Tag Archives: cooking

Best of 2020: Things That Made Me Happy

I think everyone can agree that this was a mess of a year. Cancelled plans of all forms, loneliness, and general frustration at the subset of people who refused to care about others made it a challenge in multiple ways. But even in the worst of times, there is always joy to be found. Sometimes that came in the form of Skype chats with friends, sometimes in the satisfaction of making or creating something that made you proud, and sometimes it was in YouTube binges. So to conclude the year, I thought I would share some of the things that made me the happiest or most fulfilled this year and offer up a whole lot of YouTube links to explore and enjoy.

Cooking

SortedFood I talked at length last year about how much I love this channel but this year I appreciated them even more. Like everyone else, they had to pivot and change their plans in March but through it all, they improvised and found a way to continue offering the same terrific content they always have on top of bonus features like a couple solid months of Instagram Lives that functioned as a way to hang out and watch them in a more casual setting. They made the first few months of lockdown easier by giving me a structure and something to look forward to daily and I am extremely grateful for it. They are dedicated to helping people fall in love with cooking and food in general, all while making us smile. Their passion is evident in everything they do and I can’t wait to see what they do in 2021.

Recommended videos: 2 Chefs Cook an Easter Feast, Ultimate Fusion Battle, one of their Pick the Premium series, a Restaurant Meal Kit review, a test of Vegan Fish and Chips, How to Roast a Chicken, and a Pretentious Ingredients Taste Test.

Mythical Kitchen This offshoot of Good Mythical Morning highlights the incredible talent and chaos of their cooking team and is ridiculous in the best possible way. It most often takes something prepackaged or fast food based and re-imagines it in some way and takes that process very seriously without ever veering into pretension or the need to act like they’re above the base food they’re working with. Everything on the show is done to their best ability but with a sense of playfulness and fun that is found in everything they do. It’s more than a little chaotic because Josh brings that out in people and Nicole and Trevor act both as perfect foils and facilitators of that chaos. It’s a source of silliness with a side of genuinely very good looking food and my 2020 would have been worse without it.

Recommended videos: Peanut Butter and Jelly Pizza recipe, Recreating Taco Bell’s Discontinued Volcano Taco, Food Fights: Hamburger Helper Hacks, Fancy Fast Food: Burger King Breakfast Sandwich, I Crashed Guy Fieri’s Party and It Changed My Life (which absolutely sounds like clickbait and it is not, it’s a really good story).

The Takeout If YouTube videos aren’t your thing and you’d rather just read an article, but still want the same sense of fun and genuine love of all things food, The Takeout is the website for you. From interesting deep dives into a local food or food celebration, to fast food taste tests, fantasy food drafts, general food news, and a whole of delicious sounding recipes that I will one day try, it’s a website for people who love food and want to talk about it with others. Its comment sections are usually wonderful and made up of people sharing food stories and recipes. It is a daily read for me with excellent staff members and guest writers that I highly recommend if it’s something you’re at all interested in.

Recommended posts: Hardee’s BFC Angus Thickburger review (or really, any of Allison Robicelli’s taste tests), the Hibernation Holiday series, Miso Butter Spaghetti Carbonara, Peanut Butter Milk, Fantasy Food Draft: Best Ballpark Food, When Finding the Tastes of Home Requires A Roadtrip, The Worst Meals I’ve Cooked This Year (So Far), Ice Cream For Dinner Night

Continue reading Best of 2020: Things That Made Me Happy

Best of 2019: SORTEDfood Videos

These lists are my way to look back on the things I loved and the reasons I loved them in any given year and as a result, the categories shift a little depending on what captured my attention the most. So this year, we have a new category that I suspect will be of interest to few people but few things brought me as much joy this year as the SORTEDfood YouTube channel and corresponding club which makes it more than deserving of a special bonus list this year. I love watching and listening to these guys and the ways they’ve already changed the way I think about cooking and the types of things I try and hope that maybe someone will read this and learn about them for the first time and be similarly inspired. It’s truly a celebration of food, travel, and friendship and there’s something for everyone to enjoy about the channel.

1. Sake Series (SORTED Goes to Japan) Including the two battles, this is a series of seven videos and one of my favorite things this channel has done to date. Before watching the first episode, I didn’t know anything about sake and wasn’t particularly interested in trying it (partly because of my lack of knowledge and I felt overwhelmed). I still don’t entirely know where to start with it but now I’m excited to try it the next time I go out for sushi. That open-minded approach to food is the kind of thing SORTED encourages in its audience and one of the best things about the ethos behind the company. They love food and want us to love food with them. Their trip to Japan looked truly incredible and I’m glad it’s something the five of them got to experience as a team. Their friendship will always be the backbone of the channel and to see them collectively step outside their comfort zone to learn more about the culture and food of Japan in order to create a meal that honored that history was a gigantic source of pride as a viewer, especially one with (admittedly rather distant at this point) roots in Japan. 

2. Chefs “Remote Controlling” Normals Mike is a genius for this new format and how perfectly it works as a promo for their new Packs app. The food looks amazing and like ideas I should keep in mind for future holiday leftovers (or just a weeknight dinner tbh). But even more than that, I love the friendship dynamics that shine through here. You can tell Jamie and Ben have known each other for most of their lives and how often James and Barry have to coordinate their respective efforts on projects like the cookbooks. I will forever love Ben trolling his friends while managing to look perfectly innocent so radio-speak with Jamie was everything I could have wanted from them. I would also love to see this with competitive Ben, he’s so good at explaining things and walking people through cooking after 10 years of this channel and would be a force to be reckoned with. Then with James and Barry, their natural styles are incredibly well-suited to working together. James calms Barry’s panic and is good at knowing when to push and when to provide encouragement. It’s the Pizza Nachos video all over again and it’s just soothing to watch. I can’t wait to see more of this format and to see how they change it up in the future but this is a terrific start to these videos. 

3. 2 Chefs Review Classic French Cookbook I am pretty sure this is one of my very favorite SORTED videos (and still it ended up 3rd on this list, so you can see what a great year they’ve had). I love the concept of this reference book even if I would never want to cook from it and seeing the different interpretations of what is a very short and vague dish description is fascinating. Anything that brings out the differences of opinion between Ben and James is pretty much automatically going to be great (as is Jamie’s reaction whenever such a disagreement occurs) and the teamwork needed to create a finished dish, especially one that James was so pleased with, was both fun and educational. Both of them are very good at what they do and I loved getting to see them show off a bit. 

4. Beat the Chef: Mystery Box vol 5 This video is utter chaos and I love it. First of all, I applaud Ben and Jamie for opting for what was probably the harder route of a dessert instead of the steak + jam combo. They stepped outside their comfort zones and suffered for it in the moment, but it made the video more interesting. I would have genuinely been happy to eat either of their dishes and experience the flavor pairings for myself. Second, James and Barry’s glee at their friend’s panic is the best. Whether they’re being judgy over plating choices or laughing so hard they’re crying, it is hilarious to watch. Finally, the “interesting” counter during Mike’s judging as he attempts to find words for these very unexpected dishes and be upbeat about them was a terrific editing choice. It’s entertaining to watch from start to finish and always leaves me with a smile on my face. 

Continue reading Best of 2019: SORTEDfood Videos