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The Cooking Video Glossary
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I’ve spilled many a pixel on this here Substack about my YouTube habits. I probably don’t have much more to explain. Here’s where I’m at currently:
The constant, of course, is the abundant “Culinary arts” category. I watch every single cooking video I can get my hands on. I’ve seen every Bon Appetit chef-turned-influencer, followed each of them on their spinoff platforms. I notice the trendy condiments and tools and knick-knacks that proliferate in all of their ingredient lists like parasites: Fishwife canned seafood, Diaspora Co. spices, Ghia non-alcoholic spirits, Brightland olive oil, the Fredericks + Mae cutting boards.
If you can think of the channel, I’ve seen it. You might think, “Oh, there’s no way Nabeel has seen Chinese Cooking De—” Of course I’ve seen Chinese Cooking Demystified. “OK, then…what about Alex French Guy Cooking?” Do you think this is a game, bro? Do you think I haven’t seen Alex French Guy Cooking? “Fine! How about this? How about Brian Lagerstrom?” I do an exaggerated, pregnant pause. I look down, smirk a little, then step closer to you. I place a hand on your shoulder. Quietly, while you quiver in fear, I whisper back, “Formerly known as Weeds & Sardines?”
Throw in the towel, my friends. I’ve seen it all. And one thing all these clowns share in common? They all say the same shit. Below is a glossary of the most common cooking video words/phrases/techniques; watch enough of them, and you’ll see them coming before they even happen.
Saving your pasta water because it’s “liquid gold”: This is the easiest one. You’ll hear this everywhere. The pasta water is “starchy,” it helps the “sauce cling to the noodle,” “glossy,” “saucy,” etc. Subcategory here: salting your pasta water so it has “the salinity of the sea.”
“Crispy, craggly bits”: You hear this one a lot with regards to fried chicken, or deep-fried anything. Usually it’s about drizzling a bit of whatever brine was used into the flour dredge, so that there are “crispy, craggly bits” once the chicken is fried.
“Crispy, lacy edges”: Related to the above, but I would consider this different, since it is almost exclusively used in smashburger videos. The cook will, using a sheet of parchment paper, place a thin patty onto a heated griddle or cast-iron pan, then press it down with a spatula and some sort of weight on top, and eventually opine that smashburgers are better because of the aforementioned “crispy, lacy edges.”
The “peppery bite of arugula”: To be fair, I don’t know how else I would describe arugula. But this is the best we have.
Thighs over breasts: I mean, they’re right, but I dare you to find a chicken recipe video where they don’t mention that thighs are juicier and “more forgiving” than breasts.
Anchovies as “meaty + umami”: If you’re not in on anchovies, they tell you, just trust them! They don’t taste fishy, but actually will impart a nice “salty, umami” kick that amplifies “the meatiness.”
Fond: Fond reminds me of when people realized that everyone around them has a life outside of theirs, complete with their own thoughts, feelings, and memories… Never forget to scrape up the brown bits at the bottom of the pan after you deglaze, queens.
“Dry hand, wet hand”: Flour dredging seems to be a breeding ground for these. You gotta keep one hand in the dry batter and one hand in the wet, otherwise you get the dreaded sticky monster clumpy fingers.
Rustic: I actually could not give you an exact definition here. I don’t know what this means, fully. Can someone tell me
Rustic means that the food is full of iron oxide….