The Future of the Cooking Show

Imagine it is 20 years from now. Assuming there is still an internet, what role will cooking shows play? How will they have changed? Will everyone be robots? Will they tell us how to cook our space-foods, because its the future and everything is all… spacey? Or will they consist of scraggly survivors describing the best way to cook a opossum on a car engine, because its the future and society and fallen into a Road Warrior-esque apocalypse? But when it comes right down to it, both scenarios are essentially the same: they both just tell us how to do what we should have been doing all along.

Granted, to some extent internet cooking shows try to inspire us to expand our horizons, to try new foods with new ingredients. But the reality is, people just want to learn how to cook foods they already know they like. They don’t want to spend time and money on something they might find revolting. So while tastes and preferences might change with time, the internet’s subjection to these tastes is eternal. As shows become more numerous, this subjection might become more pronounced, with shows becoming more and more pigeon-holed into a specific niche. We see this already when we look at older shows, like Julia Child who essentially introduced a new style of cooking to America, and newer shows, like Hand to Mouth which deals exclusively with cheap, easy to find ingredients and is marketed towards almost exclusively college students. Thus, in the future we might expect to see shows marketed towards smaller and smaller groups.

But this only deals with the “classic” cooking show, that is, one main host teaching a specific thing in a kitchen. These shows are really all about the food. Other shows, however, are much more about the hosts. This is definitely true for My Drunk Kitchen, where the host does very little cooking. Some of these shows are also merely spoofs on actual cooking shows, that is, shows that give clear directions on how to prepare food. My Drunk Kitchen also falls into this category, but How To Basic takes it to another level. How To Basic features a lot of videos that are presented similarly to cooking shows, like How To Make Fried Chicken. But his videos feature no dialogue or directions of any kind, and inevitably deteriorate to the point where he just smashes everything with his hands. It is worth noting that he has over 150 videos (most of which involve food), many of which have over a million views.

Could this be the future of cooking shows? I do not see how these types of videos could progress beyond How To Basic, as this show already cuts out everything essential to cooking shows. The genre cannot be spoofed any further without removing all semblance to the original shows. People will soon get bored of these types of shows, as they will quickly loose their edginess and originality. Even still, I would like to see more shows featuring people who are bad at cooking trying anyway, as in Hand to Mouth, My Daily Grace, and My Drunk Kitchen. I think the audience relates to these shows where people just cook with what they happen to have in their fridge, and don’t display any intimidating techniques.

Having been to the future, I can actually tell you what cooking shows will be like in 20 years. People will, if anything, be even lazier than they are now. They won’t want to do things like shop for exotic ingredients, finely chop vegetables, or cook. So, cooking shows will fill the role of letting us think we are able to take care of ourselves while not making us get out of bed. So, basically, exactly the same as now.

Well, Japan might be a little different: