One of the home cooks we spent time with was Jim, a young Vietnamese postgraduate student. His kitchen was compact and replete with food and utensils. He had been cooking at a more ‘skilled level’ since his early 20s when he started to look for new ways of cooking, finding new tips and becoming better at using the equipment he had in his kitchen. He noted how with competence came a desire to upgrade his utensils.
At the time of our interview, we noticed how his iPad was placed in a prominent location next to the chopping board, alongside food produce and in close proximity to the cooker. When he cooked he iPaded. He subscribed to a number of YouTube channels, like Gordon Ramsay and Food Wishes, which he routinely checked to find inspiration for his meals.
New research carried out by Dr Janice Denegri-Knott and Dr Rebecca Jenkins has been published as part of an edited collection of studies on meal practices. In their chapter they explore the relationship between cooks like Jim and digital devices and draw light of the coupling work home cooks are carrying out to incorporate the use of tablets and smartphones in everyday cooking.
In their chapter they discuss the intersection between digital devices and food consumption and resultant practices they configure. Drawing on insights gleaned from in depth interviews with 29 cooking enthusiasts living the South of England, they provide an overview of new configurations, placing emphasis on the ways in which various components of practice – knowledge, competence and commitment – are redistributed between our home cooks and their digital devices. More news on the book and how to access it can be found here.