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Woman bullied after going viral shares the surprising story behind her quirky food habit

Alexa Greenfield never imagined that her unusual hack for cooling chicken fingers would spark a national food debate.
/ Source: TODAY

Alexa Greenfield isn't exactly a household name. But last September, a video featuring her dunking a chicken strip into a cup of Coca-Cola on TV became an overnight sensation, sparking plenty of debates around acceptable chicken-dipping routines.

But there's a surprisingly sweet story behind Greenfield's unusual practice. Greenfield, 26, was simply showing her nephews her late dad's trick for cooling down a hot chicken strip by using a cold drink. It was a "secret" hack Greenfield's dad shared with her years ago, so she's been enjoying the sweet-and-salty combo ever since. And ESPN cameras just happened to catch her tutorial at the U.S. Open.

After the moment went viral on Twitter — getting nearly 1 million views — the New York native received a flood of unkind — and even aggressive — reactions to her habit. On the bright side, she also got inquiries for more "content."

So, naturally, she made a music video.

"I thought this was a fun and hilarious way to give fans what they wanted," Greenfield told TODAY Food about the aptly named two-minute production called "Chicken Soda."

In the video, Greenfield drives the bright-yellow, Pikachu-themed car her dad gave her before he passed away when she was 17.

She also soaks in a bathtub filled with what appears to be soda, surrounded by soggy chicken strips. She gleefully sings her own lyrics — including giving a shoutout to Barstool Sports, which tweeted that she should be locked in prison for her unusual tastes — to the tune of the "Chicken Dance" song.

"It's just a comedic parody," Greenfield, whose video currently has about 55,000 views, noted. "It's not something I took too seriously."

Her sense of humor is what helped her deal with the onslaught of the negative comments following the release of the now-infamous ESPN clip. "Before ever getting caught, I really tried to hide this habit," Greenfield admitted. "I knew people would think it was weird and gross. Once it was out there, I just decided to go with it. I am not scared of the mean comments. It's about a weird food habit, it's not like attacking anything fundamental about me or my values."

But it turns out that Greenfield's "weird habit" isn't hers alone. She said that since the clip went viral, a lot of people have come forward and thanked her for going public with a food pairing they enjoy, too. As for those who hadn't tried it before watching the clip, Greenfield said plenty of people have told her they like it!

When asked if she has any other weird food habits for fans to try, Greenfield jokes, "Nothing that would evoke as much of a reaction as this."

For her part, Greenfield, who posts on Instagram as @AlexaG and @Slickenfingers, is having the last laugh from her unlikely claim to fame.

In addition to selling merchandise, Greenfield is partnering with Hill Country Chicken on a new product launching later this month. "I'm hoping to parlay this attention into sales for the cola dipping sauce I'm coming out with," Greenfield said. "It's delicious, and I want everyone to try it." She also wants to acknowledge the man behind her now-15-plus minutes of fame.

"This actually feels like a very special, interesting and strange homage to my dad, because he taught it [dipping chicken fingers in Coke] to me."