The Co(r)ns of Cooking Tutorials

I really like watching people cook amazing food online. Gordon Ramsay and Tilly Ramsay cook me awesome virtual food when I’m too tired to eat real food.

But there are some things that I want to tell people who post recipe videos online. And this is a list of exactly those things that I’d like to whisper in their ears as they work their magic on food and spices. And please don’t mistake my sarcastic humour as me making fun of anyone’s super awesome superpower of cooking . If you click on the link in the previous line, you will know how much I respect people who know to cook.

Okay, now that I’ve given you a nicely disguised disclaimer, let’s get to the point.

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THE CONS OF COOKING TUTORIALS

1.  The assumption that every kid is a fussy eater.

Have you typed the keywords: ‘healthy breakfast for kids’ in YouTube and watched the videos provided? I’m sure you have, every parent is guilty of this. In these videos, you will find cool hacks on how to hide spinach and broccoli in innocent looking idlis or dosas or chutney or juice or soup or whatever edible things ‘fussy’ eaters like to eat.

Okay, I get the whole logic behind mentioning this. These videos exist so that worried mummies can get some information on how to feed their ‘fussy’ eater kids nutritious food. And if your kid is not a ‘fussy’ eater, you can either 1. choose to do the same thing that parents of ‘fussy’ eater kids do or 2. cut up servings of broccoli or bowls of spinach soup and serve it along with the plain dosa or idli or chutney or juice or soup or whatever edible things we ‘non-fussy’ eaters eat.

This gets me angry. The people in the videos tend to assume that every kid is a fussy eater. Which I am sure is not the case.

I’m not a fussy eater. Never was, never will be. I am proud to say that my mom can try out experiments with any dish, and I can taste it happily and let her know what’s missing and what’s not.

So, for ‘non-fussy’ eaters like me, shouldn’t there be some videos in which the parents are taught how to make smiley dosas with some awesome broccoli and spinach salad, or how to make a healthy veggie juice with avocado and broccoli?

Why do we ‘non-fussy’ eater kids have to eat mashed up potatoes with hidden veggie ninjas in it? Or, why should we eat the boring food that adults eat, which does not make us (or them) smile at all?

2. The videos do not show kids what is in their food or tell them why they are eating it.

Personally, I would find it interesting to know why I am supposed to eat broccoli and avocado and zucchini and tomatoes. I would love to understand the amount of varied nutrients that these veggies (and fruit) pack in them. I would love to tell my friends about how I’m going to be like Iron Man, just because I ate a bowl of palak paneer today.

I feel videos catering to parents with ‘fussy’ eater kids should have this cute little animation at the beginning . The animation could include fruits and veggies dancing around, singing songs about how they contribute to human development in their own milligram way, and inspire kids to learn that fruits and veggies are not their enemies. I’m pretty sure that kids have a general curiosity about anything and everything when they are young, and they would love to accompany the parent/maid to buy the awesome veggies and fruits they saw dancing around the screen.

Or maybe we’ll just have to make an app for them to learn about the awesomeness of fruits and veggies.

This whole ‘hiding in the bushes’ business is not going to make kids tolerant about fruits and veggies when they grow up. At best, it’s a temporary solution for parents.

Imagine what would happen if a ‘fussy’ eater kid grows up hating broccoli, and then has to eat broccoli salad at an important corporate meeting. Or what if the kid eats Mac n Cheese at a friend’s place, and realises that it doesn’t taste the way his/her mom makes it, only because he/she doesn’t know the secret ingredient is pureed cauliflowers. Or maybe they’d spend their lunch time searching for hotels that prepare smiley spinach dosas and blue asparagus milkshakes.

On a serious note, some kids are fussy eaters because they can’t tolerate textures of certain foods. Or maybe they have a zinc deficiency, that makes food tasteless to them. I don’t know. Hence, do make sure you figure out WHY your kid is a ‘fussy’ eater. Not every child is the same, and hence you may have to look for a medical solution to this problem, instead of hiding veggies and not getting to the root of the problem.

Coming back to the universal set of cooking tutorials online, after zooming into the subset of ‘fussy’ eater videos.

3. Too many technical mistakes. Sometimes.

There are few videos which can make chefs out of people who don’t even know how to boil water. But, there are also some videos which don’t do much to improve your non-existent cooking skills. This is because they make technical mistakes, which hamper the viewer’s ability to completely understand how to prepare a dish.

Here are a few which I have noted (feel free to add some more in the comments):

a. Not mentioning all the ingredients
b. Not mentioning the measurements of the above ingredients
c. Not mentioning crucial information like oven temperature or gas mark
d. Not giving shortcuts or tips that could be used for minor tasks in the recipe
e. Not adjusting the lighting, thereby making the onions look brown instead of pink, and then only stating that the onions have to be fried (what?)
f. Not stating basic conversions like grams into teaspoons, or Fahrenheit into Celsius
g. Focusing on everything else but the kitchen, the cooking utensils and the ingredients

And these technical mistakes can create confusion in the minds of rookie chefs.

4. The extra stringy, cheesy endings.

Okay, if they were literally ‘cheesy’ endings, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid.

Have you noticed that at the end of a recipe video, the person who cooked the dish always says something along the lines of:

Now, I will taste this awesome looking dish that I have prepared (and hence it has to be good). (takes a bite/sip/slurp) Wow! This is so yummy (I’m saying this for the video, and even if there’s too much salt in it I can’t show it)! I’m sure your kids will love it, and it is so healthy! You can make this dish in ten minutes (even though it took me half an hour to make it, and the video editing guy managed to shorten it to fifteen minutes), and it is the perfect breakfast snack (even though you’ll be too sleepy in the morning to figure out what you’re doing). Hope you enjoyed the video, and do check out the recipe for this awesome dip/sauce/chutney that goes amazingly with this dish (because that’s the only way you’re going to watch a recipe on chutneys). See you next time (hopefully with a dish which has optimal amount of salt). Thank you!”

Isn’t this the most cheesiest ending ever? I haven’t yet seen a video in which the person actually said : ‘Hey I got something wrong, let me tell the viewers I am human and I made a mistake!’.

Besides, very few videos actually provide more cooking tips st the end of the video. The extra tips are really required, because you can only learn these extra tips when you have a certain level of experience. And, if you are watching the video, you obviously don’t have either!


I’m pretty sure you have figured out this by now:  I do things that I hate just so that I get some cool points to write blog posts about. *smirks*

If you agreed with these points / want to rant about your kid’s eating habits / want to tell me that you laughed your head off for three hours straight after reading the fourth point, do feel free to type away in the comments!

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. Shilpa Garg says:

    90% of TV watching time at our home is devoted to cookery shows and I am with you on 3 and 4. There are so many shows that focus on everything else but what and how the chef is cooking. And yes, self praise gets my goat. Other people should be judging the food and not the chef himself. As for YouTube videos, I dont follow a recipe, till it gives exact measurement of ingredients. I am ok with they sharing the ingredients in any format, I can convert them to gms/Centigrade etc. And the tips are most crucial. And somehow some people shy away from giving the tips and suggestions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, the conversions happen quickly enough if you type it in Google.. but I feel it’s a mark of perfection if you put all the content that the viewer would want to know, in one place only. We do that when we write blog posts, right?
      Thank you for the awesome comment, Shilpa! 😘

      Like

  2. Rachna says:

    I was nothing my head at do many of your points. Your first grouse can be explained. The content is tailored towards parents hence those tips about hiding good nutrients in regular food. Note why would a non-fussy eater child Google for recipes for fussy children? About videos, you are bang on. I hate shows where they don’t show the ingredients and quantities correctly. Of course the final tasting is BS. They airways ooh and aah. I must admit that l watch many cooking shows. Both with videos and recipes, l make it once and add my own inputs to suit my taste.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I meant that the parents of the non-fussy eater kids would view the videos. I mean, won’t parents want to give their kids something that looks beautiful to eat, even though they are not fussy eaters? #JustAsking

      That’s a good suggestion, Rachna! The ingredients could be adjusted as per taste 😀

      Thank you for the feedback, dear 🙌

      Like

  3. Parul Thakur says:

    I couldn’t agree. Coming to videos, I just can’t follow recipes by watching – how would one match measurements? Reading a recipe is much better cos you can read as you go. With video, I get too impatient to pause and watch and then as you said, it’s less about the food but the chef. What’s the point? I like watching shows but that’s just entertainment for me. If I need to try, that will be something simple that I have read 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some recipe videos have the list of ingredients at the end of the video, but only the very established video bloggers with a huge subscriber base do that.

      I know right. The entertainment factor is the reason why I can watch recipe videos along with mom. And specially when it’s Gordon Ramsay 😍

      Thank you Parul for the lovely comment 😀

      Like

  4. Shailaja V says:

    I watch very few cooking videos, mostly because I cook for necessity 😉 Anything over and above that is beyond my scope anyway. I do watch cookery shows for the fun elements 😀 You’ve captured some of those here. As for fussy eaters, It’s never worked for me- the hiding of food. I always tell Gy what I am making. Too straightforward. That’s my problem 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cook for necessity? If I remember correctly, I first saw what idli upma is on your Instagram page 😉

      That’s the best policy, in my opinion. No sugarcoating, quite literally 😀

      Thank you Shailaja for the lovely comment 😀❤

      Like

  5. Eli Ert says:

    Oh, this is something I don’t follow so much, because of the reasons your mention… I’m too impatient I guess… I google recipes, and then end up making my own version anyway… But loved reading this.. entertaining:-) Thanks:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are some amazing recipes available on Buzzfeed, too. You should check them out when you’re running out of time and need a quick suggestion about what to make 😀
      Thank you Eli 😀

      Like

  6. deepagandhi says:

    Haha Mithila..this was interesting and i completely enjoyed reading it. Good to know it from your point of view but from a moms point of view ..I can tell you that it is the most common problem or the most common query that come to me as a dietician- The fussy eater kid. Sometimes I also suggest them to hide some ingredients when they are not ready to eat any fruit or veggies but you are right, It is important to teach them to eat a particular thing as it is instead of just hiding them every time. As far as, the cooking shows go..I dont watch many as I never get the desired results.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now you know what to do when a fussy eater kid’s parent comes to you: direct them to this blog post 😛
      #JustKidding

      Do watch these online cooking tutorials by Tilly Ramsay, they’re super amazing! And it’s not just cooking, there’s an entire family element in it. And bonus: you get to see Gordon Ramsay too 😍

      Like

  7. Shalzzz says:

    Okay, now since I am a self-proclaimed food blogger I have gotten enough and more tips from your post on what to do and what not to do. 🙂 I love cooking shows and I hate those cheesy endings of ooh’s and aah’s. I try to follow recipes that mention the exact amount of ingredients be it in gram or tsp. I can do the converting. I too love videos which give that extras in the form of tips. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! I’ve got a comment on my foodie post from the food blogger herself! #AchievementAccomplished ❤

      I’m glad you agree with all the points, Shalini. Thank you for the comment 😀

      Like

  8. Hahahahahahah! This was so much fun to read, MM!
    As much as I hate cooking, I love watching cookery shows! And, confession time, i have never noticed the mistakes you pointed out! Geez! what does that say about me!;)))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All I can say is, after reading this post, watching cookery shows will never be the same for you 😀

      Thank you Mayuri ❤😘

      Like

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