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BYU student Chase Abel clicked play on a Buzzfeed Tasty cooking video and began to follow the instructions. He had just begun whipping thick cream cheese when he quickly had to pause the instruction video.
The video was giving him the next step of the recipe before he had finished the current one. When he was ready, he started the video again.
Abel added sugar, eggs and a substitution peppermint oil for mint extract. The kitchen filled with mint aroma as he finished the cheesecake portion of the mint chocolate chip cheesecake brownies.
Millennials are more likely to use technology when they cook, and BYU students follow the trend. Familiarity with technology is driving the way young adults cook because the answers to their questions, or an exciting recipe, are just a click away.
There are dozens of smartphone apps available across all platforms and rankings online also claim to know the best cooking apps to use. These cooking apps include cooking websites like The Daily Meal and technology sites like Digital Trends.
Various apps, both free and otherwise, contain features like recipe organization, step-by-step guides to cooking, pictures of the meal at each stage, so the cook can be certain they are on the right track, substitution options, easiness ratings and recipes by food group.
BYU students Skyler Southam and Drew Jensen, business and computer science, followed Big Oven, an app they chose from an online list claiming the 10 best cooking apps. The two chose to make crepes because the recipe seemed relatively easy.
Both of them had experience cooking on their LDS missions, which they said is different than cooking in college. Jensen said he often resorts to macaroni and cheese out of laziness.
Once the crepe recipe was chosen, it was easy to follow because it offered information on both instructions and ingredients, according to Southam.
Southam and Jensen both agreed they used the internet to find recipes for specific meals.
Biochemistry junior Becca Clark said she uses Pinterest consistently to find recipes and ideas. She said she will simplify Pinterest recipes by making the ingredients more applicable to her current student lifestyle.
Pre-med junior Elise Glazier said she followed a Pinterest recipe for both fried rice and chow mein.
“I was excited to see how it turned out because the meals were outside my normal repertoire,” she said. “I was surprised at how much the recipes made, but I thought they turned out pretty good.”
Glazier said she enjoys cooking but only finds time to try new recipes on Sunday afternoons when she does not have class or work to worry about.
Along with Pinterest, students can watch cooking videos. While blogs and apps may have videos showing various stages in the process, videos are meant to show what each stage should look like. Then, chefs won’t have to pull up written instructions.
Lauren Harker, said she loves to watch the popular Buzzfeed’s Tasty cooking videos that pop up on her Facebook feed. She said she attempted to follow one of the recipes, but it did not turn out as easy as she had thought it would.
“I felt like just watching the video didn’t give me enough,” Harker said. “I needed to be able to read step by step instructions to make it turn out better.”
Abel agreed the videos are a little fast-paced for inexperienced chefs.
“(Tasty) had a clean kitchen and had a lot of the ingredients already ready, so that was nice to watch,” Abel said. “But the only thing that was hard to follow, was the video was really fast.”
Abel said he had to pause the video often to keep up with the instructions. He also said the recipe was listed at the bottom of the page. In the future he would prepare his ingredients ahead of time, and only have to pause the video three or four times.
“(With the video), you can see what it’s supposed to look like as you add the ingredients in,” he said. “It makes it easier to follow. You can be sure you’re doing the right thing.”
While the final product did not look as perfect as the cover photo for the recipe, Abel said it turned out delicious.
With so many tech options to help with cooking, students can be overwhelmed with choices.
Candace Brock said she feels cooking apps are a waste of money, and she could not think of a feature that would make the cost worth it. She also said that she rarely cooks because of her busy lifestyle.
Because of her internships, work and athletics schedule, Brock often leaves home at 6 a.m. and returns around 11 p.m.
“I would never pay for a cooking app,” Brock said. “These days you can get anything you need for free on the internet.”
Apps are less likely to catch students’ attention because of their ability to find the same information for free without using up precious storage space. While some students prefer apps, the majority can be found using easier options.