Teach Dave to Cook is a new video miniseries from Washington Post Video and Voraciously, featuring Mary Beth Albright, The Post’s host and editor of Food Video, and her friend Dave Jorgenson (who also happens to work at The Post as a video producer, editor and writer for “The Department of Satire”). Dave wants to learn how to cook, but he doesn’t know where to start. Mary Beth is here to help, with handy tips, sage advice and just the jolt of confidence Dave needs.

Mary Beth: In this episode, Dave compares online recipe comments to fanfiction. I love this, thinking of recipes as something that can just be enjoyed as-is, or as a jumping-off point for your imagination. It’s my favorite line from the whole series, except that it made me start reading Harry Potter fanfiction, and boy does that get explicit.

Often if I’m going to someone’s house, they ask me to bring dessert, and this mousse is a great one. Seeing it during dinner gets people excited for the entire meal; for me, dessert has to have an anticipation factor.

The recipe we use is from 2007 (find it here), which is a reminder that recipes don’t have to be in the latest issue of a magazine to be good.

Dave: I’ve always found fanfiction to be one of the purest, most earnest sections of the Internet. People discussing recipe ideas online was an easy comparison for me to make. It’s often just as much about exchanging information as it is being part of a community.

Conversation over dinner is a lot like fan fiction, too. You might still be telling the same story from 2009 because people love to hear it. Maybe later, someone will retell the story a little differently. Similarly, someone might notice if I use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate in a recipe. But hey, I tried. And maybe it tastes better now.

In the end, eating together is about sharing an experience. Or chugging egg yolks (just watch the episode).

D: Here’s what else I learned in this episode:

  • Chocolate chips don’t melt as well because they have “stabilizers,” whatever those are.
  • You can separate an egg with your hands. It’s efficient and way more fun.
  • Black & Decker makes blenders.
  • Cooking while drinking is generally pretty great.

Watch the full series: Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5

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