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What Did We Learn From Brooklyn Beckham’s Cooking With Cork Instagram Post?

3:37 PM EDT on April 4, 2023

Brooklyn Beckham cooking

Celebrities and Nepo Babies, beware! Talking about or cooking Italian food in your social media posts can be polarizing. Brooklyn Beckham, the model-influencer spawn of soccer legend David Beckham and Spice Girl turned fashion designer Victoria Beckham, found this out the hard way last weekend with a seemingly innocent post that ignited an Italian cooking firestorm.

Brooklyn merely attempted a humble brag, showing himself cooking a big pot of Bolognese sauce with his adorable pup in a baby sling, with the caption, "Daddy day care ❤️." Visible inside the pot was a wine cork, simmering along with the ground beef. The reaction from commenters was demonstrably different from another recent social media incident involving pasta sauce.

A week before Brooklyn Beckham's post, Romy Mars, 16-year-old daughter of director Sofia Coppola and Phoenix lead singer Thomas Mars, announced on TikTok that she'd be making penne alla vodka because she was grounded for attempting to use her dad's credit card to book a helicopter ride to meet a friend from camp. She admitted in the 49-second clip, which she promptly deleted only to have it resurface on twitter, that she had to Google the difference between onion and garlic. Commenters were mostly charmed, and dozens of reports about the clip appeared, even in The New York Times, which claimed that Ms. Mars' video was "being hailed, with varying degrees of irony, as a nouveau cinematic masterpiece."

Beckham, on the other hand, stirred up quite a bit of snark, with commenters taking turns skewering him for cooking the cork and wondering what he was up to, as well as scolding him for putting his puppy in danger. After the initial outrage and bewilderment, Beckham created an Instagram story showing a Google search that yielded an explanation of the technique: “The addition of wine corks added to the cooking liquid ensures a more tender dish.”

Online sleuths then sprung into action to determine the source of the Google info, tracing it to a 2016 food column from the Naples (Florida) Daily News by Doris Reynolds, who claimed that cooks have cooked octopus in cork to tenderize the meat. She also wrote that she found chefs who used the trick to break down enzymes in tough cuts of meat (though she didn't mention Bolognese). Other investigations followed, and Insider interviewed Italian chef Barbara Pollastrini, who advised against the practice. "The problem is that people trust this food influencer and are without any knowledge," she told Insider. "The only way to have a fantastic ragù is to cook it for at least three hours. This is the only way to have soft meat." 

While we at Appetito agree, we also hope Brooklyn continues showcasing his love of cooking—with or without a cork—though preferably while keeping his pups away from the burner.

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