Growing up, my childhood consisted of watching cooking shows on Food Network when I came home from school or while I stayed home on the weekends. The food channel was all I needed to keep me entertained when there wasn’t any good cartoon or anime on.
Now that I’ve grown older, nothing much has changed; I still count on food channels to help me unwind after stressful workdays. While others spent their idle time watching popular YouTube gamers or beauty gurus, I spent mine engrossed in cooking videos—every kind there is.
10-minute recipes. ASMR baking. Every way to cook an egg. How to perfectly fillet a whole salmon. Every cut of meat explained. Miniature kitchens. Survival cooking. Binging with Babish. Eater’s Omakase Series. Bon Appetit’s Gourmet Makes, Reverse Engineering, and Making Perfect. Even Ms. Yeah’s weird cooking experiments.
There’s irony in me watching all these food videos because, to this day, I don’t know how to cook or I never actually try to make the recipes I watch. I’m content with merely watching chefs make magic in their picture-perfect kitchens.
I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with watching cooking shows. Perhaps it’s because food is so comforting and so close to home. Maybe it’s also because it satisfies my visual hunger for something aesthetically pleasing.
But I believe it has a lot to do with heightening my appreciation for what I consume. Cooking shows have enriched my knowledge of different techniques, ingredients, and misconceptions, as well as opened my eyes to diverse cultures and dishes. I have been introduced to food I would never have known or discovered on my own. I have learned the history of common ingredients and the significance of paying homage to their origins. I have even deepened my respect for chefs and culinary masters and how they dedicated their entire lives honing their craft.
Pair all that with knowledgeable and entertaining chefs as hosts, and it’s a recipe for success in this food-loving generation.
(I would die for Claire Saffitz from Bon Appetit’s “Gourmet Makes” series)
Maybe one day, I’ll actually muster enough willpower to recreate the magic in my own kitchen. I mean, that’s the true goal, after all. But until then, I’ll just keep boring friends to death with a detailed procedure of how to temper chocolate, the wonders of sous-vide, and the most optimal way to juice a lemon—while absolutely not knowing how to do them myself.
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