The best food YouTube channels, blogs, and apps on the web


Hi, friends! Welcome to Installer No. 28, your guide to the best and Verge-iest stuff in the world. (If you’re new here, welcome to the Installerverse, so glad you found us, and also, you can read all the old editions at the Installer homepage.) 

This week, I’ve been reading about that wacky AI Willy Wonka event and what happened to the Apple Car, dying laughing at “Indiana Jones and the $3,500 Headset,” testing Twodos as a new tasks app for iOS, giving both Notion and Notion Calendar another shot, and trying to figure out how to import the adorable Microlino Lite into my driveway.

I also have for you the new Dune movie, a new smartwatch, a buzzy new tech book, and oh so many food-related YouTube channels. It’s food week here at Installer, so let’s get into it.

(As always, the best part of Installer is your ideas and tips. What are you reading, watching, playing, testing, knitting, or conjuring this week? Tell me everything: installer@theverge.com. And if you know someone else who might enjoy Installer, or you want to get it in your inbox a day early, subscribe here.)

The Drop

  • Dune: Part Two. The vibes around this movie are so good that I finally got around to watching Part One (which is awesome, despite the fact that hardly anything ever happens?). The buzz is that it’s bigger and better, and obviously I have to see it in theaters to get one of those horrifying popcorn buckets.
  • Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. This game will make you feel feelings. Stressful, intense, breath-holding feelings. But in a good way. It’s a huge open game with a ton to do, and while it doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, everyone seems to be finding something to love in here.
  • Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 4. Sennheiser should be a bigger name in headphones; it just consistently churns out great-sounding stuff. These new $300 buds are definitely high-end, but their audio quality can hang, and they have a bunch of features — like Auracast! — that make them pretty compelling.
  • The Tourist season 2. The first season of this show was a huge hit internationally but kind of under the radar in the US — though it’s having a moment now that it’s on Netflix. I loved it: it’s intense and surprising and beautifully made. If you haven’t watched yet, now’s the time to watch both seasons.
  • This Hardware Company May Be the Next Apple! I always like to describe Teenage Engineering as your favorite tech company’s favorite tech company. I don’t think they’re the next Apple, and this video from Varun Mayya does a good job of explaining why — Teenage Engineering is very much playing its own game. And winning.
  • The OnePlus Watch 2. OnePlus’ first smartwatch was… bad. But this one seems to be good! Early reviews say it has solid battery life and pretty good performance, more health and fitness stuff, and a much-improved design. It’s not cheap, but it looks like OnePlus is figuring this smartwatch stuff out.
  • The Recipe with Kenji and Deb. A new food thing! Perfect timing for this week. And I love the show so far: it’s about food, but it’s also about how two very smart people create recipes, which means it’s about how they think about food and how they work. It’s a pure process deep dive, and it’s great.
  • Google Docs markups. If you have an Android device, you can now highlight, draw, or otherwise mark up Google Docs right within the app. This is so much better than leaving a million comments or doing that weird thing where you change the font color and write your notes that way. I need an Android tablet.
  • Burn Book. The discourse around Kara Swisher’s book has been so funny — some people love it, some people hate it, and everybody’s talking about it, which is just precisely the way I suspect Kara wants it. Few people have seen as much of tech as she has; whatever this book is, I’m sure I’m gonna like it.
  • Superhuman Instant Reply. I’m on the record that I think the very best thing AI chatbots do is write emails. Superhuman took it one step further by marrying AI to Gmail-like smart replies, so now you can tap, like, “Sounds good,” and it’ll write out a whole email for you. Superhuman remains the most power user of power user email tools, and it’s still ludicrously expensive, but it’s pressing at AI email in some really fun ways.

Screen share

Reklama

Since it’s food week here at Installer, I asked a true expert to share their homescreen with us today: Stephanie Wu, the editor-in-chief of our sister publication Eater. Eater, among so many other things, is single-handedly responsible for helping me find all the good pizza in my new city and is the reason I’ve been thinking about ube donuts for like the last three years. Stephanie writes a terrific newsletter about Eater and food and news, and you should definitely subscribe.

Stephanie warned me in advance that her homescreen wasn’t just full of food apps. Which I realize now makes perfect sense: she’s also a mom, and a boss, and just a human, and one of the fun things about seeing people’s screens has been realizing that no matter what you do all day, we all do so many of the same things. But still… Stephanie, we need some food stuff. And she delivered.

Here’s Stephanie’s homescreen, plus some info on the apps she uses and why:

The phone: I have the Google Pixel 8 Pro and am a Pixel devotee.

The wallpaper: My homescreen is a photo of my two kids, who are almost three and almost one.

The apps: Google Messages, WhatsApp, WeChat, Baby Tracker, Nanit, Duolingo, Chrome, Gmail, Phone, Google Maps, Camera.

The most useful thing on my homescreen is my calendar widget, which is how I stay on top of everything. It’s color coded for meetings, focus blocks, exercise, and personal events.

WhatsApp is my go-to messaging app, and I’ve forced all my friends to move over our group chats, which has much improved my life as an Android user. Then I have my new-parent essentials: an app that keeps track of feeds and diaper changes and the baby monitor.

I started my NYT crossword puzzle and Duolingo streaks while I was on parental leave and haven’t been able to give those up. I also love Connections, as frustrating as it can be sometimes.

Off-screen, the food-related app I’ve been using the most is the NYC Smart Compost app. Having an orange bin around the corner is a game-changer.

I also asked Stephanie to share a few things she’s into right now. Here’s what she said:

Crowdsourced

Here’s what the Installer community is into this week. I want to know what you’re into right now as well! Email installer@theverge.com or message +1 203-570-8663 with your recommendations for anything and everything, and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every week. 

Last week, I asked you all to share your favorite food stuff on the internet. Your favorite apps, blogs, creators, recipes, and everything else from the best of the Food Web. And like you always do, you delivered!

I’ll get to a bunch of specific stuff, but first, let me try to consolidate the Greatest Hits from all of your responses. Here are the things that came up a bunch of times:

  • Paprika. This was not just the most recommended app but the most recommended thing by far in my inbox: a cross-platform app for meal planning, recipes, and grocery shopping. There are a lot of apps that do this, but Paprika is your overwhelming favorite.
  • Mela. The runner-up in the app category: Mela doesn’t do as much as Paprika, and it only works on Apple devices, but wow is it well designed and just delightful to use. 
  • Claire Saffitz. Everybody loves Claire Saffitz. I got recommendations for her Dessert Person cookbook and a whole slew of people saying how much they love her YouTube channel. I just rediscovered her breakfast sandwich video, and I know what I’m doing this weekend. 
  • Ethan Chlebowski. You all like his recipe site, his newsletter, and especially his YouTube channel. His approach is a little different from most: he makes a lot of videos about whether you really need expensive parmesan cheese and lots of deep dives into food science. His theory is that if you understand food, you’ll cook it better — and I dig it.
  • All the just-the-recipe services. One thing everyone wants is a way to turn complicated, ad-filled food websites into simple recipes. Paprika and Mela both do that well; folks also recommended Just the Recipe, CookBook, Cooked, and Pestle as ways to get the recipe without all the extra stuff. (I have a lot of feelings about what this does to food blogs and their businesses online… but that’s for another day.) 

Now, here are a bunch of other specific recommendations, because y’all sent in so much good stuff, it seems rude not to share:

“By far my favorite food content is from Mythical Kitchen on YouTube. Started as part of Rhett & Link’s Good Mythical Morning and has grown into an awesome channel with a great cast. They do everything from busting food myths to budget ingredient comparisons, historical fast food recreations, and more.” – Mack

NileRed is another YouTuber who is more chemist than chef, but that doesn’t stop him from doing weird stuff like turning a plastic glove into grape soda.” – Wally

“The best and most important food blog I’ve ever found is Budget Bytes. Beth, the founder of the website, puts together great low-cost recipes, broken down by ingredient price. It was a lifesaver in grad school and in the first couple years of postgrad, but even now when I’m not sure what to make for dinner, Budget Bytes is one of the first places I go to. And I make Beth’s baked oatmeal almost every week.” – Zoe

“I recommend checking out Cook Well for your food-related issue. Dead simple, no gimmicks. Best recipe site I’ve used in years.” – Matty

“I specifically want to recommend World of Mouth. They are trying to create a community for foodies. I tried it on my vacation to Vietnam recently, and it was surprisingly great. The selection may be a little sparse vs. other mediums, but quality over quantity.” – Nachiketa

“There are a bunch of really great cooking instruction shows free on YouTube. Personal favorites are “Bake It Up a Notch” by Erin Jeanne McDowell on Food52, “Cooking 101” with Sohla El-Waylly, and also — less educational but delightful — “Mystery Menu” and the gingerbread house series with her and her husband, Ham, are AMAZING and just great comfy TV.” – Kailey

“Gotta be the Sidekick app from the guys at Sorted Food on YouTube. The channel is a riot: a mix of professional chefs and ‘regular guys’ competing and learning about cooking together. The app not only has a ton of great recipes but helps you figure out what to make based on what you have and minimize food waste from cooking in the process. Awesome stuff.” – John

“I also use the New York Times Cooking website and BBC Good Food as major sources of recipes. It’s great to get recipes without a big story like a lot of cooking blogs do.” – Richard

“My nomination is for the Tabitha Brown YouTube channel. She is a Black woman who shares vegan recipes and restaurants and also a renowned actress with a children’s show that is also hosted on her channel — overall just a lovely person and personality, and her North Carolina-isms and slang ‘that’s your business!’ and reactions make for a heartwarming (and mouthwatering!) watch.” – S. Erin

“Since you mentioned ramen, I must mention Alex (aka FrenchGuyCooking) on YouTube. He’s done a ton of videos about ramen (I believe two series), and they’re fantastic. You can also see a lot of DIY on his channel as he builds or modifies his equipment.” – Tiago

Signing off

I realized this week, not for the first time, that I’m paying for three different music services. Spotify I pay for by itself; YouTube Music comes free with YouTube Premium, which is annoyingly expensive but is also the best money I spend every month because ads on YouTube are an unbearable scourge; and I get Amazon Music free with Amazon Prime.

This is so dumb! But I don’t know what to do. Spotify is… better than the others, right? But they all have the same stuff, so maybe I’m just flushing money. I need help! Tell me what you do. Help me decide what to do before I accidentally go throw more money at Apple Music or Tidal or something.

I don’t know. Maybe the right answer is just to hack an old iPod and go back to living the local music life. I do miss that click wheel.





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