Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Home Cooking Videos

I've decided to try to make a home-video of one of the recipes I often make, Brown Sugar Cookies. If you want to skip the caveats, go to the bottom of this post to view the videos.

Why a video? Because I personally really enjoy and learn a lot from being able to view and view again cooking videos on websites such as PBS Julia Child Lessons with Master Chefs or the NY Times Minimalist (click on Style / Dining & Wine in the left-hand Channels column).

And I figure we amateur cooks publishing blogs can also contribute with our home-made videos. True, the production quality of what I am about to show you is abysmal. I know nothing about making movies. I hope to improve, as I just found these tips, though the little I've read already intimidates me. But most of all, I hope that the homey quality of the video will help to reassure home-bakers that they too can obtain good results.

I would be very interested in your opinions or suggestions. Is it worth making home cooking videos? Even if I've minimized fuss as much as possible (only filming one work area, with a camera on a tripod, using the original audio rather than doing voice overs, using free editing software such as Windows Movie Maker...), it still takes a certain amount of time to produce a clip. Does this kind of film give more information than detailed, step-by-step photos?

Have a look here and let me know. Oh and also, if you know of good cooking video web sites, I'm always eager to discover more videos.

Video: Brown Sugar Cookies I - Making the Dough (4:06)
Nothing revolutionary shown here: just me and my hand-held mixer mixing the ingredients together.

Video: Brown Sugar Cookies II - Rolling out the dough for cut-out cookies (3:08)
Here I show how to roll dough between sheets of parchment paper, before it's chilled. This lets you roll the dough very thin.

Video: Brown Sugar Cookies III - Cutting out and baking the cookies (2:11)
Once the rolled-out dough has been chilled, it's very easy to make crisp shapes. (You'll notice my kids and pregnant belly were not far on this video... this is real-world baking, no prep chefs or fancy kitchens or studio equipment here!)


Anonymous said...

Videos, cool, what a breakthrough!

Anonymous said...

Wow I like the NYT Minimalist videos. Just watched the Shrimp and Eggs. I could do that!

I think your videos are quite interesting. They make it seem doable and give extra information (like the kind of mixer you use), which is useful for ignorami like me.

Claudia said...

Great videos! I'm looking forward to seeing more instructive videos from your kitchen! And oh, thought you were swiss ;-)

Astrid said...

Anonymous - Thanks!

Kai - Yes, I've tried a recipe or two from the Minimalist videos series (squid with pepper and pork with carrots and wine). Both were good, and I'm interested in the eggs with shrimp recipe too. But not everyone likes his recipes, I just recently was on a blog by someone who is not a fan. Have to find the link again.

Claudia - Thanks! No, I'm not Swiss, though I was born in Geneva. But I was raised in France by an American father and a German mother.

Anonymous said...

I made the Shrimp (correct link this time?). Not bad. Pictures.

Not as good as I hoped though. I blame my lousy electric stove. Also I stupidly put too much salt at the last minute.

It's certainly a quick dish though!

As for the cookies, I'd like to try them some time (in my own fly-by-night style, of course...).

Anonymous said...

Dear Cerise, this is great! I really like to be able to SEE how things are done, helps me a lot. Though I'm frustrated not to ever SEE your lovely smile. Just hands and big ring. (And no apron?) Keep it up, I also like the cute background voices of little children.

Astrid said...

Kai - I'll have to try the shrimp. But maybe the minimalist approach is a little too minimalist?

M - Hello Mom! Thanks for the comment! I'm not hiding from the camera, it's just I can't do fancy camera moves while cooking at the same time. It's hard enough to talk semi-intelligently while you cook.

Anonymous said...

I love the videos, thank you very much! It seems a good idea, to roll out the dough before you chill it. I will certainly try it. - And I love the children's voices too. Real life, as you said. - Vuursteentje

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the video. If it is true that one picture is worth a thousand words, well, one video is worth... I will try the cookie recipe. It looks so delish.