These last few weeks I’ve been asking myself on a daily basis, “WHY am I doing this again?” My answers aren’t necessarily great, but I am constantly reminding myself that I’m doing this because I love it. I’m blessed to be working towards my MFA and doing a thesis project that combines two of my greatest loves, food and graphic design. I’m doing this because I’m lucky. I’m doing this because I love to cook and I want to share that passion with people who don’t have that yet. I believe that everyone can cook and that people get more out of cooking than just a meal.
“A lot of people look at a recipe like a prescription and there’s only one way to do it. I think of a recipe as an open letter. And when you get that letter, it’s your choice in how to respond. How you respond is partly with your experience, not just by following the steps.” —Sarah Maine, Co-Founder, RecipeRelay
The Social Kitchen: How Social Networks & the Internet Have Hacked The Home Cooking Experience
Moderated by Mike Lee, Founder, Studiofeast
The kitchen has always been a hub of social activity in the home. For generations, cooking techniques and recipes have been passed on through real life interactions within the four, physical walls of a residential kitchen. Over the past decade, social networks & the internet have broken these walls down and home cooks are now exposed to an infinitely larger data set of ideas and inspiration to empower their cooking pursuits in the home. Hear from our panelists how this onslaught of data has benefited the home cook, changed the public discourse on cooking and foodie-ism, and created challenges in filtering and vetting all of this information.
I found this video while I was researching this week and it was inspiring. People sitting around, talking about cooking and the development of technology today. There are a few topics that jumped out to me. One was the integration of food and technology, people are bombarded by the chaos and multitude of recipes out there. For a beginning cook, having so many options can be blinding and scary. Which one is the right one? Another was that home-cooks often come up with the best recipes! Who would have thought, that home-cooks could compete with restaurant quality recipes??? I did, but that’s besides the point. Granted, home-cooked meals are generally in an entirely different category than restaurant meals, but they are enjoyed just the same.
One thing that I keep coming back to is the idea of community with cooking. In my survey lots of people mentioned the social side of cooking as both a reason to cook as well as a reason not to cook (for fear of complete and utter failure with an expectant audience). Either way, community is a HUGE part of cooking and eating. Every culture and community in the world shares meal, and sharing a meal is an intimate experience. People who have recently migrated to a big city often search for community first thing! People need to feel connected, it’s the way that we’re made. We want to surround ourself with people like us, with similar interests and similar passions. We want to find a community that will let us be ourselves, people to laugh and share with, people to cry and complain to. It’s all a part of human nature. So why am I ignoring it?
What I’ve come to realize this last week is that I need to introduce the idea of a cooking community into my thesis. It’s been in the back of my mind for a few months, but I didn’t know what a “cooking community” looked like, or what it really meant. Now, I know, or at least I have the glimpse of a hopeful future for a cooking community. I have NO idea how to get it started, where to start, how to get it off the ground, if I can support it, how to support it financially, or who would even come and be part of the community, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right?
…so that’s where I am. I want to create a space where non-cooks can come (with experienced cooks too) and make mistakes and to fail miserably in the kitchen. Because this space would be light, fun, and people will be able to laugh at the mistake, learn from it, try again and move on.
How is this design? Well…I’m still figuring that out, but I see lots of potential for it in terms of design. Not only is it a branding project, but there’s environmental graphics (if I had an actual cooking space to work with), information graphics, teaching aides (including printed materials, cards, mini-books, recipe cards, notebooks, aprons, etc.), a book to compile the teaching material (both printed and interactive perhaps), and a website to tell when the events are happening, who’s coming, what’s going on, etc. There would be a blog to support it and post pictures of the events and a place for people to connect again after the event. And as for as app…I’m not so sure I need one anymore. Although I love the idea, it was the lowest ranked method of desired learning techniques. I wonder if it’s because people don’t use apps or if they don’t have the technology to support it. OR, I can understand apps as a way to continue developing, but less on the teaching side. Apps are great for entertainment and assistance, but not necessarily the hands-on instruction that people are craving.