LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) — There’s no question the pandemic changed our lives in many ways. One of them involves the kitchen. A growing trend across America is home cooking, and people are turning to all the resources to teach them how.
One YouTube cooking page is called Welcome to Nealville. So, where is Nealville? Well, it’s the kitchen of Jaywanna Neal and her two scene-stealing sons.
"I’ve got my two chefs with me," Neal said in a video. "We’ve got Maliki. We’ve got Christopher."
It was last year Neal launched her how-to cooking YouTube channel. It comes with all the good stuff.
"We have lasagna, spaghetti, pies, cakes," she said. "One of the most popular things on the channel is my banana pudding."
Neal's rule above all is her motto.
"It’s your kitchen! Do what you want!" she smiled.
A family production, husband Jonathan handles the music for the videos. Neal and the boys handle the content. Together, the team is working to bring back the dinner table.
"At the table is where you find out most of the things about your family," Neal said. "Food just helps bring you together."
Neal is not alone in feeling that way. There are signs many are moving away from microwaving frozen pizzas and becoming more interested in learning how to cook.
According to market research company The NPD Group, cookbooks sales are up 42% this year over last year. Besides that, sales of bakeware are up 18% this year over pre-pandemic 2019. According to NPD’s subscription video track service, streaming viewership for "The Great British Baking Show" on Netflix is up over last year by 10%. Trends that started in the pandemic are continuing to grow.
"The pandemic hit, so everyone was in their houses," said Neal. "When people can’t go out and restaurants begin to close early and you have a family, they wanna eat!"
Neal said the pandemic bringing on a new interest in cooking helped boost her followers for her how-to cooking channel.
"They think their mom is YouTube famous!" she laughed, referring to her boys.
A national move toward more home cooking and family time means a lot to Neal. Since the start of the pandemic, she adopted both Christopher and Maliki from Youth Villages, becoming their mom.
"To know that I was able to take two little ones and bring them to a family that has love, it means everything," she said.
Lessons taught with love. That’s Nealville.