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I am part of an illicit group on TikTok. The over-30 crowd. The crew of middle-aged movie makers who aren’t supposed to be on the video-sharing app that’s been downloaded more than two billion times and populated (nay, dictated) by those in their teens and early 20s.
While TikTok is full of cute puppy videos, hyper teenagers doing choreographed dances and trips to the Maldives no one can afford to take, paradoxically there’s also a lot of realism. More realism than Instagram — whose “stories” function used to be touted as the “in real-time recording” of social media — with its food porn hashtags and unrealistic tablescapes piled high with fancy dishes.
In recent weeks, American and Canadian experts have expressed concern over the Chinese-owned app sharing data with the Chinese government, but regardless of your feelings about privacy (and the allegations they are recording everything you copy-and-paste on your phone), one thing I know for sure: Tik Tok has taught me to be a better cook (or at least a more efficient one).
The number of so-called #kitchenhacks I’ve amassed in the few months I’ve been frantically swiping through the app is immeasurable (this hashtag alone has half a billion views).
Let’s start with the easiest cooking trend: regrowing kitchen scraps. Green onions are very easy to regrow in a glass of water. All you have to do is cut off the end, leaving an inch of stem (where the green starts) and the bulb with the roots intact. Then place the bulbs root-ends down into a glass of water filled just enough to cover the roots and bulb. Within a few days, your green onions will be ready to chop up and toss into your favourite dish again.
One of the most impressive cooking hacks also happens to be the most simple: peeling garlic! All you have to do is place a full head of garlic into a jar, close the lid and shake like your life depends on it. Then, voila! All the cloves are magically peeled, ready for cooking.
Hate pulling chicken? Well, you’re in luck, TikTok has got the solution to this too. All you have to do is put a few freshly cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts into a bowl, grab your hand mixer and within just a few minutes of blending, your chicken is pulled and ready for sandwiches, dips and more.
Toaster quesadillas are also all the rage on TikTok — and I’m not talking about toasting your tortilla and making a sandwich with it like some plebian. Amass all your favourite sandwich ingredients on top of a tortilla, fold it in half and then fold the sides in like an envelope to create a square quesadilla that will fit into your toaster. Pop it in the toaster and enjoy the crispy-on-outside-gooey-on-the-inside we all love about quesadillas in minutes.
The next #kitchenhack for me? A nacho table for my family bubble, which involves covering the kitchen table with aluminum foil and piling it high with tortilla chips, queso, ground beef and guacamole. Bon appetit, TikTokkers!