Cook with me!
November 17, 2020 12:45 PM   Subscribe

Thanks to (gestures around), plus some specific family and work circumstances, it looks like I'll be spending both Thanksgiving and Christmas alone this year. I am at peace with it. But I'll miss cooking with people and would like some advice for the best way to recreate that experience via livestream. Maybe this is an unworkable idea, who knows, let's brainstorm!

I get really twitchy during Zoom calls - it doesn't feel anything like actual human interaction to me, I have a hard time looking at peoples' faces during the best of times, and I want something to do with my hands. I've also been watching way too many of Delish's Budget Cooking videos and find myself missing cooking insane amounts of food in tiny kitchens with my friends. SO. What I'd really like to create is a livestream of myself as I cook large amounts of food, so friends and family could tune in and see what I'm up to, or even leave the stream running as they cook their own food. I'd also really like them to be able to call in and talk. I've played around with both Twitch and Instagram Live, along with the obvious Zoom/Duo/Google call counterparts and I'm pretty sure the perfect platform isn't out there. The aspects I'm looking for in a platform are as follows:

1. Allows calls/voice connection rather than text (so I don't have to read messages while cooking).
2. Doesn't require me to invite/admit people separately. If possible, I'd like to have one link I can put out in a post. But if it's a more open platform then I need to have the ability to kick anyone out, on the off chance that we get randoms who like to troll or expose themselves or whatnot (I've had some bad Zoom experiences with online classes.)
3. No time limit, or a time limit I can keep refreshing (For example Instagram Live limits you, but you can sign back on)
4. Fine if it requires a sign in/sign up (I can talk the relatives through it), but nothing that requires a fee.

I'm not flush by way of equipment (I have both a cell phone and a laptop which I've been using for social Zooms and I'll probably be using one of those, possibly even dragging my big monitor onto the kitchen island for peak social interaction), but can purchase some things if needed. I will probably invest in a bluetooth headphones/mic set if I can get the calls/voice part of my wishlist. The kitchen is definitely small enough to capture in a single shot. I'm up for moving in lamps from other parts of the house.

Can I do this? What am I not thinking about? I'm thinking Thanksgiving will be a crazy trial run with the next day to recover, then I might try setting up a more serious streamed supper club through Advent.
posted by theweasel to Technology (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think Zoom should meet all your requirements if you disable the waiting room option, right?

Otherwise, Houseparty might work -- anyone who you're "friends" with on the app can join your conversation at anytime, up to a maximum of 8 participants. No shareable link but all they have to do is launch the app and tap on your name.
posted by mekily at 1:09 PM on November 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

I've run online art events from my kitchen using Zoom.

Zoom announced that they're suspending the time limit on free accounts for thanksgiving. You can disable chat when you set up the meeting. You should probably create a "scheduled meeting" rather than using your personal room.

Visually, if you can buy or borrow even a cheap webcam, you could capture a second angle (control-N to switch). getting a higher angle would be particularly good.

sounds fun!
posted by Mngo at 1:51 PM on November 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Re-reading, if what you're after is more like a 1-way broadcast with "call in" participation, you could stream however, like on youtube, and set up an audio-only, join-by-phone zoom call for conversation. But I think it would be easier to just do a zoom meeting.
posted by Mngo at 1:54 PM on November 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

If it's more of a broadcast call in situation, you might get some inspiration from the classic YouTube series Let's Paint,Exercise,& Blend Drinks TV!
posted by Jungo at 3:18 PM on November 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Following because I’d like to do the same thing-would love to be able to have all of us just drop in and out of each other’s kitchen chaos and chat if we feel like it or jus soak in the atmosphere. I’ve been thinking of zoom but didn’t think of the waiting room issue-hmmm
posted by purenitrous at 4:34 PM on November 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Zoom is supposedly waiving the 40 minute limit for Thanksgiving.

But, better you should use Jitsi Meet, which meets all you criteria, is better from a privacy standpoint, and never had a limit in the first place.
posted by sourcequench at 9:03 PM on November 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

My mother and my child meet every week to bake together. I think they just use Facebook messenger video calls, but the basic process is they preselect a recipe to do together, prop up tablets in their cooking areas while baking, then later share photos and reviews of the finished recipe. Seems to work for them (and I appreciate the steady stream of baked goods). I realize this doesn't answer your technical questions, just a vote that this is generally workable.

Also, I personally share your hatred of zoom, but find that having something to do with my hands (knitting is my new standby) makes them a lot more tolerable.
posted by lgyre at 6:23 AM on November 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

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