Digital Rhetoric Can Be Delicious

Cooking videos are prevalent on the internet, and they always grab my attention whether I’m on Facebook, Youtube, or a blog. Basically, this piece of digital rhetoric walks the viewer though how to make something in the kitchen. The way I think of it, these cooking channels are like modern day digital cookbooks, and they are incredibly compelling.

For one, just watching this banana bread being made makes me crave banana bread. I find this happens whenever I watch any type of cooking video, no matter the dish. Second of all the fact that I can watch this video in  three minutes, makes the viewer believe that the entire process is easy and fast. The chef walks the viewer through all the various steps, talking out the process as he goes. Sometimes, I find that it can be hard to follow all of the directions given in written instruction when you are attempting to cook something. Some directions can be lost in translation, and I have more than once found myself unsure of what Martha Stewart means by “ideal spreading texture.”

In using visual cues, the audience can actually see for example, what the consistency of the banana bread mix should actually be. I personally learn best through demonstration, so these cooking videos are a really good way for me to learn how to cook. Seeing someone’s technique helps me improve my own. Especially with cooking, I think the visual component really holds the audience’s attention and helps them learn.

It’s interesting to note that for this particular channel, SortedFood, they link their website where you can find all of the exact measurements used in the video. Why not just put the exact measurements in the video? One might argue that having too many details might bog down the video and take away from it’s entertainment factor. After all, some people view these videos as pure entertainment, rather than for pragmatic instructional purposes. Having the measurements in an external place also draws more readership to the SortedFood website, which benefits SortedFood.

Overall, I think these videos are not only practical and informative but also fun to watch, and that’s what makes them such  successful pieces of digital rhetoric.


Lauren Diamond

Lauren Diamond is a Junior at the University of Michigan and a Political Science Major.

3 thoughts to “Digital Rhetoric Can Be Delicious”

  1. Lauren,
    I feel like the cooking videos you analyze encompasses the large genre of “how to” videos found all over the internet, a particular type of video I personally enjoy. The end result of these videos generally instill a desire to mimic what they accomplished, which is why I enjoy the videos: it generates a motivation to be creative. Unfortunately, I have also learned through these videos that the time is deceptive, just like you stated. Nevertheless, the rhetoric utilized in the videos generally contain alien terms, so it can be a little offsetting to the audience. Yet, one could also argue that it adds to the video’s informative nature. The visual aids utilized in this digital rhetoric undoubtedly compliments the informative step-by-step process that can be so mundane to read in a cookbook, giving the reader an idea of what the delicacy should look like each step of the way. It is a very unique form of digital rhetoric, yet arguably one of the most effective in terms of delivery.

  2. Hey Lauren,
    Reading this is making me hungry! My mom makes the best banana bread and I’ve been trying to recreate it but somehow its’s never the same, maybe I’ll try this recipe. I get of a lot of ideas from this type of video too, they’re a great way to break out of the repetition of convenient meals like sandwiches, cereal and eggs. I even like watching ones of food I will never make, recently there are a ton of cookie decorating videos that I can only dream of.

  3. I try taking photos for instagram of my Dad cooking and they are always so ugly and gross looking, so food photography and videography is amazing to me. Like the effort that goes into visually documenting a food is almost counterintuitive, like its not even about eating that piece of food but conveying an idea (because lets be real, your omelet is cold after taking 15 photos while standing on a chair).

    I find it interesting that food videos are for entertainment. It seems so obvious that the purpose of a video about cooking something is instructional. I wonder if this is a phenomenon of our generation’s love for visuals and digital information. Like what does the viewer take away from this video if they aren’t cooking banana bread?

    Also, your analysis was great, especially in relation to being able to compare textures of your food and the video’s. I do think adding measurements would be great for people jotting down all the measurements before hand. I guess if you can practically cook with the video it makes sense for them to be included, but the speed of the video and the viewer’s reaction time may not be synonymous enough.

Leave a Reply