While Max Miller had been immersed in pixie dust magic for part of his career, few would have predicted his food story taking this creative turn a year ago. With his hugely success YouTube channel, Tasting History, the creative storyteller and cook is in the process of writing a cookbook. Although turning a page might be different from watching his journey through food history unfold, the reality is that foodies are craving that unique food perspective.
Even as many foodies stroll through social media looking for the next beautifully plated dish or visually stunning food find, the reality is that Miller takes a different approach. As he mentioned during our recent chat, “honestly when it comes to pretty plates of food there are a lot better places to go than my channel.” While he admitted that he has spent be lured by those stunning photos, but there needs to be more. In the end, that picture fades.
For Miller, he wanted to give foodies more than just a captivating image. Since everyone eats and everyone likes a great story, Tasting History offered that opportunity to put those two components together. Granted, to get the full sensory experience, some people might have to get into the kitchen, but the story behind the food is as tasty as the food itself.
In some ways, Miller gets to the heart of what makes food such a strong connection for people. For example look back at childhood, that slice of birthday cake that grandma made every year might not have earned the blue ribbon, but the stories that are told about the tradition make every morsel even more satisfying. Just like a recipe is the sum of its parts, the story makes a dish complete.
While Miller might make dishes that are not seen on Food Network or other culinary competitions, the reality is that his show is relatable on a different level. From a foodie who wants to connect with his own culture to curbing that wanderlust craving, the reality is that these episodes are less of a how-to video and more of a slice of world.
Even though some people might scoff at the idea of opening a history book as their form of relaxation, this journey into people and lands behind a particular dish give context to many people’s favorite popular foods. It is more than just learning the hows and why someone thought it was a great idea to combined a suckling pig and a game bird in a single beast (yes, that idea was his anniversary episode).
In some ways, this journey through Tasting History is the pre-cursor to the lure of today’s celebrity chefs. Maybe one day, people will look at Guy Fieri the same way that foodies look at Marcus Aemilius Scaurus.
One of the reasons why many people are drawn to Tasting History with Max Miller is his storytelling. Having had worked for Disney, he appreciates that the story is key to captivating viewers. Without that story, the food falls flat. It is more than just giving people knowledge that would help them with a Jeopardy answer. The way that he weaves the information in a relatable way makes people watch again and again.
Although some people have joined him in creating these fantastical dishes. Miller admitted that recipe recreation might not be the ultimate purpose of his show or even this upcoming cookbook. But, he hopes to encourage foodies to be more open to exploring food and flavor.
Whether it is using a South Asian spice or trying a new protein, that slice of the past can flavor a new generation. Similar to how Alton Brown made the science of food engaging, Miller makes the history behind the dish even more flavorful.
From using saffron to flavor a dish or discovering the variety of chilis that bring the heat, Miller has done his job if he pushes foodies outside of their comfort zone. In his upcoming cookbook, he hopes to open the conversation even further.
As more people embrace the adventurous side of food, Max Miller and Tasting History have a seat open at the table. Even if you slept through that high school history class, this slice of the past will have you hungry for more.
Tasting History can be found on YouTube. Max Miller is set to publish his first cookbook in 2021.