YouTube Taught Me Cooking
(Originally published July 29, 2014)
One of my New Year resolutions was to learn a new skill not related to my career. I didn’t really know what direction to take this resolution, but I wrote it down and resolved to figure it out later in the year. During a weekend in March at my parent’s house, I developed a urge to make something more complex than another PBJ for lunch. Twenty minutes later, with a crash course in cooking from my mother, I made my first omelette. That day a hobby was born.
This summer I had a lot of free time to experiment in my kitchen in Norman, but no clear direction on what I wanted to learn. I explored the idea of taking a course, but in-person cooking classes do not fall in the mandatory expenses category when you are in college. I then discovered the most easily accessible teacher that could be reached any time free of charge: YouTube.
YouTube is full of cooks, many of who possess followings equal to small-time celebrities. This line up of talent ranges from the accredited and sponsored chefs to college grads operating on low-quality camcorders. I could learn what I wanted, from whom I wanted, when I wanted. (It was one of those rare moments where I recognized YouTube’s potential for productivity).
There are nine things I learned this summer as I learned how to cook from YouTube:
1. After the first steep bill, grocery shopping becomes mysteriously cheaper.
2. Vegetable oil burns when hot, don’t let it get on your toes.
3. French bread makes every sandwich better.
4. When in doubt, add more peanut butter.
5. The occasional undercooked meal is nothing the microwave can’t fix.
6. Deviating from the recipe is fun. It might botch the whole meal, but it also might lead to something better (i.e., adding more peanut butter).
7. Bread + Cheese + Oven = The Best Smell You Will Experience All Day
8. You never run out of image fodder for your Twitterfeed.
9. As soon as you learn how to do one recipe well, you want to cook it for your friends.
I’m still a serious novice in the kitchen, and my experience has given me a newfound respect for the people I know that are making a career out of cooking/catering. But just learning some basic recipes has given me a stronger control over my diet, and that alone is worth the effort put into this hobby.
I’ve learned something new that I can use regardless of where I end up working in a year. In the short term, I plan on using my “American-style” cooking to make friends in China. Nothing says western culture like an omelette stuffed with southwestern beef and Cholula hot sauce.
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