3 Online Cooking Series To Restore Your Faith In Online Cooking Series

By decree of the National Consortium Of Cooking Video Producers, all videos published online today must conform to the following standards:

  • All videos must be filmed from an overhead angle, sped up to 150-percent speed, and fit into a square-shaped aspect ratio.
  • All video must be no longer than 60 seconds.
  • All videos must feature a soundtrack of jaunty, upbeat background music, and involves both a xylophone and ukulele. (Alternatively, music can be composed by Zooey Deschanel.)
  • Staff writers of The Takeout remember a time, though, when cooking instructional videos offered more breathing room, were more methodical than aspirational, and rewarded those with attention spans longer than a gnat's. In that spirit, we present three YouTube series that are more satisfyingly slow braises than 60-second nuke jobs.

Townsends: An 18th-century cooking series

Lately I've really been enjoying the Townsends series of videos, in which Jonathan Townsend offers tutorials on recipes from the 18th century. Granted, he has a big horse in the race: His family owns a colonial-themed goods store in the decidedly non-colonial Pierceton, Indiana. But this enables Townsend to pitch his recipe from a Williamsburg-worthy set (in era-worthy costume), pouring in cream from a cup called a "jilly," and adding ingredients like molasses or a ball of butter rolled in flour. Townsend's unfailing cheeriness and love for his work makes for a perfect fit against the bare, uncluttered surroundings: He could be hosting a colonial version of The Magic Door or similar. But his videos are entertaining, educational, and—although I have yet to make his carrot custard or candied lime recipes—apparently delicious: His fried chicken video is nearing 2 million views. [Gwen Ihnat]


Jacques Pepin cooks an omelet

How do I love Jacques Pépin's omelet-cooking video? Let me count the ways. I watch this video every few months, probably, and each time I find a new detail to appreciate. It's delightfully retro in its staging—no natural light, no white bowls, no wire basket of brown eggs nestled in cotton—and in its execution. I mean, look at the amount of butter that goes into this omelet! Julia Child is smiling from heaven. Pépin doesn't even freshly grind the pepper, just grabs a pinch out of a bowl poured from a McCormick jar, probably. And then, of course, there's the best aspect of the video: Pépin's soothing accent. Forget Headspace; the audio from this video is my meditation soundtrack. Watch full episodes of Pepin's PBS series here. [Kate Bernot]


Peaceful Cuisine

I've spoken about my fondness of Ryoya Takashima's Peaceful Cuisine before, and I will continue doing so until you give him the video views he deserves. This series, in which he explores mostly vegan recipes, is the antithesis of the Tasty-style video so prevalent today. The cinematography is beautifully saturated with a subtle fade, the shots are long and unhurried, and the audio is quiet enough where you can hear the ffft-ffft-ffft of flour being sifted. Like Kate with Jacques Pepin, watching Peaceful Cuisine puts me in a zen-like trance. [Kevin Pang]