You know what I’m talking about. Those Tasty videos that are everywhere on Facebook.
Tasty is essentially a YouTube account run by Buzzfeed workers who create short food videos to demonstrate the ease of cooking. They feature videos taken from a top angle that usually range about a minute showing a very condensed version of how to make fried chicken or apple pie. Your best friend probably tags you in the comments section of the “Churro Ice Cream Bowl” video saying “let’s make these” or “wow, this looks so good,” any variation of the phrases. And you reply with an enthusiastic “Yes!”
I think Tasty is good for two reasons:
1) It effectively uses social media to spread recipes of popularized dishes, such as the Pizza Cups or Chicken Parm Bites. They often conform to the food trends, targeting millennials and displaying how to recreate the Mug Cakes (creating cake batter in a coffee mug and then microwaving it to create very under-baked cake).
2) They are short and fairly entertaining, so it’s easy for people who are scrolling through Facebook and Twitter to watch the video and harness inspiration on what to cook for their next meal. In some ways, it could be viewed as propaganda for encouraging cooking, which is a better alternative to constantly eating out.
With that said, I dislike Tasty videos. Again, I will show why in a series of numbered lists:
1) They trivialize the cooking culture. I get it. They are recreating simple, popular recipes specifically targeted for the newer generation. But to me, cooking is more complex than adding 2 beaten eggs to a bowl of cream cheese to create cheesecake. Obviously, people should not only rely on Tasty videos to bake a cheesecake, but it’s surprising how many do. Cheesecake is a lot harder to create than the Tasty videos show. You have to make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature before starting, to not overbake…things of this sort.
2) Going along with my first point, they create a false illusion of how to cook and what cooking is. Again, the videos are too simple to be used to make actual food. How many grams of flour should we use to make cupcakes? Why aren’t there more specific instructions, like how long we should wait for something to set at which temperature? Clarity is essential in cooking, but the lack of defined instructions make it hard to follow the videos and recreate the foods. Creating macarons is really, really hard, definitely not as easy as this video makes it!!!
3) They are bastardizing the cooking world. Cooking, to me, is more than making cupcakes from prepared boxes or edible cookie shot glasses. Cooking is something that is deeply embedded in my mind as upholding tradition and preserving recipes that have been passed down for generations. These frivolous videos don’t represent any of that. Granted, as mentioned before, I know the main point of Tasty videos is very different from my idea of cooking, and its intended target audience is people who don’t have much experience with cooking. But if you’re going to go through the means of showing cooking videos, why not incorporate recipes that are more meaningful than Animal Shaped Toast?
I get the appeal of Tasty, I really do. After they are finished baking, they usually spend a few seconds cutting into the cake, showing the audience the desired texture of a gooey chocolate cake, or tearing apart a dorito-crusted cheese stick, enticing cheese lovers with the strings of cheese following the two broken halves of the fritter. And encouraging cooking is good too. But Tasty encourages the creation of “easy” recipes that helps lose the appeal of creating “harder” dishes. With the interest in these modern recipes comes the downfall of traditional recipes. As someone who believes in perpetuating the recipes of generations before me, it makes me sad that Tasty does the opposite of its intention.
Yes, Tasty does advocate for more cooking, but it supports the type of cooking that fails to acknowledge the conservation of traditional cooking, which seems to dying every day.