When COVID-19 brought the country to a halt, millions lost their jobs. Max Miller was among this group after being furloughed from Walt Disney Studios. However, he used the time to create Tasting History, a YouTube cooking show that has quickly accrued more than 320,000 subscribers and hundreds of supporters on Patreon.
Speaking with PopCulture.com in an exclusive interview, Miller detailed creating Tasting History and coming up with the unique recipes for each episode. He explained that every dish he creates has a special story, which he provides while gathering ingredients and preparing the recipe. Miller explained that he loves history and uses Tasting History to provide a more tongue-in-cheek learning experience.
"Each episode, I pick a recipe from history and a topic that has to do with either the recipe, the food itself, or something vaguely connected," Miller told PopCulture. "[...] We make the recipe, I kind of show you how to make it at home using more modern-day techniques and ingredients so you can actually try it. And I then I give you a mini-lecture, but it's a fun lecture on history."
Prior to each episode of Tasting History, Miller sits down and conducts hours upon hours of research. He has to learn about the time period, the various ingredients, the history of the dish and the proper pronunciation of key terms. This process can take a mere few hours or it can extend to dozens of hours if necessary.
"As far as research goes, it really depends on how familiar I am already with the dish or the history," Miller explained. "It can be anywhere from 5-8 hours of research if I already kind of know the topic I am covering or if I know the dish. ... There's an episode coming up that has to do with China, where almost all of the research I had to have translated from Mandarin. And then a lot of the stuff was written during the Ming Dynasty, it was classical Chinese. I'd say that research was probably about 40 hours of just research."
The dish Miller referenced was Yuanxiao, rice dumplings associated with the Spring Lantern Festival. These rice balls symbolize family, harmony, and happiness and have become a staple for those celebrating Yuan Xiao Jie. While Miller enjoyed making and tasting the glutinous rice balls for Tuesday's episode, he also expressed excitement about diving into a fascinating history that reads like a Game of Thrones storyline.
Yuanxiao and the other dishes take center stage each week, but viewers of Tasting History may notice an interesting detail in each of Miller's videos. He has a bar cart that sits on the side of the frame. Atop this cart is a stuffed animal. One video features Pikachu while another showcases a pink cow. The animal is never the same, which adds another source of entertainment. Interestingly enough, Miller says that the ever-changing stuffed animal did not start out as a planned addition.
"We've always had that little character on the bar cart, always sitting there since we moved in," Miller said. "While we were editing the first video, I noticed him and I was like, 'Oh, gosh, there's this stuffed animal behind me.' Next week, we swapped it out with another one, and it kind of stuck. Every week it's a new one."0comments
Miller said that he has hundreds of plushies at his home, the majority of which are Pokemon characters. He doesn't anticipate having to purchase any in the future, but that could change based on the future of Tasting History. For now, however, Miller remains focused on his upcoming episodes.
While he did not detail the multiple recipes on the horizon, the Tasting History host did tease a Thanksgiving episode. He will make a pumpkin pie, but this will not be a standard Sara Lee pie found in the freezer section. The recipe includes some unique ingredients and herbs.