I thought I had my life figured out when I was five years old. While kids my age were fussing over whether their dream job was to be a teacher or an astronaut, there I was chopping pretend carrots in the kitchen play area of my kindergarten classroom—determined to be a chef.
Instead of cartoons, I watched Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares (and maybe that’s why my culinary dream crashed before it could even take off. Gordon Ramsay was hella scary, okay, let me live). Yes, I didn’t become a chef—far from it, actually—but I never grew out of watching cooking shows.
It’s interesting, really. These days, I often find myself binge watching videos from Tasty, Nino’s Home and Nolisoli’s Comfort Kitchen (hello, self-promo!) but I’ve never actually bothered getting out of bed to recreate whatever they’re dishing out. Now that I think about it, it seems torture to watch somebody cook and never get a taste of the dish. So why can’t I exit the food video I’m playing right now?
Watching food videos stimulates an array of neural, physiological and behavioral responses. According to a 2016 research by Charles Spence of Oxford University, this natural desire or urge to view food images and videos may be called “visual hunger.” We get satisfaction from seeing food in the absence of an actual meal. Big thanks to technology (not really), the pleasure of seeing food has arguably overshadowed the pleasure of eating them.
But all neuropsychological explanations aside, I simply find food videos comforting. If most people listen to lofi hip-hop or coo over cat videos, some watch other people cook to relax their minds—myself included. It somehow feels like being transported to an entire different world where everything’s under control and falling into place—a complete opposite of our current realities (PH gov’t says hi).
Plus, there’s something about seeing Nino’s Home use his cute kitchen equipment, emmymadeinjapan giggle and dance in joy whenever she successfully pulls off a particularly strange recipe, or Erwan and Solenn Heusaff bicker over whose chocolate chip cookie was better. Their happiness and satisfaction radiate through the screen and that makes it almost impossible to look away.
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