Get to Know Cafe Maddy, a Food Blog That Intertwines Food and Sentimentality

When+asked+to+select+a+recipe+that+they+liked+the+most%2C+Bronx+Science+students+seemed+to+be+the+most+intrigued+by+the+matcha+chiffon+cupcakes.+%E2%80%9CI+liked+this+recipe+the+most+because+I+really+like+matcha%2C+and+also+I+think+it+looked+the+most+pretty+out+of+all+the+other+recipes+that+I+scrolled+through.+The+recipe+also+does+not+seem+to+be+very+hard+to+follow%2C%E2%80%9D+said+Bonnie+Huang+%E2%80%9922.

Cafe Maddy

When asked to select a recipe that they liked the most, Bronx Science students seemed to be the most intrigued by the matcha chiffon cupcakes. “I liked this recipe the most because I really like matcha, and also I think it looked the most pretty out of all the other recipes that I scrolled through. The recipe also does not seem to be very hard to follow,” said Bonnie Huang ’22.

When I first came across one of Cafe Maddy’s videos on my Tik Tok For You page in March 2020, New York City had just shut down due to the Coronavirus pandemictaking any feelings of joy and happiness down with it. 

I stared at my phone, shocked by the sublimity of the video. Out of the fear of letting this beautiful feeling slip away, I clicked on the page. There were months worth of travel vlogs, recipes, and simple visual documentations of daily life.

It made me feel hopeful, but deeply hollow at the same time. There was the high of putting yourself in the shoes of another person and the low of knowing that you would eventually have to climb out. “It feels kind of addicting as you scroll through the videos. You open one and continue swiping, and then thirty minutes or more could have passed,” said Bonnie Huang ’22.

The owner of the page is Brooklyn resident Madeline Park. Her platform had been expanding, and she even had the opportunity to work with BuzzFeed Tasty on a video detailing three different recipes with kimchi, a fermented Korean staple. She made a kimchi grilled cheese with crispy bread and oozing cheddar, a nostalgic egg-spam-kimchi combo with rice from her childhood, and a kimchi cream pasta, a seemingly bizarre but delicious recipe from her college roommate. “It definitely was such a fun and also bizarre process, because this happened right in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown in New York City. I guess because of this lockdown, they were open to having a creator film in the comfort of her own home, without any producers or crews being there in person. So the entire production was done with two of my cameras in my apartment, and an incredible Buzzfeed producer video chatting with me and directing me the whole time,” said Park.

“I usually never talk into the camera, so we had to do so many retakes of the same lines,” said Park. Her usual video format consists of an overhead shot of her kitchen space and a voiceover. Her videos are made to bring comfort to her audience.

“The mood that I generally want to convey is usually a calming, ‘zen’ vibe,” said Park. When she edits, she never speeds up her videos, and always keeps the clips running at 1x speed. This is a big challenge because TikTok has a one minute cap for all of the uploaded videos. She still somehow manages to make it work, though. “When I watch her videos, I feel relaxed and entertained,” said Zoe Stanley ’23.

Food and social media means so much more to Park than simply sharing recipes and bonding over food. “Based on the responses I get, my videos seem to help people feel calm, and inspire them to try out recipes or cooking in general. This itself is huge for me. Apart from this, I also think that my vlogs speak to a lot of people during this crazy time, and I hope to offer my perspective in life that might help other people as well,” said Park.

Recipes are valuable and food is nostalgic, but Park also sometimes uses her platform to be open about serious struggles in her vlogs. In a recent vlog, she talked about how she had been feeling upset lately, but she proceeded to say, “but life goes on.” Sensing that there was more complex meaning behind this phrase, I asked her what she meant. “It was after opening a letter that brought me some bad news. Through this I meant to remind myself of so many other times in my life that I had received disappointing news. Each time, I grieved, and then life went on-even if it didn’t seem like it ever would,” she said.

Food is a great source of comfort for people all over the globe. Nothing else reminds you of home the same way the imperfection of a home-cooked meal does. Café Maddy has brought people this comfort ever since it “opened” on the internet. Simple videos seem trivial sometimes, but it’s the small things in life that keep us going.

Maddy loves to use her platform to connect with her roots, which is why she made Mandoo. “These little pouches of juicy, savory fillings are also an embodiment of my mom’s love, which carried me through all of college and grad school,” said Madeline Park. (Cafe Maddy)
Maddy’s vlogs are calming and always make you feel less lonely. She always manages to convey the fact that you are not alone in your struggles. “Now, even in the midst of my struggles, I am actually able to take a second to be grateful that I am alive. Alive enough to feel the pain, to be struggle bustin’ through my twenties along with all my peers. To know that I am growing and getting through my growing pains,” said Madeline Park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Based on the responses I get, my videos seem to help people feel calm, and inspire them to try out recipes or cooking in general. This itself is huge for me. Apart from this, I also think that my vlogs speak to a lot of people during this crazy time, and I hope to offer my perspective in life that might help other people as well,” said Madeline Park.

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