Every parent knows that attempting to keep kids entertained during social distancing has been no easy task. And while everyone has certainly had to get a little bit creative, one family has turned their time during quarantine into the cutest YouTube series you’ll ever see.
Paul Raila, a freelance cinematographer and filmmaker, said he and his wife Lanie were trying to think of ways to keep their daughters, Bean, 4, and Juju, 2, busy while spending more time at home. They’d showed interest in helping out in the kitchen and so the idea for Quarantine Cooking with Bean and Juju was born!
You really need to watch the series for yourself to get the full experience, but it’s basically part cooking show and part comedy show with our expert hosts Bean and Juju taking us along the journey of making different dishes. It’s also an exercise in outlining the mishaps that can happen when you’re cooking with kids and all of it is pure gold. Paul, who splices in cooking “steps” throughout the show (for example: Crack eggs. Add Shells to Bowl) said that while they never intended to make it a series, after filming their first episode (Peanut Butter and Jelly), it was clear they had something great.
“Making a recipe video seemed like a fun activity that would consume half a day,” he said: “I had a vague idea of inserting jokes into the edit that might work, but beyond that I thought if we could get one decent 60-second video out of this then it was time well spent. After editing the first one it was clear that we were onto something and the formula was simple; let the girls go nuts and then worry about making something cohesive during the edit.”
Since then they’ve made everything from ravioli to pizza to Rice Krispie Treats. All the “shows” are around a minute and a half so you’ll wind up binging all of them pretty quickly. There are no shortage of funny moments (when the girls drop eggshells into the pancake batter in the episode above is my personal favorite) but that doesn’t mean filming an Internet show with kids is easy.
“This will sound bad, but when Juju slipped in episode number 2 (which is embedded above), I knew it was comedy gold,” Paul said: “Aside from a few moments like that, shooting these is actually quite stressful. Majority of the time my wife and I are trying to prevent our two year old from eating raw egg and the four year old from overdosing on sugar.”
And even though the kids have never made anything their parents are willing to eat (to be clear, Bean and Juju themselves have eaten plenty of it!), they have been getting progressively better at cooking, according to their dad, and are pretty proud of what they’ve created.
“Watching the episodes after they’re edited has been the best part. Bean has taken such pride in ‘my cooking show,’ she just lights up whenever we talk about it or watch the episodes. The girls are endlessly entertained watching themselves and each other on TV, it’s really exceeded any expectations that I had when we started,” he continued:
The downside to this is that now both girls think they’re kitchen experts and trying to get an edible meal made without their counterproductive demands is near impossible. For example, Bean does not eat nachos unless they are uncooked and contain chocolate.
Basically, consider this series your new dose of happiness. Even if Bean and Juju don’t exactly teach you any new advanced cooking techniques, these videos will certainly put a smile on your face.
“The videos have given us another way to stay connected to our loved ones during these crazy times when so many of us are feeling isolated,” Paul said. “So many friends and family have reached out to us, in a strange way the videos have kept us connected to the outside world. I’ve also gotten a few emails and messages from strangers about how these videos are adding some much needed humor to their lives and they seem genuinely grateful.”
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