B Dylan Hollis mixes humor about his identity as a gay man in his TikTok videos featuring weird recipes from history. (TikTok/@bdylanhollis)
A gay TikTok star is entertaining millions by recreating unique “yesterday” recipes with a dash of LGBTQ+ personality and humor.
B Dylan Hollis tells PinkNews that he’s just a “toothpick-looking guy screaming in his kitchen with recipes that aren’t even mine.” But in reality, he’s an icon on TikTok who has amassed 8.8 million followers on the platform for his over-the-top presence while recreating wacky recipes from the past.
In one video, he aggressively puts his ‘enemy’ lard in a pot and shouts ‘fire’ in a small kitchen as he melts it for a recipe for peanut butter soup from 1941. Hollis explains the soup – that it describes as a bowl of “warm beige” – was designed to provide “an ideal macronutrient intake” for people during the war.
He adds “flake powder”, “moo juice” and a can of ground clams to the flour for a fish cookie recipe from 1974. As he pours the strange mixture into a muffin tin, he shouts “What are you?” and kidding, that’s what he used to wonder about his own sexuality in high school.
Who wants fish cookies #cooking #vintage #kitchen #cookie
♬ original sound – B. Dylan Hollis
He jokes that everyone wants “nine inches deep” as he measures a box for a vinegar pie – yes, you read that right. He teases that there are “two fruitcakes here” as he recreates a 1915 recipe for pork belly fruitcake on TikTok.
B Dylan Hollis tells PinkNews that he was not a baker before joining TikTok at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic because he is a “jazz pianist by trade”, specializing in 1940s Big Band jazz.
But the Bermuda native got his start on the app because he “started talking about furniture and appliances” in his home due to quarantine restrictions while studying in the US.
“I always wanted to be an artist,” Hollis shares. “Naturally, I expected this to happen in music, but I found the cookbook and said, ‘You know what, let’s put two and two together’.”
He continues, “I found this ridiculous pork meal recipe, which was just a good old dessert loaf, except it had a pound of ground pork in it.
“And I said, ‘That’s ridiculous. This is a real printed recipe. I will record it’. I had so much fun doing it. I didn’t have as much fun eating it.
B Dylan Hollis recalls how his TikTok reception inspired him to keep making videos. He says he was also intrigued by how recreating old recipes could be a new way for him and his audience to learn about the past.
“Of course we can read about history in books, we can learn about history in a lecture, we can look at history through photographs and videos,” he says. “But being able to taste it? It’s something very special, very intriguing.
He adds: “It is related to these carnal centers that we all have as humans because we have to eat.
“So this link between eating and the past, it’s a very unique way to put yourself in the shoes of those of the past.”
As his popularity grew, Hollis says some viewers sent him cookbooks from the past that helped him “paint a picture of cultural reflections in dishes.”
One such dish was Peanut Butter Bread – a recipe from the Great Depression when eggs, sugar and butter were in short supply. Hollis set out to recreate the bread on TikTok adding her boundless energy and electric personality.
What a surprise it was #cooking #vintage #kitchen #bread
♬ original sound – B. Dylan Hollis
B Dylan Hollis tells PinkNews that it made sense to use peanut butter in the recipe because it was a “shelf-stable butter” and the end product “tastes brilliant”. Hollis says it was a “fulfilling and exciting” way to learn about history in a different way.
He just wants to “give people a chance to laugh” by creating his videos and showing his “enthusiasm”.
“I’ve always been like that when it comes to being a bit clumsy and an oversized kid, and I didn’t expect so many people to like that,” Hollis says.
He describes his comedy as a “vehicle” for expressing how people feel, but “through social decorum, we can’t always talk about [certain kinds of feelings]which was significant as he can be “quite hostile” to the LGBTQ+ community “back home” in Bermuda.
Homosexuality is legal in Bermuda, and same-sex marriage was first legalized in the British Overseas Territory in 2017. A few months later, Bermuda became the first country to repeal the already legalized same-sex marriage , and there were legal challenges to the decision in the years that followed.
In March, a London court upheld Bermuda’s 2018 law that banned same-sex marriage in the British Overseas Territory despite fierce outcry from LGBTQ+ activists.
“It’s a very exciting and very heartwarming idea, so there’s this desire to share this [queer] part of me,” says Hollis. “But growing up in a country like Bermuda, I never had the means to do it properly.”
He continues: “So that’s sort of my way of sharing what I assume is people’s acceptance, and it turned out to be that way – and it made me feel a lot better about myself.”
B Dylan Hollis tells PinkNews he’s received comments from fans that his videos have brightened their day or thanked him for being himself, which he admits he doesn’t know how to take. He says he doesn’t know how to be someone else, but he encourages others to live their lives authentically because there is “always a heavy price to pay for not being yourself.”
“When you accept all the ways [aspects] of yourself, when you accept who you are, validate who you are, magical things start to happen – whether it’s just internal recognition or just the happiness experienced,” says Hollis.
He continues: “A very important facet of my life is being true to myself – whether it’s messing around, yelling or telling weird jokes in the kitchen.
“I shout ‘ah-gi’ [egg], and I can’t say “cinnamon” correctly. I get a lot of comments like, “He’s too big a kid,” and I’m like, “You’re damn right.” He’s an overgrown kid and I’m having fun.”