been salvaged by adding garlic powder while seasoning the chicken, or using bread crumbs with the cheese puffs added in for a hint of cheesy flavor. Instead, the recipe instructs the reader to coat the chicken in the buttermilk first, and then the cheese puffs. Once the chicken is fried, Buzzfeed goes on to add insult to injury by forcing the chicken breast into a ring shape and driving a toothpick through it to help it keep its shape. Without vegetables, it is almost unfair to call this dish a hassleback, when, in reality, it is a fried chicken breast with slits.

The cheese puffs managed to lose their taste during the frying process and, as expected, the salt and pepper did little to save the meal. Overall, it’s a horribly bland dish that is redeemable only when smothered in ketchup.