Welcome to my J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session, a weekly column where I answer your basic electrical questions. If you’re a newbie who’s never plugged in a shore power cord (or ask – what’s a shore power cord?), or wonder why your daughter’s hair dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker, this column is for you. Send your questions to Mike Sokol at mike (at) noshockzone.org with the subject line – JAM. Today Mike tells us how to send virtual Christmas (or other special occasion) recipes, and greetings, to loved ones far away.
As many of you know, I’m working on a series of videos and articles for this spring showing you how to make great meals from solar power while boondocking.
The only problem is that Judy’s son-in-law is in the service, so her daughter and young grandkids are stationed 1,800 miles away.
Now, making baked mac and cheese, freezing it, packing it in dry ice in a styrofoam container, and overnight shipping it across the country is a daunting (and expensive) task. And with the current shipping delays it might take weeks or months to arrive. Ugh! There must be a better (and faster) way.
So I put 2 + 2 together and came up with a plan I want to share with you. How about making your favorite holiday (or other special) meal and sharing it with your family virtually? That’s right, I’m suggesting that you video record making your family-favorite meal or treat on your smartphone, and send it to your family who can’t be home for a special occasion.
Handwritten recipes are gold
So begin your family baking or cooking class by reading the recipe on camera. And it’s also a good idea to transcribe these recipes and notes as a text document – since future generations, sorry to say, may not be able to read cursive. Yes, this is a gift that lives on for future generations, so plan accordingly.
Do your Mise en place (MEEZ ahn plahs)
This is just a fancy French phrase that means get all your ingredients prepped, measured, and placed in order. You should get all the prep work done off camera. Nobody needs to watch you peel potatoes or dig around in the pantry looking for flour.
So do your pre-production setup prior to hitting “record” on your video phone app. Once you have everything in place, take a moment to describe all the ingredients for your famous Snickerdoodle Cookies (or whatever).
Tell stories while you’re cooking or baking
While you’re putting it all together, go ahead and tell a few family stories if you like. Perhaps there was the time your dog stole the marshmallows. Or when you forgot to turn on the oven so the turkey wasn’t cooked in time. Or the first time your grandmother made sugar cookies in her farm oven. You’re baking memories into the cookies, so don’t be afraid to add in anything your family will find touching, amusing or fun.
Only basic editing required
Just about every laptop or smartphone nowadays includes a free video editing program that will allow you to put a basic title up such as “Aunt Judy’s Sandy Cookies – Christmas 2021”. Most of you will have a free video production studio at your fingertips nowadays.
Share those electrons
There are a lot of ways to save your production to the “cloud.” Nearly every data service includes some sort of online file storage that allows you to share your videos by emailing only a link to them. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, ask any 10-year-old child how to do it. Video production and sharing is really that simple nowadays.
I’m no Julia Child…
And if you want to really make a splash, do what my son the trained baker does, and order any specialty items to be shipped to them in advance of sending them your video class. Yes, some of my wife’s best holiday recipes include uncommon ingredients like Anchovy Paste or Vietnamese Cinnamon. Yes, they really do!
That’s a (tasty) wrap!
OK, everyone. Remember that making food for your family is one of the best ways to show them you love them. So adding a virtual cooking show for any special occasion (such as a birthday, Easter, or other important event) is a great way to spread the love.
Let’s play safe out there….
Send your questions to me at my new RVelectricity forum here.
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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