With Every Overly Complicated Food 'Board' We Stray Further From God's Light

Charcuterie boards: great. But then came pancake boards! Hot chocolate boards! Where will it end?!
February 18, 2020, 6:09pm
insane charcuterie board
Photo: Getty Images

Last week, dozens of meme-heavy Instagram accounts all started posting screenshots of fake DMs from presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg, and all of them were whatever the opposite of dank is. The posts are part of Bloomberg's ongoing Meme 2020 campaign—no, that's its real name—and are the result of a collaboration between the former New York City mayor and Mick Purzycki, the chief executive of Fuck Jerry's parent company, Jerry Media.

If this is what ultimately kills Instagram, then maybe that's what Instagram deserves. And if everyone abandons that app, then maybe we can all enjoy our meals again, without having to share a table with that one person who forces everyone to delay their first bite while they art direct breakfast, type a hashtag, and bless their 27 followers with a poorly lit picture. (Good job, btw. We'd been hoping that someone would share a Gingham-filtered shot of a chain restaurant's açai bowl.)

Instagram has long been credited with (or blamed for) changing the appearance of restaurants, forcing new spaces to make design choices based on how they'd photograph, like ensuring that there's plenty of natural light, focusing on clean lines and bright colors, and adding a uniquely wallpapered bathroom or accent wall. One Boston steakhouse even took things a step further, dropping $10 grand on an "Instagram table" with adjustable lights and customizable color temperature settings. ("Instagram table" does sound classier than calling it a "Douchebag Trap.")

Not only has Instagram changed the way we all eat out; it's also changing the way we eat in, pressuring us to turn even casual social interactions into something that has been carefully curated for imaginary Instagram points. It's not enough to have friends over for lunch: now you have to serve it on a fucking board, with every ingredient arranged like a Pantone color guide.

Elaborate charcuterie boards or cheese boards are one thing—mostly because it's hard to stay mad at a spread of meats and cheeses—but the whole board thing has gone well beyond that. A couple of weeks ago, Newshub wrote about the rise of the pancake board, which is exactly what it sounds like: cooked pancakes artfully placed on a board, surrounded by assorted syrups and fruit toppings. "It turns out 2020 is Year of the Board, if this delicious new brunch craze is anything to go by," the site wrote.

No. Please no. Why can't 2020 be "The Year of Just Putting Things on Our Plates and Not Forcing Everyone to Try This Fucking Hard?" I don't want a pancake board any more than I want a Baked Potato Board, or an Easy Pork Carnitas Taco Board, or a Corn Dog Board complete with delicate mustard swirls and carefully arranged wooden sticks. (Am I mad about the boards, or am I mad because I don't have anywhere in my home where I can store a 28-inch 100% mango wood serving tray? DOES IT EVEN MATTER?)

If we all agreed that brunch boards, or pancake boards, or whatever-the-fuck-else boards were extra and unnecessary, then maybe we'd actually get together with our friends more often Maybe we wouldn't feel pressured to make everything look good enough for Instagram (or, worse, maybe we wouldn't skip out on social interactions out of a fear that whatever we're serving won't Look Just Right.) And maybe we could actually enjoy that moment, right then, without having to stop to frame it on a phone screen.

Or maybe Mike Bloomberg will just start working on his Mike 2020 breakfast board campaign, and ruin it for everyone, forever. I still wouldn't vote for him, but I'd be forever grateful.