Thanks, Gene. I’ll miss the times you ‘bear’ with me

By Alvin R. Cabral

Recently, I received some really horrible news, one that turned my world upside down, bringing me to the point of catatonia and even almost booking a flight back home to Manila so I could personally confirm if what I had long been dreading secretly had become a reality.

Continue reading Thanks, Gene. I’ll miss the times you ‘bear’ with me

I don’t pop BP pills anymore, it pays to join a gym

By Sunil Vaidya

Life begins at 60. Well, at least I can say that about myself, thanks to my daughter and the wife. The two ladies of the house decided on a surprise gift for my 60th birthday. I wasn’t enthused about the surprise but had no choice, so I signed on the dotted line the day I completed a full cycle of life, according to Chinese belief. Continue reading I don’t pop BP pills anymore, it pays to join a gym

I have lost 10kg, but I’m still waiting for the applause

By Deepthi Nair

I have been on a weight loss journey since April 2018. It all started when I had to pick a dress for a formal party that I had to go to and none of my old clothes were flattering my body type. I was at my wits’ end and close to tears. That kickstarted a fitness journey, which is still ongoing and I intend to keep at it, not withstanding the fact that this year’s edition of Dubai Fitness Challenge is over. Continue reading I have lost 10kg, but I’m still waiting for the applause

Magnificent Mary packs a punch to spark a revolution

By Allan Jacob

A bout of anger or sadness has gripped me. I cannot fathom what it is and why I am being shackled by these emotions. I’d like to get into a contest to find out. A punch up would settle it — I mean like watching a boxing bout featuring World Champion Mary Kom who recently won her sixth title, a record she shares with Cuban Felix Savon, a former champion in the men’s event. Continue reading Magnificent Mary packs a punch to spark a revolution

For starters, how about watching online food videos?

When Will Marston gets home from his job and he wants to unwind, it’s not highlights from last night’s game he turns to — it’s online food videos. “It’s kind of like a meditation or relaxation thing I do when I get off work,” says Marston, a 20-something from San Francisco.

He has a few favourite You-Tube channels he visits, including Binging with Babish, a series that re-creates dishes from movies and TV shows, and Tasty, videos produced by BuzzFeed that often feature sped-up hands mixing together ingredients. Brevity is key. If the video time stamp is more than six or eight minutes, Marston won’t hit play. “If it’s longer than that, it’s usually more talking than actual showing of the cooking instructions. So I’ll usually skip over those,” he says.

Marston is not unique in his habit of watching online food videos. When the Food Network launched its second TV channel in 2010, it was big personalities such as Emeril Lagasse and Ina Garten who attracted viewers to their 30-minute shows as much as their calorie-laden creations. But just as Netflix has disrupted TV programming, YouTube and Instagram have found success with these online amuse-bouches, drawing millions of viewers to watch recipes being made in five minutes or less.

While nearly half of all adults watch food videos on YouTube, Millennials are the drivers of online food content, watching 30 per cent more, on average, than other demographics, according to a 2014 Google study. And as a result, they are powering an unprecedented growth in online food channel subscriptions. Binging with Babish, for example, has more than 3.4 million subscribers; Tasty has more than 10 million.“(Food programming has) evolved over time,” says Potter Palmer, a lecturer in the gastronomy programme at Boston University. He says he used to spend four weeks talking about TV programming in his “Food and Visual Culture” class, but over the past decade, the number of students watching food prepared on TV has dropped. Now he spends only a week on the subject. “(In) this day and age, it’s all YouTube channels and Instagram feeds,” Professor Palmer says.

This shift is something that publishers are paying close attention to. One of those publishers is America’s Test Kitchen, an independent food media company that produces magazines, cookbooks, websites, and TV shows. While ATK claims the most-watched cooking show on public television, chief creative officer Jack Bishop says they see You-Tube as a gateway for viewers to discover more of their content that sits behind a paywall. “We like YouTube because it is unlike some of the other social media platforms, where 20 seconds is considered long. It allows us to tell a story,” says Bishop.

ATK also has noticed a totally different subscriber base through its YouTube channel, which has more than 511,000 subscribers. While a woman over 50 is its typical television viewer, 75 per cent of its You-Tube audience are men 18 to 34 years old, according to Bishop. “There probably are not a lot of 23-year-old guys sitting on the sofa watching public television on the weekend,” Bishop says.

One of ATK’s more popular YouTube series is Kitchen Smarts, two- to three-minute features on tips like how to crack and separate eggs perfectly, how to make cold brew coffee at home, and how to make a lattice pie crust. The YouTube channels are “somewhat of a different presentation, but it is the same in-depth cooking information designed to make you successful in the kitchen,” says Bishop.

The company has set ambitious goals for reaching even more online viewers.

“Video is increasingly important…. It is how more and more people want to be consuming content about food,” says Bishop. But print doesn’t show any signs of going away, according to Bishop – the ATK book division experienced its best year on record in 2017, he says.

Marston says he has yet to make any of the recipes he’s watched online, although he’s bookmarked several pages to come back to – at some point. “Where I get joy out of it is seeing good food being made and people enjoying it,” he says. 

The Christian Science Monitor News Service

When a classic bike connects generation

By Allan Jacob

What happens when nostalgia comes riding on a motorbike? I would succumb to the sheer emotion, the joy on wheels, the pleasure of the ride. So when a legendary bike named Jawa was relaunched last week in India, the occasion kick-started some feelings in me and off I went to share my excitement with those who experienced it, like I did in my boyhood. I didn’t have to go far as our sports editor in the newsroom cheerfully said he owned one during his stint as a rookie reporter during his salad days in Bombay, or Mumbai, in circa 1979.

Continue reading When a classic bike connects generation

Dastangoi keeps the art of oral storytelling alive

By Anamika Chatterjee

Who was it who said that a good story is one that holds a mirror to our collective conscience? That may provide an inroad into the world of dastangoi. An ancient storytelling form in Urdu, it has lately acquired a niche for its incisive takes on society and politics. Be it sedition or Partition, performers have taken on inconvenient truths of our time and made them more accessible to a wider audience.

Continue reading Dastangoi keeps the art of oral storytelling alive