By decree of the National Consortium Of Cooking Video Producers, all videos published online today must conform to the following standards:
- All videos must be filmed from an overhead angle, sped up to 150-percent speed, and fit into a square-shaped aspect ratio.
- All video must be no longer than 60 seconds.
- All videos must feature a soundtrack of jaunty, upbeat background music, and involves both a xylophone and ukulele. (Alternatively, music can be composed by Zooey Deschanel.)
Staff writers of The Takeout remember a time, though, when cooking instructional videos offered more breathing room, were more methodical than aspirational, and rewarded those with attention spans longer than a gnat’s. In that spirit, we present three YouTube series that are more satisfyingly slow braises than 60-second nuke jobs.
Townsends: An 18th-century cooking series
Lately I’ve really been enjoying the Townsends series of videos, in which Jonathan Townsend offers tutorials on recipes from the 18th century. Granted, he has a big horse in the race: His family owns a colonial-themed goods store in the decidedly non-colonial Pierceton, Indiana. But this enables Townsend to pitch his recipe from a Williamsburg-worthy set (in era-worthy costume), pouring in cream from a cup called a “jilly,” and adding ingredients like molasses or a ball of butter rolled in flour. Townsend’s unfailing cheeriness and love for his work makes for a perfect fit against the bare, uncluttered surroundings: He could be hosting a colonial version of The Magic Door or similar. But his videos are entertaining, educational, and—although I have yet to make his carrot custard or candied lime recipes—apparently delicious: His fried chicken video is nearing 2 million views. [Gwen Ihnat]
Jacques Pepin cooks an omelet
How do I love Jacques Pépin’s omelet-cooking video? Let me count the ways. I watch this video every few months, probably, and each time I find a new detail to appreciate. It’s delightfully retro in its staging—no natural light, no white bowls, no wire basket of brown eggs nestled in cotton—and in its execution. I mean, look at the amount of butter that goes into this omelet! Julia Child is smiling from heaven. Pépin doesn’t even freshly grind the pepper, just grabs a pinch out of a bowl poured from a McCormick jar, probably. And then, of course, there’s the best aspect of the video: Pépin’s soothing accent. Forget Headspace; the audio from this video is my meditation soundtrack. Watch full episodes of Pepin’s PBS series here. [Kate Bernot]
I’ve spoken about my fondness of Ryoya Takashima’s Peaceful Cuisine before, and I will continue doing so until you give him the video views he deserves. This series, in which he explores mostly vegan recipes, is the antithesis of the Tasty-style video so prevalent today. The cinematography is beautifully saturated with a subtle fade, the shots are long and unhurried, and the audio is quiet enough where you can hear the ffft-ffft-ffft of flour being sifted. Like Kate with Jacques Pepin, watching Peaceful Cuisine puts me in a zen-like trance. [Kevin Pang]