It’s difficult to express just what your YouTube channel means to me. It seems like hyperbole, or at least cliché, to say you were there for me in the darkest of times, but, honestly, it’s true. Without you, I don’t know how I would have gotten through the absolute dumpster fire of a year that was 2020.
Last March, when stay-at-home orders were first handed down, I, like a lot of people, fell into depression pretty quickly. I wasn’t working, I couldn’t go anywhere, I couldn’t see my friends… And as a result, I found that all I really wanted to do during this time was lie in bed and watch food videos. Mostly Buzzfeed Tasty and Bon Appetit videos, at that point, along with old episodes of Good Eats and a rewatch of Food Wars, among other things
Then, I discovered Binging with Babish. I’d already seen a couple of episodes. I saw both your recreations of McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce from Rick and Morty, and a friend linked me to your fastidious recreation of the “grey stuff” and other appetizers from Beauty and the Beast. Still, I’d never really explored the show in depth—until one day in late March, when a few episodes started making their way into my recommended videos.
I started watching: the Bunnicorn Pizza from Star Trek: Picard. The Turf ‘N Turf from Parks & Rec. Then, I started binging. I watched everything I could, from Binging’s Godfather Cannoli and Friends' “Moistmaker” sandwich, to Basics episodes like “Sauces,” “Steaks,” and “Chocolate Chip Cookies.” And before too long, I discovered something. I didn’t just want to sit around watching food videos anymore. Your channel inspired me to want to get back in the kitchen and start making food again.
I’ve always loved cooking and baking, but watching you has helped me up my culinary game in a myriad of ways. You introduced me to new techniques, new ways of using ingredients, and much more. Simple things, like sweating an onion, or de-glazing a pan to get the fond, and, of course, the importance of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Thanks to you, I now own a tiny whisk, and it’s one of the best kitchen investments I’ve made in years.
After a month or so of watching your videos, I started my own show of sorts, livestreaming my culinary adventures to Facebook. I made it my own, of course, but anyone else who watched Binging could see the inspiration, even just from my pronunciation of “saucepan.” The livestreaming gave me something constructive and creative to do during a time when finding motivation was difficult, and it helped me connect with my friends when we couldn’t be together.
So, what is it about your channel that helped spark this inspiration and motivation within me? A lot of things. I love your recurring jokes, geeky references, and all-around silliness. I love your attention to detail in recreating dishes as faithfully as possible—whether it means tracking down obscure ingredients, splurging on a new piece of specialized equipment, or simply making (and eating) something you know is going to be disgusting.
Most of all, though, I’m fascinated by the way you bring fantasy to life. You put your blood and sweat into a chocolate cake that looked just as delectable and inviting as the one from Matilda. You mimed your way through invisible ingredients to make the Imaginary Pie from Hook—before turning around and making it for real. You took the burnt, sticky mess that was Homer Simpson’s Space-Age Moon Waffles and turned it into something amazing and delicious. You take the dishes I’ve dreamed about, sometimes for decades, and make them into reality.
I am, thankfully, no longer in a place where all I want to do all day is lie in bed and watch food videos; however, I still never miss an episode of Binging or Basics—and I’m beyond thrilled that you’ve added Sohla El-Waylly, one of the most talented, creative, and awesome people from Bon Appetit, to the Babish Culinary Universe.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched certain episodes. Things like Brownies, Los Pollos Hermanos, and Buttered Noodles show up in my Recommended Videos fairly frequently, and when they do, I always have to click. Or sometimes, I’ll find myself looking up Paprikash, Latkes, or Carbonara (both the faithful one and the “bad” one) for no reason at all.
Whether I need motivation, inspiration, or just entertainment, the Babish Culinary Universe has been there for me. You just celebrated five years of cooking for your channel. I’ve only been with you for this most recent one, but I look forward to many more in the future.
Keep cooking. I will if you will.