This story was originally published on May 19, 2016.
I cannot stop watching Cooking with Kylie. There are only three episodes out, but I've watched each one several times. I watched them on my own; I've eagerly shoved the show in front of friends. I find myself talking about it constantly. And it's not because the food looks great, or Kylie Jenner is a particularly engaging host. It's because when you watch Cooking with Kylie, you enter an uncanny valley of cooking shows.
Everything is there: the immaculate kitchen, the ingredients, the person telling you what to do with them. But something is...off. It's like we did our best to explain cooking shows to the aliens, and this is what they've created. In the weird world of Cooking with Kylie, ingredients are mysteriously added twice. Or they aren't used in the amounts specified, and new ones are sometimes brought up at random. In one video, a mostly silent man stands in the background, disappearing and reappearing from shot to shot without explanation. We are so used to getting our cooking instructions from experts that it's deliciously unsettling to get them from someone who not only seems uncomfortable, but totally unqualified to be giving them.
It only took a little while for my morbid fascination to gel into a desire to actually make the food. Now, I was re-watching the episodes over and over again because I actually had to parse out the exact instructions and create workable recipes from them. Kylie's recipes don't live anywhere in printable form, which takes me back to the pre-internet age of cooking shows. I felt a kinship with the women who had to dutifully take down recipes by hand from shows like The French Chef. Now, some 50 years later, I'm doing the same, but not for Julia Child's coq au vin. It's because I want to make a reality-star-slash-lip-kit-mogul's beef sliders.
Finally, with the ingredients and tasting team assembled, I was ready to stop watching Cooking with Kylie and actually cook with Kylie. First up? Candied yams.