The Joy of Cooking (Shows): We’ve been watching way too much Bon Appétit and I love it!

I’d heard about Gourmet Makes a few times before my wife and I sat down to watch it, so I knew roughly what I was in for. In short, a pastry chef does her best to recreate prepackaged process foods in a “home cooking” style. I didn’t expect it to make Bon Appétit Youtube shows a staple of our evenings, but I’m so glad that it has.

The joy in Gourmet Makes, for me, comes from seeing the highs and lows that Claire, the star of the show, goes through in experimenting with different ingredients and processes, in order to come up with homecooked treats that emulate packaged goods like Skittles, Cheez-Its, or Almond Joys. She’s often able to find videos online telling her exactly how these things are made in a factory but still has to put in a ton of work in order to figure out how to make them in smaller, handcrafted batches. Having watched all of the episodes currently available, I’m at the point where I feel like I’m right there with her, frustrated when things don’t work and elated when they do. Thankfully, she’s almost always able to figure out a way to triumph.

Another show we’ve started watching on the channel is called Alex Eats It All, wherein a guy goes to a city famous for a foodstuff, and samples an insane number of that foodstuff in order to determine the best of the best. The first episode we watched featured breakfast tacos in Austin, then we saw Juicy Lucy’s in Minneapolis and pizza in New York. The show is part food porn and part travelogue, with an excellent mix of beauty shots of greasy, melty cheese and landscapes of landmark cities, and the host is super charasmatic and fun. There are, however, two downsides to this show. First, it makes me super hungry every time we watch it, and second, I get sympathy stomach aches whenever I pause to think about exactly how much food poor Alex is eating in such a short period of time.

Finally, we’ve also watched a few episodes of Bon Appétit’s more traditional cooking show, From the Test Kitchen, which features a rotating cast teaching you how to make a huge variety of different foods. Every one of the hosts is fun and brings a lot of charisma and personality to the videos, but they also do a good job of making the instructions simples, straightforward, and digestable (ba-dum-tish). So far we’ve only made one recipe we saw on this show (the spicy chicken katsu sandwich in the featured image on this post, which really my wife did 98% of the work on), but I’ve also picked up some random tips and tricks that have helped me in other recipes (my omelets have become substantially more fluffy since watching this show), so it feels like time well spent.

I’ve really enjoyed watching these shows because I like to see people succeed; I find it inspirational to watch a recipe get put together, or to see Clarie figure out just how to pull taffy to make Starbursts, or even to see Alex stuff down the 26th breakfast taco of the day. On top of all the cooking shows, we’ve started putting on Bob Ross as we fall asleep, and I feel like it’s all in the same category of “This is great and I could totally do it but I probably won’t,” except that we have done some cooking thanks to this channel, and I’m really hoping to do some Bob Ross style painting, too!

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