There’s nothing like looking at photos of delicious food to make you realize just how lucky we are to be alive and get to sample some truly magnificent dishes in our lives. What’s even better is learning to make this très magnifique food at home.
We’ve got a feast for the eyes and the soul ready all just for you, dear Pandas. Get ready to have your tummies a-rumbling as you scroll through the crème de la crème of fantastic homecooked meals that were featured on the extremely popular ‘Food’ subreddit.
An online community of over 21 million people, r/food is home to some truly fascinating photos of food. We’ve collected some of the best ones made by non-professional chefs that we believe would be worthy of a Michelin star. Scroll down before the food gets cold, upvote the meals that you loved the most, and I can’t wait to hear which dishes were your fave ones, dear Pandas.
I had a friendly chat with redditor Sun_Beams, one of the moderators running r/food. We spoke about the debate between traditionalism and creativity in the cooking world, the various challenges that the mod team faces working with such a large and diverse community, and why grilled cheese sandwiches and cinnamon rolls are currently a sore topic. You’ll find Bored Panda’s full in-depth interview with Sun_Beams below.
I also reached out to pie artist Jessica Clark-Bojin, who is the founder of ‘Pies Are Awesome’ and whose Baby Yoda (well, technically, Raspbaby Yoda) raspberry pie ranks among the top posts on r/food of all time. She shared some awesome tips for anyone wishing to recreate the pie with Bored Panda and also spoke about her love for communities like r/food.
Warning: this list is absolutely delicious, will make you extremely hungry (so have some snacks at hand), and might inspire you to take your home cooking to a new level. Let's get tasting shall we?
Moderator Sun_Beams shared how there’s an ongoing debate on r/food about whether a more traditional or creative approach should be applied in cooking. Personally, Sun_Beams believes a mélange of the two is best. “The core to cooking for me is a mix of traditionalism and creativity,” they told Bored Panda.
When it comes to getting repeatable results, the moderator pointed out that following a strict methodology is best. Nonetheless, that’s not the only vital aspect of cooking. “As moderators, we find a lot of conflict between the Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons in ‘Whiplash’) purists, and the Willy Wonkas (Gene Wilder in ‘Willy Wonka’) creators on the sub, normally found fighting over changes to Carbonaras or other classical dishes. The reality is that all recipes had to go through some chaos and development to reach that dependable recipe.”
The moderator shared with me that in the last year, the entire r/food team has been trying to “overhaul the sub to keep up with the times.” The mods hope to “alleviate some of the frustrations our aging rules and lengthy guidelines had created over the years.”
Hand Painted Citrus Macarons
One of the greatest challenges that the subreddit’s mods are currently facing has to do with the mass of comments that r/food’s members write. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine in r/food; like any community of this size, it has its own dark side (we hear they have cookies).
“Outside of the never-ending stream of heated arguments and insults, found on posts about non-traditional recipes, the community does have its toxic quirks. One long-running abusive trend that we are trying to rein in would be the divisive topic of a Grilled Cheese with additions. Users that come to the community to share a simple Grilled Cheese, containing additions that are not simply cheese, are commonly faced with abusive public shaming, in the form of ‘corrections’ from users quoting a toxic copypasta,’ Sun_Beams shared with Bored Panda that posting such a sandwich can be a harrowing experience for new members.
“We have also had to act on an influx of Swedish users that en masse flood Iced Cinnamon Roll posts with rude sexual comments,” they added that some Swedes have been taking things too far as well.
Homemade Pumpkin Shaped Sourdough Bread
The redditor also shared that the most disappointing experience in the last year had been moderating the comments on two particular posts. “One Chocolate Chip Cookie post and a Filet-O-Fish post. The handfuls of removals, permanent bans, and reports to the site admins purely due to racists commenting on the poster’s skin color. Food is so multicultural, there is no place for racism,” they said that food should unite us, not divide us.
Pie artist Jessica told Bored Panda that she had a lot of fun baking the Baby Yoda/Grogu pie while watching The Mandalorian at Christmas. She has a video on her Instagram page on how to make it, but she also shared her key takeaways for those of you Pandas who are itching to recreate the cutest character of the past decade in pie form.
“Roll your dough out on a flexible cutting mat rather than directly on the table or counter. This gives you the ability to pop the whole project into the freezer whenever the dough starts to warm up—you can extend your working time indefinitely this way without having to worry about the fat in the dough melting and making your crust tough,” Jessica shared.
Homemade Succulent Cupcakes
Homemade Cherry/Blueberry Bunny Pie
“Use pasteurized egg white as a blending medium to paste different layers of dough together, and to score details into the crust without it tearing,” added the baking grandmaster.
“Give the whole design a wash with vanilla extract mixed with a bit of brown gel food color. This will seep into the cracks and lock in the details when the dough inevitably puffs up in the oven!” she added.
“Bake your top design separately from your base pie. This will ensure that both get the exact right amount of bake time they need—no burnt decorations, no soggy bottoms. Bake the top on a parchment-lined baking sheet first, and set it aside to cool. Then bake your base pie, and when it comes out of the oven bubbling hot, use a cake lifter to place the top design on. Gently press it down for 5 seconds and the heat from the filling will fuse the two together. Then when you go to cut it, it will be as if they were always baked as one!”
Jessica opened up that she’s a huge fan of Reddit because of how much it stands out from the crowd. “I love Reddit. It is a completely different universe from Instagram or any of the other usual social media outlets for food artists… I can be a bit cheekier on Reddit—it’s safer to let more of my natural sense of humor shine through. I meet different kinds of people there and have different kinds of conversations. It’s more immediate and (sometimes brutally) honest.”
One of the things that she values most about the ‘Food’ subreddit is the interaction with the community and everyone’s willingness to discuss everything related to food. “The r/food sub has some amazing contributors and I’ve had some of my best conversations about the nuts and bolts of pie baking there. Even when my work front pages, I try my best to respond to every comment, or at least every question.”
However, Jessica pointed out that food artists shouldn’t use Reddit for self-promotion. “That’s not really what Reddit is about. And it’s certainly not what r/Food is about!” she said.
Homemade Vanilla Toffee Scrabble Birthday Cake With Chocolate Buttercream, Caramel, And Banana
“Sure, it’s nice when my work front pages and I get lots of comments and all that, but it doesn’t really translate into much of a bump on my other channels because even mentioning that I have other channels on that sub will get the post taken down (or worse.) For example, you can’t post, ‘Hey check out this pie—if you like it, follow me on Instagram and buy my book!’ I would be banned so fast if I did that! But that’s okay because that’s not why I participate in Reddit’s r/Food. I’m there for the conversations, the inspiration, the camaraderie, and the fun!”
According to Jessica Reddit is different in the level of interactivity. You’re usually bound to hear from anyone who doesn’t like your post… in a most candid fashion. “If someone doesn’t like your post on Instagram, they will scroll past. If someone doesn’t like your post on Reddit, they will tell you to go to hell and take your grandmother with you!”
Though, to be fair, most folks over on Reddit are absolutely wonderful; not everyone’s looking to criticize you. “For every Redditor like that, there are a hundred more who ask genuine, insightful questions and have great ideas of their own to share. So my final advice to food artists looking to make Reddit part of their world is this: Read the rules of the sub you want to join, then read ‘em again.”
Homemade Poached Rhubarb Frangipane Tart
She continued: “Spend a few weeks lurking and commenting on other people’s posts so you can get to know the tone of this particular community. Make your first post and if you mess something up, mea culpa! Be humble, not defensive and chances are the community and the mods will give you a second chance. And most of all, don’t take things too personally and have fun!”
The ‘Food’ subreddit is an extremely ancient part of Reddit, having been started up in 2008, a mere 3 years after the website’s founding. In the 13+ years since its inception, r/food has dominated Reddit’s gastronomic landscape with amateur and professional chefs alike sharing their creations and inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.
Homemade Breakfast Sugar Cookies
One of the things that the subreddit’s moderators ask of the members is that they add tags to the titles of their posts to help make them super clean and clear to everyone else. So, for example, if you see [Homemade], [I ate], or [Pro/Chef], you’re instantly aware of the context and it helps you sink your digital teeth into the mouth-watering image (just be sure not to lick the screen too much).
Anyone who’s a chef, pastry chef, baker, butcher, sous chef, or food photographer fits into the [Pro/Chef] category. Meanwhile, amateurs who cook at home and don’t have a pro background fall into the [Homemade] category. As for anyone who simply wants to share some tasty photos and give credit where it’s due, that’s where the [I ate] tag comes in.
Since r/food is all about keeping the content at the highest possible quality, they filter out self-promotions, non-original content, politics, dietary activism, and low-resolution photos. What’s more, they ask that all members be excellent to each other. The gastronomic landscape of Reddit might have a lot of nuances that people don’t agree over, but one thing’s certain: they all love food! And that, in my opinion, is enough to get along.