I don’t know about all y’all, but lately Facebook has become my cookbook.
Sure, I use Facebook for a lot of things. Looking at pictures of all the cute babies everyone else is having. Rolling my eyes at the latest ridiculous “fact filled” memes. Keeping tabs on long lost acquaintances like a creeper. But let’s be real here — lately my news feed is all about food, and I love it.
Okay, I mostly love it. I love that I’m getting a lot of ideas on possible new recipes. I don’t know about your respective households, but whenever The Husband and I try to meal plan, it seems like we forget every meal we’ve ever had in our lives and grasp at anything remotely food like to get ideas.
“What do we want to eat this week,” he’ll ask. “We need to make a menu.”
“Umm…”I’ll say in a long, drawn out tone, exerting more mental energy than I did for the entirety of graduate school, “maybe something with…bread?”
He’ll pause and think. “Okay. We do have some bread to use up. What can we make with bread?”
And then we’ll both rack our brains for what seems like an eternity, thinking back through our childhood, knowing that we have eaten amazing meals involving bread, several that we REALLY REALLY liked, and trying hard to remember one, just ONE that we can put on this list. We think and think and think and think until our brains are about to explode, then finally, as it seems the brink of insanity is almost at our doorstep, suddenly…
“SANDWICHES!” one of us will blurt out. “We could make sandwiches. And that would be good for Tuesday night since we have a lot of places to be and that’s a quick meal.”
And then we relax, confident in our mental faculties and feeling so damn proud of ourselves for resisting the urge to Just Go Out. We are ADULTS. We plan MEALS. We SHOP FOR GROCERIES. We are AWESOME. All hail us! But then a dreaded thought enters our minds…
…we have to plan more meals.
So we return to that dark and scary place of mental anguish, trying hard to remember more meals and wondering how in the hell we will survive this terrible thing called Meal Planning.
But then Facebook comes in like a shining beacon of hope. We’ll scroll through our news feeds trying to deal with the paralysis of not being able to remember anything about food, then suddenly see a video for something that looks amazing. We’ll shove it in the other person’s face, they’ll agree and boom! We’ve got another meal to add to the menu!
Here’s the thing with those videos, though. I don’t know about y’all, but I watch some of them and just feel like such an uncultured loser.
Let me walk you through the recipe video experience. I’ll see a recipe that looks really awesome, but it has a name that doesn’t sound familiar. I’ll read through the ingredients. It has a lot of stuff that I like. Cheese. More cheese. Sauce. Pasta. Meat. And then you garnish it with even more cheese. I see a list like that and think it should be called something like “Triple Cheese Carbaholics Meaty Goodness.” But no. It’s got some fancy name like Linguine A La French Word That I Cannot Pronounce. At least I think it’s French. I assume fancy meals are French for some reason.
But then I think, “sure, I can overlook the title. Let’s do this thing!” And I start watching the how-to video. And it is a work of art. Each ingredient is perfectly measured out in some cutesy bowl that was probably purchased at an art auction for more money than my house costs. Okay, they’re not really that fancy. They’re probably reasonably priced. My point is…who the hell puts each ingredient in a fancy ass bowl before dumping it in the pot? Does no one just reach in the plastic bag of cheese and scoop it out? Just me? Okay. Moving on…
And then there’s always the instruction to plate it. Not put it on a plate. Plate. We’ve turned our dishware into a verb. Apparently, “plate” means “serve it up in a way that makes it look so artsy and sophisticated that people will be filled with fear and shame at the thought of eating it.” Our omniscient recipe video making guru ALWAYS has a crap ton of gorgeous plates. The kinds of plates that you didn’t think you were allowed to eat off of because they typically reside in a display cabinet. The kinds of plates that cost more than my college education. They are beautiful and stunning, and they make the food look good. Too good. And too inedible, because the final step is…
You must never forget the garnish. Sprinkle some of this stuff on top, and you’re all set. But do it SLOWLY. That is the proper, fancy way. I swear they started filming in slow motion when they got to the garnish step, because it always seems to take forever.
Despite being filled with feelings of domestic inadequacy, I still think, “okay, I can pull this off. I don’t have fancy plates or slo-mo garnish, but I could manage a low-class version of this dish. I just need the instructions.” But here’s the final way that they get you, my friends. They can never give you actual instructions. At least not without burying the recipe under a few dozen links and paragraphs of commentary on how amazing the dish is (“a tantalizing feast for the senses right in the comfort of your own home”) and testimonials (“my husband is the most uncultured swine on the planet, but even HE will eat Linguine A La French Word”). So until you can dig through all this nonsense, you may have to rely on the recipe video, which moves way too fast. The garnish step is the only part where I can keep up.
All in all, I’m still glad for the endless onslaught of recipe videos. We’ve found some new favorites, and it certainly is a lot more fun scrolling through Facebook for recipes than suffering through Endless Menu Torment. So keep ‘em coming, Great Omniscient Recipe Video Guru. I need more meal ideas. Preferably ones that involve bread.