This week, time for some food!

No, we’re not going to do a cooking tutorial or anything like that – I’m terrible at cooking. Instead, let me offer you a scenario.

You see someone making a recipe online, maybe it’s a tutorial or Gordon Ramsay himself, preparing some fancy dish.

“Wow, I can’t believe it’s that easy”, you say to yourself.

Then you give it a try, and somehow it doesn’t quite end up looking like what you saw on the screen.

Sometimes it’s plainly my fault, either I didn’t follow the instructions, or I swapped out required ingredients for ones that I had at home. Other times, the tutorial does something too quickly or even skipped forward a step in the video, which makes it a little harder to follow if you haven’t gotten the hang of doing it before. In any case, there’s always a difference between an amateur like me, and someone who actually knows what they’re doing.

Epicurious is an addicting channel that highlights this exact difference. Most of their videos are centered around different “levels” of cooking expertise, ranging from amateur cooks to professional cooks. They typically get these groups to prepare the same food or dish, and they follow each of them as they try to prepare it.

Uhh… is that how you slice a watermelon?

A great series is their “4 levels” series, because they typically ask the different levels to prepare simple meals, like hot dogs. It’s quite interesting how the professional chefs are able to put their spin on relatively simple meals, and somehow make them look so much more appetizing.

However, my favourite series is probably their “50 people try” series. They get 50 people (who may or may not know what they’re doing) to show some basic cooking/food preparation skills, for example, slicing a watermelon, or making a grilled cheese. Going down this rabbit hole of videos I’ve seen some of the most ridiculous things that people will do (like using a Slap Chop to juice a lemon).

But you also learn quite a bit just from watching these videos, because some things I’ve simply never thought about before, like the fact that it’s actually quite simple to make mayonnaise at home, as long as you have the patience for it. They also typically feature a professional at the end to show you the “correct” way of preparing or cooking whatever it may be.

Although it’s fun to watch, it also shows something else, which is that everyone starts from somewhere. Like many things, it’s a process to learn something, and it’s okay if you’re clueless the first time around. Even some of those participants that seemed to know everything were stumped in a few videos.

I think these videos capture this spirit very well – that you should try your best and have fun along the way.

Link to their YouTube channel here.

3 thoughts on “How Not to Cook (Epicurious)

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