Right now this particular reviewer is getting his butt kicked by the Youtube algorithm, probably because he puts out videos devoted to science fiction, Asian cinema, cult movies and horror rather than… well, I don’t know what does well in the Youtube algorithm, because I don’t watch it.
And of course, Godzilla movies. He’s fun, dramatic and has luscious hair, and seems like a very nice person. So please support him in whatever way you can!
Over the last year, I’ve really fallen down a rabbit hole of historical food videos on Youtube, starting with the wonderful Tasting History show, and the Mrs. Crocombe videos that recreate Victorian recipes. But another show with a particular focus is the Townsend’s historical cooking channel.
This is the channel belonging to Jas Townsend and Sons, a company in Indiana who sell 18th-century reproductions of clothes, cookware, food, and many other things. It’s not exclusively devoted to cooking – there is stuff about building a log cabin, not getting your panties in a twist over ephemeral politics, and so on – but a large amount of it is devoted to exploring the cuisine of 18th-century America, ranging from the culinary efforts of the enslaved to the recipes inherited from England.
Townsend is a very pleasant and soothing person to watch, and he chats with the camera about the historical context of his dishes as he makes them. Part of the appeal is just in how unpredictable and odd these dishes are from when you recreate them as accurately as possible. What was fried chicken like back then? Or mac’n’cheese? What recipes did Martha Washington have? And what is fried lobster like?
Granted, I don’t feel good most days. But I’m thinking seriously about taking a break from social media from awhile. Not from this blog – I would probably dedicate more time to the blog – but from stuff like Twitter.
Twitter is quite possibly the worst site on the planet that does not contain snuff films, animal abuse or child porn. It’s a mass of rather stupid people festering with hatred, arrogance, closed-mindedness and a total inability to debate anything intelligently. Youtube comments sections are positively kind and loving compared to Twitter.
And honestly, I have never felt at all accepted or safe there. Quite the opposite. Barely a day goes by when I don’t see someone being either casually bigoted towards me or people of my religion, or angrily and vitriolically. I hear people bleating about how social media is a “safe space” for many people, and how they should “feel safe,” but I have never felt safe there, and they couldn’t care less.
Hell, I feel actively threatened by some of these people.
And the worst part is, these people rule Twitter. These are not little fringe groups. These people are pretty much the face of Twitter, and they have countless supporters, and they have power to intimidate companies and politicians.
So I’m thinking about taking a break from social media for awhile – from Twitter, from Facebook, even from Youtube comment sections. I have writing I want to do (including this blog), and reading, and getting back in touch with what’s actually important. I want to stay in touch with the few friends I have online, but my emotional and mental health are being negatively affected by all the hatred and bigotry I’ve been exposed to.
I’m warning you: if you are a gourmet of any kind, turn back now. What you are about to hear about will absolutely scar you for life and probably leave you with nightmares about blackened garlic and beef swimming in lard.
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.
Okay, this is not so much a recommendation for the sake of enjoyment as for horrified fascination. It’s a channel devoted to the kitchen escapades of a British woman who… does things to food. I can’t say she “cooks,” because that would be a lie. What she does is not cooking. It might be some kind of food sacrifice to an angry god of food poisoning.
Imagine this: a woman sets out to make meatballs. Rather than follow the usual procedure of combining meat, breadcrumbs, spices and herbs, some egg, maybe a little cheese… and crushing them into tight little balls… she just tears off chunks of ground beef, dunks them in a thick coating of egg, and then plunks them in the pan, where they are left to overcook until they are deteriorating gray blobs swimming in their own juices that no person who isn’t starving should consider eating.
She uses copious amounts of lard, ground beef (often boiled… go ahead and cry now), poorly-chopped onion, lots of egg, sandwich meat, and so on, usually cooked at temperatures that volcanologists say are excessive. There is no moderation here – she cooks everything to hell, literally.
She also has kitchen safety practices that make me want to die, like constantly cutting towards her own thumb. She’s going to slice off her finger someday, and on that day, I will be there to shout “I told you so!”
I do have to warn you: I am not 100% sure that she is not just trolling everyone. A few of her video titles sound suspiciously like she is, and it’s kind of hard to believe that a woman in the late 2010s with Internet access couldn’t find good recipes online. Either she can’t/won’t follow recipes, or she’s cooking badly purposely, for the entertainment of the masses. I honestly do not know. If she is trolling, then her son is a master actor, though, because he voluntarily eats just about everything she cooks without flinching.
I do want to mention that I have seen people online arguing that there’s a class element to her food, and that the cheaper ingredients point to a low income in Britain’s lower classes. Therefore, they say, we should not judge her cooking so harshly.
I… disagree. The inexpensive ingredients she uses are not the problem; many good meals could be made from them by a person of any class who knows what they’re doing. It’s the handling of the ingredients that is hideously, insanely wrong, in a manner that – again – could exist in any class or economic level. You could give her Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen and pantry, and everything she cooked would still be deeply, fundamentally WRONG.
Speaking of Ramsay, he would probably have a stroke and die if he saw these videos, so nobody send them to him.
One thing that baffles me is when she was trying to make a Big Mac, and she argued that the different size and shape of the “patties” was because “they have machines” at McDonald’s. I don’t know how they do it at McDonald’s (I assume that Satanic magic and dead rodents are involved), but I’ve worked at a Five Guys, and we made every single burger patty by hand, and they were not giant round lumps of loose meat swimming in lard and falling apart.
Anyway, the only thing more wonderful than these food snuff films are the commentary channels offering their viewpoints on Kay’s Cooking. So by all means, check them out.
I love sausages. Make your sex puns now, get them out of the way. I will try all sorts of sausages, with all kinds of fillings, though my favorite is and remains Italian hot sausages.
Which brings me to Ordinary Sausage, one of the oddest and yet most hypnotic channels you will find on Youtube. It belongs to a very odd man who sounds like Peter Griffin, and who owns a meat grinder and a sausage maker. With that meat grinder and sausage maker, he endeavors to create sausages both divine and satanic, sausages that no sane mind would ever think of.
Sometimes he makes sausages out of various animal organs. Sometimes he makes them out of liquids. Or full meals from restaurants. Or just things like lobster or candy corn that don’t belong in a sausage casing, yet somehow end up in there.
And yes, the water sausage, which actually went viral. Why that one? I don’t know.
I find water sausage and air sausage and ice sausage to be the least interesting videos he’s done, because… you know what they taste like. There’s no suspense, no mystery. As opposed to, “What will a Slim Jim sausage taste like? Or a candy apple sausage?” where you really do not know what the answer will be.
And these videos are, to put it simply, quirky. It would be pretty dull if he just ground up ingredients and put them in a sausage, but he has funny running gags, rants, visual embellishments, songs, and of course sometimes his grinder just gives up and stops working right because he fed it nuts or a fish skeleton.
Once I found this man’s channel, I spent the next few hours watching every sausage tutorial he had. Hopefully you’ll do the same.
There are a lot of online cooking shows that focus on foods from other countries, or relatively obscure foods, such as EmmyMadeInJapan.
But I recently found out about a relative new Youtube show called Tasting History, which focuses on relatively obscure dishes… because they’re from centuries or even millennia ago, as well as often from different cultures. Ever had syllabub, a foodstuff that sounds like it was named by a drunken Wolverine? Wonder what King Alfred burned? Want to make super-historically-accurate tortillas? Want to know the authentic way to prepare the drink of Grecian heroes?
And our host doesn’t just show us how to prepare these dishes, he gives the history and context of the dishes, as well as highlighting the obscure ingredients that were common at the time. For instance, in one episode he prepares Parthian chicken, and not only explains the importance of the unusual ingredients like lovage and asafoetida, but also the significance and the societal role of the Parthian empire.
On Youtube, I’m subscribed to a few comic-book related channels (Linkara, obviously), and I recently stumbled across a guy called Comic Tropes, who does retrospectives, reviews, histories and trope analyses of various comic books. Not just DC and Marvel, although obviously he focuses mostly on those.
He’s got a lot of energy, and he does some fun little self-competitions like when he counts the tropes in a given creator’s comic book, and he drinks something weird whenever an individual trope comes up. In one video, for instance, he drinks different flavors of moonshine. And he’s very fair-minded, such as when he examined whether Rob Liefeld had improved over the years.
If you enjoy Linkara or ComicsDrake or other such reviewers, then please check out this guy, and preferably subscribe.