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Get to Know the "Girl Dinner"

I first learned the term “Girl Dinner” from Tiktok but it was a concept I knew in my bones. I am, after all, a girl (or a woman, depending on who you ask). But you don’t need to identify as a girl to partake in the ritual of a Girl Dinner. It’s a meal for all, most likely dinner as the name suggests but why couldn’t it be lunch or even breakfast? We only have one life to live (as far as we know) and who wants to spend every single day sweating thanklessly over a hot stove?

The essence of Girl Dinner is the prioritization of self. It’s the ideal supper for single, working women who don’t feel like doing more labor after a long day but still need to eat. This is a concept born from necessity, rebranded with a cutesy Internet name and jingle. If you had a partner to share chores with, or didn’t work all day, then this kind of meal may never occur to you. But for us gals (gender-neutrally) who do it all on our own, the GD is crucial. It’s also perfect for those nights when you need a break from cooking for your SO, especially the typical hetero man who looks for a main protein and two sides every dinner. Especially in a world where “marry me” recipes still trend, the GD is a welcome contrast.

Ok, I realize I still haven’t said exactly what GD is. That’s because the feast itself is a beautiful afterthought, the most casual charcuterie spread for one. Look in your fridge and what do you have? Marinated olives? Leftover bread? Cheese? The trending tinned fish or a random deli meat? A dip? Raw veggies? These are reliable forever-ingredients in my fridge that I usually always have. On their own or in pairs, they make good enough snacks but together these miscellaneous delights join forces to become an effortless dinner. Scroll through the tag on Tiktok and you’ll find similar mélanges composed of basically whatever the hell people have in their fridges.

The GD is unplanned and spontaneous, requiring nothing but a large plate or maybe some small bowls and creativity above all. It’s certainly the dinner of the summer, utterly casual in a chic European way. I’m thinking especially of @CondimentClaire whose French-American perspective showcases meals consisting of leftover roast chicken, pate, or sardines with radishes, bread, butter, and other on-hand vittles. The GD could rise to this level of fancy, but I’ve also seen fabulous spreads with dino nuggets at the helm. Follow your cravings and you can’t go wrong.

Creator @liviemaher, who coined the term, also referenced medieval peasant food. The comments on that original video include fellow women who practice “rat girl meal,” “village meal,” and “adventurer’s meal.” These terms reflect the fantasy element of the Girl Dinner which carries a mystique of a meal that is both impulsive and constrained. It’s a moment to step out of mundane routines and expectations and live in a fantasy. Your Girl Dinner is an enchanted talisman that can transport you anywhere your heart desires. The point is to indulge in the ease of solitude. The hunk of brie, the dollop of hummus, a juicy chocolate-covered strawberry, and even the dino nugget are all yours.


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writer + pop culture Historian  

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