By Stephanie Monohan
Millennials don’t just see cooking as a means to a necessary end – it’s a creative pursuit, a de-stressing tool and a social bonding experience. Aimed at a generation who grew up idolizing celebrity chefs, MTV’s new reality series House of Food (who’s second episode airs tonight) sends a group of aspiring young chefs to culinary school, where they compete to win an apprenticeship opportunity at a Los Angeles restaurant. MTV Insights has covered a bit on baking and maker culture before , but continue to hear more interesting things from our community of food-loving Millennials.
1. It’s Not Your Parents’ Home-Ec Class
Our high school panelists say they’re no strangers to cooking and baking, and that after-school cooking clubs are becoming more and more popular as students desire to learn such skills without the pressure of a final grade. Some examples include the Kebab Club at Glendale High School in CA and the Washoku Club (Japaense cuisine) at the Iolani School in Hawaii. Haley, a high school student from Texas told us about her school’s baking club (http://wildcattales.com/student-life/2013/12/18/baking-club-whats-in-the-oven/), where students hang out and learn new recipes in a fun, yet organized environment. The ND Grillers (https://www.facebook.com/groups/224610761024896/), a barbeque club at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, CA, claims that club members will “learn skills that should serve them throughout their adult lives” in addition to socially serving the school community in the present. Not to mention, the club’s logo makes grilling look really, really cool.
2. Cooking Parties Are the New Slumber Parties
In the past few years, we’ve seen Millennials organizing large chunks of their social lives around going out to eat and becoming knowledgeable about food culture. The younger Millennials we talk to still love to bond with their friends over food, but they’re more interested in cooking together, often to save money instead of finding the hottest new restaurant. A 20-year-old college student, Caroline, told us, “Over the past few months, some friends and I have had “lady pre-games” on Friday nights where we cook dinner together and try out new recipes and teach ourselves what ‘simmering’ means.” While they’re certainly excited to learn new recipes and eat healthy on a budget, cooking together serves mainly as another way for kids to hang out.
3. Just Turn On the Oven and Chill Out
Lastly, we keep hearing about how younger Millennials use cooking and baking as a soothing tool to unwind when the pressures of work and school get too stressful. One 20-year-old pre-med student, Chloe, told us that during finals week she would bake “crazy things, like when you put an Oreo inside another cookie inside of a brownie. Because when I really didn’t want to study, I thought that if I bake for five hours then I can’t read my biology textbook.” And, occasionally, they may use it to cheer up a friend. Ryan from Missouri, who loves to bake, says, “If someone is having a bad day, some cookies or cake might magically show up on their doorstep.”