“#’Binging With Babish’ Brings Big and Small-Screen Foods to Your Computer Screen – /Film”
(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Series: Binging With Babish
Where You Can Stream It: YouTube
The Pitch: YouTuber Babish (real name Andrew Rea) recreates dishes from movies and television to increasingly elaborate degrees.
Why It’s Essential Viewing: Who doesn’t love learning how to make your favorite fictional foods?
I love me some cooking videos, and I obviously watch a lot of videos about pop culture and movies. So it’s no surprise that the perfect intersection of those two interests, Binging With Babish, popped up on my recommended feed long ago.
I can’t even remember the first Binging With Babish video I watched. It was probably the Ratatouille video, where Babish, who based his YouTube name on The West Wing character Oliver Babish, recreated the Pixar movie’s signature ratatouille dish. Since then, Babish has been a regular feature on my YouTube page, and I would quickly watch recipes that interested me: the ram-don (AKA chapaguri) from Parasite, the clay-roasted thigh from Hannibal, buttered noodles from Community. Not that I would attempt to make them, but I was always amused by his dedication — and in the case of Parasite, overly elaborate methods — to recreate the dishes that looked so delectable in movies and TV.
Rea has always had a dry, funny side too, even tapping into internet humor with his video making Brock’s “jelly-filled donuts” from Pokémon — a jab at 4Kids’ hilariously bad attempt at masking the fact that these very Japanese characters were eating the very Japanese snack of onigiri, AKA rice balls. He falls back on that humor when he attempts to make more ethnic dishes that he’s not familiar with, which I appreciate (you really didn’t need to go that hard on the ram-don, Babish, it’s not that deep).
So I’ve been very happy to see how Rea’s Babish Culinary Universe has grown in the past few years. I have actually made a couple of his Basics With Babish — the video series in which Rea makes more traditional, easy-to-make recipes — dishes, and I was delighted to see that he gave a new video home to Sohla El-Waylly, whose departure from Bon Appétit was mired in drama over the company’s refusal to properly pay and give credit to its BIPOC creators.
Ultimately, Binging With Babish is warm, reliable comfort food. Rea hasn’t changed his format much since he started all those years ago in 2016 recreating burgers from Parks and Recreation and “the Moistmaker” from Friends, despite the explosion of Food YouTube and its various sub-genres. Mukbang videos, Korean home cafe videos, ASMR vlogs have become all the rage as of late, but Binging With Babish has ultimately remained mostly the same, even with its many spin-offs series and crossover guests. Like your mom’s signature recipe, it doesn’t need to change, and that’s great.
Now maybe I’ll finally get around to trying to make that sea salt ice cream from Kingdom Hearts.
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