The Tastiest Form of Social Media: How Anyone Can Be A Chef Through Facebook

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).

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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.

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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.

8 comments

  1. Ben, I couldn’t agree more about how helpful social media has been for cooking. Like you, I am a straight by the book cook who likes to see the process as it happens so that I know I am doing it right. I actually enjoy surfing through the countless options to find the right recipe and my crock pot probably would never have gotten used if it weren’t for these types of websites. In addition to what you mentioned, I also think the comments have really helped move cooking along for amateurs such as myself, because I can see what adjustments people recommend based on their own tastes and I learn what ingredients can compliment each other in the future. I must say that I still like having a go-to recipe book of my own, but now it is the best compilation of my best family recipes and new cuisines. Great picture choices and thanks for sharing!

  2. Ben, great post! Totally agreed with both you and Matt. The internet has opened up so many doors for recipes and the instructional videos are helpful for honing the skills necessary to make the recipe a possibility – dicing vs. chopping etc. Previously, I think pinterest really had this market cornered. The problem, of course, was that pinterest did a lot less hand holding. Maybe 1 in 5 times a pinterest recipe I tried turned out like the picture – all the rest of the time I did something wrong or the recipe was missing something important. I feel like buzzfeed really filled the gap, and now recipe sites are ensuring that there’s no gap between what they’re telling you to and how the recipe will turn out.

    This, of course, is only further facilitated by the iPad. I know a lot of older generation adults who use their iPad as something of a recipe library, which is much more portable than the larger books they’re used to using. I’ve even seen this really cool iPad cover that looks like a cutting board.

  3. As a fellow foodie, I’m so glad you blogged about this! I love watching the Food Network and cooking my mom’s recipes, but my favorite development in cooking has been the rise of recipe-sharing on social media. Those Buzzfeed videos are one of the few things I stop for when scrolling through my news feed. As part a generation who grew up “googling” everything they didn’t know, the internet has been an integral part of culinary education. Google has taught me how long to boil corn for, and now apps like Handpick have shown me how to make delicious meals based on whatever I have in my fridge. I love that I can continue learning about foods from around the world without having to leave my house!

  4. Ben great post! As people commented before, food and cooking is a really big trend in social media in the present. I love eating, but hate cooking, but I still follow different instagram accounts about food or cooking, just for the pleasure of looking at beautiful food. As @valdesae said in her comment, Pinterest has being a great source for people looking for recipes, but I think the target for this app, is people that already have being gifted with cooking abilities. In my experience I am obcess with the Food Network through Snapchat Discovery, every day they post different recipes, videos, trivias and information about restaurants in different cities. It’s a great way to learn more about food without spending a lot of time watching a food TV show.

  5. Ben, I thought your point about the millennials wanting to watch 15 second videos versus wanting to get to know the host of a cooking show was a really interesting point. The vast majority of the recipes I have tried come from those quick 15 second tutorials, while I have never even made an effort to recreate a recipe from a cooking show.

    Recently, I developed a dairy intolerance and the ease of looking for recipes via social media has enabled me to find all of my favorite recipes using non-dairy substitutes. I love the flexibility allowed me social media over the traditional cookbook. I enjoyed your blog post!

  6. Let’s just say that if it were not for Pinterest, I would be having mac and cheese every night for dinner. I agree that social media has opened up a whole new world for cooking. Social media makes everything so easy and convenient to replicate. It gives me ideas of what type of food to cook for any occasion. One of my best friends is vegan and on top of that she is a super health freak, so she has a very strict diet. She uses social media, specifically Pinterest, to find just about all of her meals. She can simply type in key words like “sweet potato” and “vegan” and will instantly be flooded with recipes to choose from. So aside from delicious looking pictures on Instagram that keep me up at night drooling and waiting for breakfast, I think social media has definitely been a much needed asset for us “not so domestic” chefs.

  7. Its amazing how much of this expertise is so easily transmitted over social media. I’ve learned lots about home repair, home brewing, and other skills that otherwise would have required much research on my part (or hiring an expert). The next wave is AI supported cooking, and I have eaten at an IBM Watson food truck.

  8. I’m salivating just reading this article 😋. I love to cook even though I’m not a great chef and always go to the internet in order to find recipes. I have found a few that have even become weekly regulars. I’ve never thought about going to social media though in order to find recipes. I’ve never heard of Tasty before but now I’m already addicted. I mean, who wanted want http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/main-courses/sweet-chili-chicken/?! I already have meals planned out for the rest of the week! Thanks your blog!

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