A group of millennial journalists have sparked outrage on social media after compiling a video of their less-than-impressed reactions to trying Cracker Barrel menu items for the first time.
On Thursday, Insider’s food section posted a video to Twitter titled: “Millennials try Cracker Barrel for the first time,” in which the New York City-based journalists revealed that they would be travelling to New Jersey to try the Southern-style restaurant chain’s most popular dishes.
In the clip, the millennials then shared their first impressions of some of Cracker Barrel’s staples, such as the chicken ‘n dumplins, country fried steak, loaded hash brown casserole and mac ‘n cheese.
When trying the chicken ‘n dumplins, one of the millennials noted that you aren’t supposed to judge off appearances, before admitting that she was “a little suspicious,” while another described the dish as “a little bit sad”.
“It doesn’t look super appetising,” another Insider journalist claimed as she cut into the dish. “And it definitely doesn’t look like a dumpling.”
One of the journalists ultimately concluded that the dumplings shouldn’t be called dumplings “because these aren’t dumplings”.
After sharing their criticisms of the dish, the group then moved onto country fried steak, with an Insider producer who travelled to the restaurant revealing that he’s “never had a deep-fried steak” before claiming that it “just sounds like I’m going to have a heart attack”.
Millennials try Cracker Barrel for the first time pic.twitter.com/qhSOJHk2Mz
— Food Insider (@FoodInsider) November 11, 2021
“This does not look good, to be honest,” another member of the group said, while a different millennial, who tried the dish back in their office, concluded that the menu item tasted like “the worst hamburger I’ve ever eaten in my whole life”.
The loaded hash brown casserole was also heavily criticised by the group, who described the dish as “really pale and a little sad”.
While most of the millennials weren’t impressed, a few of the journalists gave the dish a rare positive review, with one describing the casserole as “awesome”.
The final dish, Cracker Barrel’s mac ‘n cheese, ended the video on a mostly low note, as the team of journalists were equally as unimpressed with the menu item.
“I didn’t eat a lot of the cafeteria meals in middle school growing up, but this is what that food looks like,” one millennial Insider employee claimed, while another said: “Is this great? No.”
Despite the lacklustre reviews during the meal, one member of the group revealed that she would like a Cracker Barrel to open in New York so that she could “drink sweet tea every day,” before adding that “southern food is comfort food” and she “likes that”.
Her teammate added: “I definitely feel like I’d eat this when I’m sad.”
However, others in the group claimed that much better food can be found at popular fast-food restaurants.
The video, which has been viewed more than 2.1m times as of Friday, has left many viewers appalled, with thousands of people sharing their criticisms on Twitter.
In the replies under the video, many comments focused on the Chicken ‘n Dumplins dish, with numerous viewers noting that there are many variations of dumplings in cultures around the world.
“By far the most annoying part is the girl saying that Cracker Barrel dumplings aren’t dumplings, as if chicken and dumplings isn’t one of the most popular dishes in the south,” one person wrote.
Another said: “I don’t really understand how you can work for a food publication and not know about either southern dumplings or chicken fried steak. And I’m from New England, for crying out loud. I’m also in the UK and would kill for some Cracker Barrel right about now.
Others were dismayed by the “pretentiousness” of the video, with one person tweeting: “So weird to hear food be described as sad with such pretentiousness.”
“Who is your audience? People unaware anyone exists outside of their circle of friends and coworkers?” another person asked, while someone else said: “The genre of content that is ‘NYers discover the rest of America exists’ is exhausting and boring.”
Millennials are in their late 30s now, have these people never been on a highway before https://t.co/31rpfmRWAZ
— John Noonan (@noonanjo) November 11, 2021
This whole thing is giving a very "let's see how poor America lives" vibe.
And, for the record, Cracker Barrel is delicious. https://t.co/kFIMdXiAzX
— Carol Roth (@caroljsroth) November 11, 2021
In the US, there are 665 Cracker Barrel locations, with the chain restaurant operating in 45 states.
One person questioned whether the “clickbait” video was “stuck in the pipeline for like 10-15 years or something?”
How do you work for “food insider” and not know what country fried steak is? https://t.co/HkgIV6NJes
— ATL G (@hortoon14) November 11, 2021
The video also prompted a response from Meghan McCain, who criticised the outlet for treating dining out at a Cracker Barrel, which she said is “considered a nice night out” for many people in the country, as an “experiment”.
“There’s a lot of people in this country where going to a chain restaurant is considered a nice night out, especially in this economy. Treating it like an experiment at the zoo is pretty reductive content,” she wrote.
The Independent has contacted Insider for comment.