I don’t know about you all, but I’m really struggling to make lemonade from the proverbial global pandemic crisis lemons I have been allotted during this time. I just don’t currently have it in me to do a bunch of home workouts (as someone who has more success with the external accountability of a class), to bake all day? (I don’t even have… the ingredients…?), or even to binge-watch shows. I’ve had an aversion to the commitment of starting a new show for a long time, and that has only been exacerbated by the toll of living during a worldwide catastrophe.
What I do have an appetite for, however, is videos. Specifically, I watch a lot of food preparation videos (which has always been a guilty pleasure of mine), and lately, I’ve been really enjoying calm and relaxing food preparation videos.
I tend to watch videos at 1.5x speed or faster, but with these, I am able to sit back and watch at the intended speed (haha) to really attempt relaxation. It’s almost meditative, to watch someone prepare something delicious.
So here are a few of the videos that have brought me a few minutes of peace and calm. I hope they can do the same for you.
I have really gotten into watching Li Ziqi 李子柒 because she is connecting viewers with the traditional ways to make Chinese foods. I can be completely enraptured watching her harvest soybeans to make soy milk to make tofu in order to make mapo tofu 麻婆豆腐. Or even planting rice to make rice cakes and scorched rice. I spend a lot of time unwinding and craving Chinese food watching, so it’s no wonder that she is perhaps one of the most influential online creators in China, with a rumored reach wider than even CCTV.
Haegreendal 해그린달 is a Korean woman who is part of a wave of content creators that make these supremely cozy videos that really add the homey to home. She cooks simple dishes, does household chores, with little bits of commentary that give you a bit of insight into her thoughts and sometimes ask you to take time to discover insight into your own. I discovered her videos very recently but know they will be something I come back to when I need to quiet my mind and feel motivated to take care of my living space and myself.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention Alvin Zhou, from BuzzFeed’s Tasty team, as this video actually introduced me to Haegreendal. She is one of the people he cited as inspiration for the above video, which is one of the quarantine videos that was released recently. It’s a very simple concept – he makes a series of 3-ingredient recipes all day – that is really pleasantly executed. I felt super at ease watching, and because all the recipes are just 3 ingredients, I felt like I could easily get up and make one or all of them myself if I so chose. I hope he enjoyed making this one as much as I did watching.
This insanely gorgeous cheesecake recipe from HidaMari Cooking appeared in my suggested videos so many times that I finally relented, being a huge fan of peaches and a disliker of cheesecake. This Japanese creator’s channel is full of these absolutely beautiful creations, all with the goal of being pleasing to the eyes and ears. I would consider this part of the wave of mostly Japanese creators who were creating this ASMR cooking content last year.
Another prime example in this genre is Peaceful Cuisine, who makes soothing food videos with and without music. (There are 2 versions for many of the recipes he makes.) This is his most popular one, and he’s been creating little moments of peace and tasty treats for years now.
If you haven’t seen yet, Dalgona coffee has been a beverage trend in South Korea for over a month now as Koreans in quarantine learn to make something delicious and beautiful in the confines of their home. This video, from Cho’s Daily Cook, is part of a trending genre in Korea called #homecafe, where people create sumptuous-looking beverages in aesthetic as all heck videos. (Eater did a great write-up about this trend.) This was one of my favorite videos from early on before Dami Lee blew up the trend’s spot in the United States and it started going viral on TikTok and Instagram here, too.
I hope you enjoy these videos and that they help you find a bit more calm in your day. Relax your jaw, take some deep breaths, release the tension in your shoulders. There are cozy food videos waiting for you.
If you have any relaxing food videos to share, please do! I’m always looking for more to enjoy.