Friday Fun: 3 must-see YouTube Cooking Shows

A few months ago, Tina and I were driving somewhere when my attention slipped, giving her just enough time to flip the radio dial over the CBC.  For those of you that aren’t in Canada, CBC radio is not unlike the BBC, in that they have more than one station to cover all kinds of formats, all driven by national interests.

These include:

  • CBC Radio 1:  Excruciating public affairs talk shows, lots of news about things that happen in Newfoundland, and high profile hosts like Stuart McLean.
  • CBC Radio 2:  National music, which promises all kinds of neat independent stuff, but always seems to be lap guitars or fiddle music whenever you turn it on.
  • CBC Radio 3:  Which is entirely online and extraordinarily great, but totally inaccessible from my car, so NEGATIVE TEN POINTS for that.

Tina loves Radio 1 with a depth I cannot possibly fathom, and the more obscure the topics that it delves into, the more I want to smash my forehead into the steering wheel as hard as I possibly can.

For example, on that morning I heard a clearly middle-aged male voice come on and — NO KIDDING — start discussing with absolute sincerity how he had no idea why the internet could be thought to improve anyone’s life.  Just a bunch of noise, what with the Facebooks and the Twitters and the navel-gazing and all, he went on, and what good was that to anyone?

I thought this might be satire, as though this was a caricature of someone who was unable to grasp decade-old examples like internet banking, web-based commerce or even just friggin’ e-mail.  Kind of like how the Onion lampoons editorial cartoons, by creating a character so staggeringly biased that it calls out the entire practice.

But no!  This guy was actually serious, and went on to relate how he could find no value in YouTube until he came across a series of instructional videos about woodworking.

Yes, really.  The CBC, everybody.

Once he had unearthed this treasure trove of information, he could suddenly understand what the whole fuss was about!  With the technique for proper dove-tailing revealed to him, this whole new media idea suddenly made sense, and he became a passionate devotee.

He concluded by sharing how he was now learning guitar off YouTube, too.

But, while I can never have those seven minutes of my life back, it did inspire me to seek out what other incredible instructional information I could find on YouTube — in particular, those intrepid souls who’ve gone to the lengths of producing their own online cooking shows.

Oh, and what I found!  God bless the internet, that’s all I can say.  So without further ado (and ideally no further mention of the CBC), I offer up a countdown of the 3 best YouTube cooking shows that I’ve found so far.

Depression Cooking

Clara is a 94 year-old woman who has her own cookbook, has recorded two seasons of online recipes, and has a DVD for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Through the stories she relates about her survival of the Depression, she teaches you how to cook frugally but with heart.

Honestly, you should pause for a moment and consider this:  Right here, in the same place on the internet where you watch a fat guy in a Tron suit make a fool of himself, is a woman whose food costs less than a dollar per serving and is busily launching a multimedia empire.  Who am I to argue with this?

I couldn’t even find my keys when I got home last night, you guys. How do you feel about what YOU’VE done today?

Dave Can Cook

Dave seems to have only a tenuous mastery of internet technology, but that hasn’t stopped him from having one of the most affable and charming cooking channels that I’ve come across.  Here is a man who is entirely comfortable doing a full 8-minute bit for you about how to cook, and then eat, two eggs.  He sees nothing wrong with it; he just got a new pan, after all, so why shouldn’t he show it to you?

Because to Dave, that’s a concept worth discussing at length, and he’s charming enough to sustain a segment so paper-thin.  Don’t think so?  Here are three direct quotes that say it all:

  • “I love me some grits.”
  • “Soon as my egg starts to bubble up and look ready to flip… I’m gonna flip it.”
  • “If it sticks, it’ll be okay.  I’ll still eat it.  You know how it is.”

Yes Dave, we do.  When you mash those eggs into your grits with a healthy pat of butter, we definitely do.

Now go on, show us how to deep-fry a Cornish hen.  You know you want to.

Hot For Cooking

Go ahead and criticize, but there’ve been television cooking shows sold on sex appeal for YEARS.  Let’s just all give credit to Tifa for admitting it, and bringing to bear whatever assets she has to draw attention to her show.

Plus, she can still slice ginger better than I can.

Come on, admit that you haven’t dug into this channel at least a few more episodes, just to see what else she’s going to make/wear/do.  That there’s no website or e-commerce empire behind this woman is stunning to me, and yet there she is, making Chinese hamburgers and shooting milk out of graduated cylinders.

In the end, whatever else you do, at the end of one of Tifa’s episodes, you can say with confidence that you’ve never seen a cooking show like hers.

And in truth, that’s the wonder of the endless ocean of content flowing through sites like YouTube.  There is a whole world of weird, hilarious people out there who are totally genuine in their desire to do an honest-to-God cooking show — whether their angle is their insight drawn from the events of another generation, their doughty affection for butter and grits, or their great big hooters.

Whatever the case, they’re not to be missed, and they’re perfect to pass the time on a Friday afternoon.

  • elsewise

    Mark loves CBC Radio so much that, when I was wooing him, instead of sending him the traditional mix tape of songs about My True Feelings, I sent him a multi-disc set of stories from the Vinyl Café. And now we are married. I’m just saying is all.

    And I guarantee that Mark has watched those YouTube woodworking videos. He also likes to watch slideshows of John Deere tractors set to country music, and I know for a fact that he has learned to play a certain awful country song on his guitar by watching the video on YouTube ad nauseum. So I’m left wondering…. when the heck was Mark interviewed on CBC??

    • Mike

      “He also likes to watch slideshows of John Deere tractors set to country music” has got to be one of the most magical phrases I have read in a long time.

      Is Mark also confused to the point of crankypants anger by new technologies?

      • elsewise

        There might be some occasional fist-shaking, yes. He usually comes around, though. He’s gotten fairly adept at typing on his Blackberry touchscreen, but he’s still awed by the “cool” special effects on its camera (“Hey look! When I take a picture of my co-workers, this thing can automatically turn them into sketches!”).

        Let’s just say that he’s a late adopter.

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  • Matt LeQ

    Mike you know my relationship with the CBC. Some days I ask myself why 15 full minutes of a national broadcast are devoted to the state of traffic lights in Kingston, and then there are days when I’m driving back from Canmore listening to Rex Murphy on Cross Country Checkup in a state of complete and total placation.

    It helps that I married a women who can identify Barbara Budd by voice and who whistles the flute solo from the theme of “As it happens” in the car.

  • Erin Maxwell

    Another amazing cook, with some videos on youtube, and a general lifestyle idea which is so so important:, Linda Watson!