Through whatever machinations of fate and luck, sometimes I manage to hop onto a big thing before it becomes big. While sometimes that thing is a little more niche (like a mysterious little dating sim for mobile devices), making it that much more surprising when it does become huge, this time it felt inevitable that this YouTube channel would rise up in the ratings and take the internet cooking world by storm. If you’ve checked out the front page of YouTube at any point in the last year and glanced at the trending videos, then I’m sure you’ve seen a link to the show Binging With Babish. If you’ve avoided them because trending videos are typically trash and not indicative of what’s actually good on YouTube, then I’m here to tell you that you need to watch at least one episode immediately. I’ll even let you pick.
It seems that once a year I reaffirm my love for cooking-inspired media on this blog, and I couldn’t be more pleased with this year’s choice. Binging With Babish is a beautifully produced show that looks at intriguing dishes from movies and television and under the keen eye of the chef behind the counter and camera, Andrew Rea, the dish is reproduced as closely as possible in the realm of real-life physics and flavors. Ever wanted to learn how to make that immaculate ratatouille from Disney’s Ratatouille? Now you can!
It may sound strange to say, but one of the aspects of this channel that keeps me coming back for more is the impossibility behind some of these recipes. It’s the same kind of interest that goes into watching shows like Man v. Food: I’m never going to have a desire in my life to eat a loaded twelve egg omelette, but there’s something captivating about watching someone try. In the same vein, I’m never going to spend half a day stewing chicken feet, short ribs, chicken wings, konbu, and the fixins to make a delicious ramen broth (I love you, Tampopo, but no), but I’m sure going to indulge in watching the process of someone that does do that. What’s more, Rea is committed to giving his audience something they can actually eat and enjoy at the end of everything. If his first go-through of the dish–the go-through where he’s as close to canon as possible–just tastes nasty, he provides another take on it, making the dish palatable, if not more manageable to make in general.
While this web crush may not outwardly connect to our typical social justice leanings, I personally think it’s important to build up a big ol’ stash of good content to watch on those high-anxiety, low-functioning days. Rea’s voice is one of the most soothing things I’ve heard on YouTube, and for me watching the cooking process is extremely relaxing. You can definitely catch me re-watching these episodes when I’m having a hard time.
If you’re one of those amazing people who are inspired to follow in Rea’s footsteps and want to cook these media-inspired dishes, have heart! On his website Rea compiled his recipes in written form for ease of use. (Although Rick and Morty’s Szechuan Sauce from its infamous Season 3 premiere isn’t available for obvious reasons.) Otherwise, make sure to check out his YouTube channel here! Or keep up to date on all the Babish goodness through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
As for a video that I particularly like? Well, even though Game of Thrones and I have had a bit of a falling out, Rea’s episode on the verse’s foods is fascinating and beautiful–I’ve never wanted to eat a meat pie so badly in my life!