Let’s just say that my pre-consumption photo-shoot has become an established protocol of each dining experience. I know the look all too well: the confused gaze from a table adjacent to me, the embarrassed and mocking snarl from my dining partner and my headshake during a moment of self-consciousness. And yet, despite the consensus of disapproval, I now find it to be instinctive to photograph my meal. In fact, I can’t even decide for sure if my food choices are influenced by aesthetic value. Embarrassed for me? Don’t be.
While my peers may be accustomed to this ritual, my elders question, “Why does she need to take a picture every time she eats? I remember in my day when people used to just eat the food.”
I suppose that is a fair statement. However, what my elders fail to realize is that more and more people of my generation consult Instagram as a resource, the same way that they consulted the newspaper.
Regardless, justifying my “addiction” has been quite the challenge. As an artistically-inclined person, I have always presupposed that the non-“artsy-fartsy” people don’t understand the value of a good food picture. And, while grandma may be right in saying that moments used to just happen without the prerequisite of a camera, I stand firmly by my claim that there is a level of value in Instagramming food.
The term “foodstagrammers,” coined in honor of those whose food is often eaten cold, has been a term widely used when referring to the Instagram demographic. Foodies often hashtag the restaurant, thus promoting a restaurant’s appeal and popularity. Accounts that focus on pictures of just food are resources for people to gauge the experience that they can anticipate.
It is true that Instagram lies on the shameful foundation of showing off. In most cases, people boast under the guise of “sharing.” However, photographing food is a selfless act.
I suppose that someone can offer the point that the intention of posting a food picture is to brag. But true foodies — that is, those who dedicate their accounts to showcasing new meals and restaurants — do not concern themselves with these accusations. In fact, three women attending Fordham have accepted this challenge of “chronicling the food adventures they find themselves in,” adopting the name @GluttonousGals and writing for Spoon University, an endeavor that is focused on spreading the hype on up-to-date food hacks and trends.
The thing about a picture featuring just food is that it shifts the focus solely to the subject matter. True foodie Instagrammers have no ulterior motives but to promote good dining experiences and expose hole-in-the-wall restaurants to the public. It would arguably be more selfish to withhold this information, as it would be doing a disservice to the brunch enthusiasts out there.
Articles from sources such as the Huffington Post, The New York Times, Buzzfeed and many more feature headlines such as “22 Instagram Accounts Food Lovers Should Follow in 2014,” and “Best Healthy Eating Instagrams.” Food Instagrams are versatile, as they are not always about a restaurant. Some accounts provide information as detailed as recipes, post-work out meals and tips to eat clean. Some provide information on how to eat on a budget.
The next time you are at a restaurant and the flash disturbs your meal for .5 seconds, consider the number of people that that photo will reach and the fact that someone will soon get the luxury of receiving advice from a fellow foodstagrammer.