"Let Me Pose You A Question": People Dragged This Chef For Her Viral Take On The "Seasoning Police" Of Social Media, And There's A Lot To Unpack Here
"This is a PSA to the seasoning police..."
If you've ever scrolled through cooking videos on TikTok or Instagram, you've likely read your fair share of comments from users who have a bone to pick with the seasonings involved in these social media concoctions...or, as those comments often suggest, a lack thereof.
Zoe Barrie, a professionally trained chef and food content creator with a background in fine dining, is intimately familiar with these types of comments. But recently, the creator found herself in the middle of a particularly heated discussion turned internet event about those who post these types of comments — and it ultimately stirred up a lot more than just strong feelings about salt and spices.
It all started when Zoe posted a TikTok chronicling her experience of putting together a meal made out of whatever she could find in her brother's nearly empty kitchen while visiting him. The results: chicken braised in a garlicky peppered tomato sauce with a quick beer bread.
The video quickly racked up over 2 million views and over 1,000 comments, but many of those comments focused solely on the perceived seasonings within the dish. Though she clarified in the comments that she did season throughout the cooking process with salt, it did little to stop the negative comments from rolling in.
"I filmed in sort of a haphazard manner and only recorded what was necessary," Zoe later told BuzzFeed. "It always feels a bit redundant to record up to 10 clips of myself adding salt, so I only included a small snippet where I added salt to my sauce."
After Zoe directly engaged with several of the negative commenters, it was clear to her that there was a general misunderstanding regarding the term "seasoning" — specifically the power that salt can hold. So she made a response video "in an effort to discuss that salt and acid are necessary for all foods and that fresh aromatics can be used to flavor food too."
...in this case, the exact same fresh ingredients she added to the sauce from her previous video, which she recalls through a black-and-white clip. "What is so funny to me is if I had just doused my chicken in this [spice] rub, and this rub alone, the seasoning police would be out of my comments," she says to the camera.
The comments on her response to the "seasoning police" are where things first turned contentious. At a glance, many of the nearly 9,000 comments appeared to be in support of Zoe's take.
But you don't have to scroll long before you encounter some serious pushback. Other commenters insinuated that the "seasoning police," in this instance, was a euphemism, and the discourse continued to spark opposition beyond the comments section and platform itself.
As the video made the rounds on Twitter, users called out Zoe for her choice of words.
Back on TikTok, several users shared their own takes on the video, often citing perceived racial undertones in Zoe's word choice and delivery. Fellow creator Shelah Marie saw her stitch on the topic garner over 100,000 views. "I saw this video on Twitter, and I just found it so interesting," she says. "Who's the seasoning police, bae? Say the quiet part out loud." She goes on to say that she sees "white folks' inability to not be the authority on something" as the impetus behind the video, and even pulls out one particular thread of comments on Zoe's video to illustrate a point.
And the latest plot twist in this story: Twitter has now become rife with alt-right users taking "seasoning police" out of the original context, using the phrase as code (along with memeing screenshots from the original video) so they can effectively tweet appallingly racist sentiments without getting banned.
I won't platform these people any further by providing y'all with links, but trust me, this stuff is out there — and it's disgusting.