Last Call: How It's Made Is My TV Comfort Food

They say that nobody wants to see how the sausage gets made. I've seen it (and made it), and let me tell you, it ain't that bad. On How It's Made, a TV show that delivers exactly what it promises, the audience is shown the sausage and just about everything else. One particularly vivid sequence that won't leave my mind anytime soon is the process of manufacturing fish sauce. Last night after climbing into bed, I turned on an episode of How it's Made on Hulu, since footage of repetitive motion usually helps lull me to sleep. But the fish sauce episode? The fish sauce episode woke me right back up, because seconds after we see a procession of beautiful, umami-filled cruets, the camera cuts to tens of thousands of anchovies plopping out the back of a truck.

Even though all the audio on How It's Made is ambient jazz beneath a calming voiceover that explains the manufacturing process—all elements that typically work just like a sleeping pill—all my brain could hear during this sequence was one wet plop after another. They just go right on the floor there while everyone stands around and watches, waiting for the plopping to stop. Watch the whole thing for yourself:

I had begun watching with the intention of falling asleep, but soon I was deep down in the rabbit hole of fish sauce manufacturing. And then, suddenly, I'm watching one on sardine production. At one point, the sardines are sent down a series of alternating metal chutes to different sorting lanes—like sardine Plinko! And after being tossed around in a big lotto drum, their heads are removed for packaging! Once they're done with being ejected like missiles from high-powered machinery, they're crammed into cans like, well, sardines. It's all very fascinating, if not soothing right before bed.

I'd still recommend How It's Made to anyone having trouble sleeping, though. Barring the occasional rude awakening via fish-plopping, it's a really relaxing series. Are there any particular food-based How it's Made videos that calm you down at the end of a day filled with anxiety?

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