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.
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!