EASY AS PIE

Home cooks and chefs alike em­brac­ing video recipes on so­cial me­dia

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - ARTS & LIFE - By Lois Abra­ham

TORONTO — It seems you can’t scroll through Face­book any­more with­out com­ing across an­other slick, quick video recipe. A Tip Hero video tu­to­rial demon­strat­ing how to make baked ap­ple roses went vi­ral prior to Thanks­giv­ing and has gar­nered 200 mil­lion views on Face­book. Red vel­vet brain cakes and other edi­ble zombie frights were trend­ing last week.

Rayna Mar­lee Schwartz, a free­lance prop and craft stylist in Toronto, saw the ap­ple roses recipe — which in­volves rolling slices of the fruit with puff pas­try and bak­ing them in a muffin tin to re­sem­ble a flower — on­line and de­cided to give it a try.

“I think the videos are re­ally great be­cause ... it breaks it down step by step and I know I (can) watch it over and over again as I go,” said Schwartz, 28, who shared her re­sults on In­sta­gram, Twit­ter and Face­book.

“(And) I thought it was pretty cool that af­ter mak­ing th­ese ap­ple roses, I clicked on the hash­tag and was like ‘Wow, look at all the oth­ers’ and got to see peo­ple from all over the world do­ing the same thing I was do­ing.

“I didn’t even re­al­ize it at the time. I thought that was pretty spe­cial.”

Kather­ine Hol­land, a 31-year-old Toronto-based pho­tog­ra­pher, was also lured by the video recipe and said she ap­pre­ci­ated that she could see the whole process from start to fin­ish in just over a minute.

“Whereas if you’re watch­ing ... the Food Net­work, to make one of those things you’re com­mit­ting to 35 min­utes and by the time you’re done you’re like: ‘I have no in­ter­est in this any­more. That is the amount of time I could have ac­tu­ally made that,’” she said.

If there’s a draw­back to get­ting hooked on the so­cial me­dia recipe trend, it’s try­ing to find the right in­struc­tions when you need them, said Nada Bakraky, 29, who also shared a photo of her ap­ple roses on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram.

“I made th­ese pump­kin-cream cheese muffins be­fore from Pin­ter­est, but when I went to find it again there were so many vari­a­tions I couldn’t fig­ure out which was the one I’d used the first time,” said Bakraky.

“I started writ­ing them down in my own cook­book. But I’ve stopped buy­ing cook­books. Every­thing’s on­line.”

Schwartz ad­mits that her tech toys have taken some abuse since dis­cov­er­ing on­line recipes.

“My iPad, when I’m bak­ing, it’s cov­ered with flour and egg and every­thing. It’s just thrown on the kitchen counter. I’m touch­ing it with my dirty hands,” she said. “(But) so far it’s been OK,” she added with a laugh. Hol­land, who can’t eat gluten, dairy or eggs, said she also loves that on­line recipes com­monly have com­ments at­tached that help her make her own tweaks.

“Peo­ple says things like, ‘I changed out th­ese six things,’ or ‘I cooked this for an ex­tra eight min­utes and I found this solved this prob­lem,’” said Hol­land. “You’d never get that from a cook­book.” Even the pros have em­braced the on­line chat­ter around recipes and are adapt­ing.

Bri­tish-based chef Yo­tam Ot­tolenghi, owner of five Lon­don res­tau­rants and author of the new Nopi cook­book, started us­ing Twit­ter about four years ago and now also posts on In­sta­gram, Pin­ter­est and Face­book.

“It’s been very use­ful for me, first of all, to en­gage with peo­ple and un­der­stand what’s go­ing on and also be­cause I like to get a good idea of what peo­ple do with the food,” he said while vis­it­ing Toronto.

“I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant when you write cook­books to get this kind of in­put of what’s ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing.”

When Gourmet mag­a­zine abruptly shut its doors in 2009, editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl said she was buoyed by the sym­pa­thetic Twit­ter com­mu­nity and em­braced the in­ter­ac­tiv­ity so­cial me­dia of­fered.

“I’d al­ways felt to­tally alone in my kitchen and sud­denly with Twit­ter it was like I was cook­ing with a group of peo­ple and I could ac­tu­ally say, ‘I have th­ese ba­nanas. What should I do?’ And peo­ple from all over the world would an­swer me,” Reichl said while in Toronto to pro­mote her new book Ruth Reichl: My Kitchen Year.

“It was ex­cit­ing. It was like hav­ing the Gourmet test kitchen right there in my own kitchen.”

Pump­kin muffins

Ap­ple roses

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