The Internet is crammed with comforting content right now. Anything you could possibly imagine to soothe fraught nerves and sadness spirals is readily available at the click of a few buttons. From ASMR that will make you fall asleep to cynical TikTok’s to leave you cackling at your phone screen, there is no corner of comfort unreachable, whatever your vice may be. My source of internet comfort takes place in many forms, but the most reliable: Bon Appetit's Test Kitchen videos.
The rise of the viral cooking content came as no surprise to me, a person who has been consuming their video content for just shy of three years now and takes the absolute most comfort in watching professional chefs act completely normal in an editorial kitchen/work environment while stressed/anxious/hungover. It’s only expected that now, as the globe remains in the clutches of COVID-19, home cooking has risen to a high-level of relevance, as has BA test kitchen content.
The arguable stars of the delightful YouTube channel are none other than the now relatively famed Claire Saffitz, for her ‘Gourmet Makes’ episodes, where Saffitz recreates our favourite junk food into a gourmet version. Usually over the course of many days and many breakdowns. And Brad Leone of Bon Appetit’s ‘It’s Alive With Brad’, a cheery, shaggy, sub-category of videos where Leone ferments various vegetables, goes on trips to hunt wild animals, and so on. It’s perhaps the low-fi nature of these series of videos that makes them so comforting to watch, coupled with the realness that they expose, making the stars even more likeable because they are flawed (although perfect in our eyes). It’s the uncovering of the peaks, pits and mistakes that makes us want to come back for more, not because we are sad and want to see them fail, but because the human-ness in cooking that they admit to is better than any tutorial on how to flambé.
This rough format of piece to camera style cooking videos is present in almost all the BA test kitchen videos which is one element that makes them so enjoyable (except maybe Andy’s, which sorry, but are perhaps the most snore of them all), married with the unconventional nature of cooking content which usually looks delicious and achievable and makes it feel like there is never a boring day in the Test Kitchen. In recent months, these videos have become the focus of a global fandom, earning them non-affiliated meme accounts, successful merch launches and real-life fans, for understandable reasons.
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If there is anyone we should be trusting right now, it’s the BA staff, who are going to such lengths to continue producing content, they are doing so from their respective home kitchens while zoom-ing the camera crew. Often with additions of parents and children making unexpected cameo’s, which takes the whole operation to an even higher level of wholesomeness.
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Image Credit: @bonappetitmag and @meme_appetit