This may come as a shock to you, but I don’t care what you are eating. So stop putting your food on Facebook.
From my early days in advertising, I remember occasions on which I had to pace around a film studio trying to look interested while stylists attempted to make various dishes look appetizing for a commercial. I recall one time that was extremely excruciating: you might be surprised to learn how difficult it is to get Jell-o to retain its consistency under hot photographic lights.
So now I’m on Facebook, staring at this very unstyled, and very poorly lit, and usually, for some reason, very beige phone picture of your dinner, and wondering why you would post such a thing. I mean, I can maybe see it if you are dining in a three-star restaurant and you want to share the beautiful plating while simultaneously informing people that you are prosperous enough to spend $400 on a meal. But even then, your photographic skills are likely to make that meal from the Michelin restaurant look more like a Michelin tire.
And most of the time, the restaurant hasn’t even received three stars from Yelp, much less Michelin. Why are you showing me the pedestrian pasta plate from your local Italian place? I’m sure your penne a la vodka was delicious because, really, how can you screw up penna a la vodka, but it looks just like the penne a la vodka served at more than 98,000 Italian restaurants in the U.S.*, not to mention eateries of less-defined ethnicity and quite a few roadside diners. There is only one possible reason to post a serving of penne a la vodka, and that is if you are eating it in Italy . . . at a scenic outdoor cafe . . . with Sophia Loren sitting at the next table.**
Before we all had cameras attached to us 24/7, we managed to get along fine without photographing everything we ate. It’s not like you’d be dining at your local Howard Johnson’s and have flashbulbs going off all around you as folks fired up their Kodak Brownies. It’s obnoxious enough that you’re texting all through your meal without also taking a picture of the handsomely-garnished salmonburger your companion-who you are otherwise ignoring while you’re reading critical Facebook status updates–has ordered.
My daughter Casey often posts pictures of various desserts she’s made, and that’s okay, because she makes really creative (and tasty!) desserts and she is, in effect, displaying her art. But how proud can you be of your ordinary chocolate chip cookies? Okay, fine, they’re perfectly round. Congratulations. You can use a cookie cutter. No one needs to see your cookies. Keep your cookies to yourself.
Listen: I do not want to be gawking at your goulash at seven o’clock in the morning. And I don’t want to see the “native” food you ordered while on vacation, probably on a dare, especially when it’s a weird dish involving insects or intestines. I hope you enjoyed your haggis, but I’m getting nauseous just looking at it.
I’m happy to report that I am not alone in my distaste for food porn. Many other blogs have posted pleas for people to cease and desist. A psychiatrist even mentioned that obsessively posting food pictures may be a sign of a serious eating disorder, which, when you think about it, makes a lot of sense, because you really should be eating the food rather than photographing it.
Speaking of which, there’s an Instagram page that does nothing but collect horrible food pictures from around the web and was the source of all the shots in this post. Except the one at right, which is the photo that inspired it. The caption read “Christmas Eve antipasto during some movie watching.”
Frankly, I didn’t know there was such a thing as Christmas Eve antipasto, and I have to say, this looks pretty much like the Veteran’s Day antipasto I had in 1979.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it.
See you soon.