Videos from sites like Buzzfeed's "Tasty" and "Tastemade" have taken the internet by storm, replacing now-extinct home ec classes. (Illustration by Sofie Moustahfid, University of Maryland)

How ‘Tasty’ Videos Became the Home Ec Classes of Today

They’ve done what everyone thought was impossible: teach millennials to cook (and not avocado toast).

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They’ve done what everyone thought was impossible: teach millennials to cook (and not avocado toast).

When the average millennial hears the term “home economics,” they might look confused — we do have a bad reputation for not knowing how to cook, after all. But although home economics classes in school are no longer alive and well, there is still hope for a generation who’s best known for their consumption of instant ramen: the internet.

Instagram, specifically, has become the go-to medium for millions of hungry media users in search of simple recipes. Indeed, anyone with access to the internet can no longer blame a lack of instructions for botching a delicious meal.

“Home economics,” the term and the concept, was coined in the early 20th century, but it wasn’t until the Vocational Education Act of 1963 that the government provided financial incentive to schools to host the program. While the language of the act touted “job readiness” as the program’s objective, in reality, its true intent was to pigeonhole women into staying at home and cooking for their families.

In the ‘60s and ‘70s, second-generation feminists began decrying the program as a patriarchal tool. Thought legislation like the Equal Rights Amendment, women across the country sought to promote equality between the sexes, something home ec classes were at odds with. From then on, the popularity of the classes have waned, and the modern curriculum now takes a technological bent, using social media as its medium.

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Steak nachos ✨i can hear my stomach growling 🤤

A post shared by Tasty (@buzzfeedtasty) on

Though accounts like Tasty likely had no intent of replacing home ec classes, their producers understood that a market opening existed and would be lucrative to fill. Given that young people no longer were exposed to any formal culinary training, the BuzzFeed team behind the floating-hands videos seized the opportunity to reinvent the concept of teaching young people how to cook.

The easy, accessible page has hundreds of recipes that take the form of short instructional videos, ranging from delicious dinners to delectable desserts. What makes Tasty so addicting is its accuracy. Each recipe is explained through an overhead video of hands physically making the recipe. Not only do they show the ingredients needed, but the viewer watches as they measure and prepare each component.

Another fantastic element of Tasty is its accommodation of dietary needs. They have recipes for vegans and vegetarians, some of which will even the most meat-loving carnivore’s mouth water. The site also offers gluten-free dishes, as well as meal prep plans for a number of other diet-based restrictions.

Tasty is great, but the recipes tend to lean toward fatty foods, the kind made with cream cheese and deep-frying. If you’re looking to eat a little healthier, a good Instagram account to follow is @fithealthyrecipes.

One misconception about healthy food pages is the perception that they’re promoting a diet. However, most health-conscious pages, including @fithealthyrecipes and others like @healthyish, aren’t pushing any kind of lifestyle change, just providing you with vegetable-centric, calorie-conscious options for when you feel like eating more mindfully.

I also highly recommend following @crockpot if you are someone who doesn’t have time to cook every night, but doesn’t want to settle for of mac n’ cheese. My roommate and I use our crockpot almost once a week, taking turns with different recipes.

Plus, the timed cooker is definitely for more than just for dinner. On their Instagram page, they offer sections like Sweets, Breakfast, Dinner, Soups and Holiday. While some of their recipes (especially if you are cooking meat) can take a long time to cook, using a crockpot really highlights the flavors and can yield enough food for an army. Crockpots are also fantastic for making big batches of drinks, like cider or fun punches for parties.

As a college student, it can be hard to cook something different every night, let alone cook every night at all. The internet, specifically Instagram, has helped me branch out to try foods and recipes I’d never know, and you can use it the exact same way.

There are so many fun recipe and food accounts on Instagram that have amazing recipes sure to fit your lifestyle and palette, so have fun exploring and even more fun eating.

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