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From TikTok pasta to #thestew to banana bread: The magic ingredients of the recipes that broke the internet

Once upon a time, you’d find foodie inspiration from a cookbook or TV chef. But now Tiktok and Instagram are feeding our growing appetite for delicious dinners. What makes a recipe go viral in 2021?

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Baked feta tomato pasta made famous by 'Cooking With Ayeh' on TikTok

Baked feta tomato pasta made famous by 'Cooking With Ayeh' on TikTok

Baked feta tomato pasta made famous by 'Cooking With Ayeh' on TikTok

If you’re old enough to remember when supermarkets ran out of cranberries after Delia Smith used them in a duck dish on TV in 1995, or when Yotam Ottolenghi sparked a run on sumac and za’atar in 2008, then chances are that you get most of your recipes from cookbooks or television chefs.

Nigella Lawson’s latest book, Cook, Eat, Repeat and its accompanying television series offered just the comfort we all need in lockdown, and in recent weeks it seems as if every second person is making her chicken with orzo (highly recommended).

The beauty of the recipe is its simplicity — the flavour reward far greater than the effort required to achieve it — but even this gem seems complex compared to the latest recipe to go viral, baked feta and tomato pasta, which, unless you live under a stone, you will a) have eaten in the last week and b) know has proved so popular that is had led to a national shortage of feta in Finland. The pasta dish first appeared on Cooking With Ayeh on TikTok, where most recipes are delivered in 15 seconds.


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