We are all acutely aware of the general switch of many forms of news and entertainment from traditional media to online, but underneath the obvious surface of news, weather, sports, and music are more niche transitions that are happening before our very eyes. The most prominent of these, even though it might seem like an afterthought nowadays, is in the realm of food and cooking shows. For centuries, recipes for delicious forms of food were passed down from generation to generation through cookbooks and word of mouth, leading to well-guarded family recipes and traditional meals that entire cultures became known for. But over the last two decades, something remarkable has occurred in this tasty realm, where thousands of recipes and pictures of their results are transplanted from places like book pages and television screens to computers and mobile phones.
In American society, we take pride in being a melting pot of culture, where millions of immigrants have settled our great nation and brought with them their own culture. But, be that as it may, there are endless examples of different cultures refusing to interact with each other because they found them inaccessible for a multitude of reasons, and therefore cultural exchange did not always take place. Regional dishes, such as Southern BBQ or Tex-Mex gained their “regional” dimension because of this, and up until recently we tend to associate authentic food styles only with dishes prepared in the regions they originated from.
However, now with a few clicks on a keyboard, one can enter the vast network of incredible recipes available online at sources like www.Food.com, www.AllRecipes.com, and many more. As such, we now are seeing a huge transition in the types of foods people will cook in their day to day lives, as they try to differentiate themselves among their social groups by cooking the most exotic, unknown dishes they can possibly find that are still simple to make at home and taste delicious. Look no further than Instagram, where if you type in “#food” into the search bar, you will receive over 150 million hits on photos tagged with the hashtag “food.” A good number of these pictures are beautiful-looking dishes made right at home, and the talented food bloggers who share them often give the recipe through a link to their website (i.e. my sister and her blog @ThePreppyHostess and ThePreppyHostess.com).
The other phenomena that has really caused a major stir in the realm of social media and food is the movement of cooking instructional videos from major cable channels like the Food Network, FYI, and the Cooking Channel, to social media pages like Buzzfeed Food and Tasty, which is another subsidiary of Buzzfeed. These two pages offer and incredible amount of simple, bare-bones videos that quickly show you how to make very creative and unusual dishes that look delicious. But what is notably different between these pages and the traditional cooking shows is the lack of a host, and the incredibly short length of the videos. This strategy works incredibly with the short attention span of users on social media, who have eyes that automatically go towards delicious-looking, colorful food, and will stay on that food if they find that the video showing to the make the food is only 10 or 15 seconds long. The vast majority of millennials don’t have any desire to see the personalities behind cooking shows, but rather just get the straightforward instructions so that you can figure out in a matter of seconds if you can cook the dish or not.
But the great thing about Tasty and Buzzfeed Food is that generally, everyone can cook these dishes. They use simple, common ingredients in almost every kitchen, and they utilize kitchen tools and appliances that almost everyone has. They hold no secrets back about the recipe, and show you the exact process of making the dishes from beginning to end so that you can go about your day, where you either start to make this dish, or move onto the next one.
For myself, this amazing ability to find any recipe for almost any kind of dish at anytime is what I love about social media and the internet, because it integrates us as a society even more and exposes us to so many cultures.
And yes, I am hungry now too.