Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Food for thought

Okay, I confess, I'm one of those people who post photos on Instagram of the food they are about to eat. And as pointless as that seems, there is a method behind my mundaness.

First, I think that presenting a well-plated meal is an artform. If you want to scarf down mounds of shapeless globs of food on a platter, go to a buffet. A sign of a great restaurant is how the chef places the food on the plate.

When I take a photo of my plate, I am paying homage to the chef artist. Or I am shaming a hash slinging hack if the plate is unappealing (like most meals served at our local diner, Claire's).

The other reason I record photos of my favorite meals is to freeze that fleeting moment between the time the meal is placed before you, consumed and cleared away. For the most part, meals are consumed and forgotten. I am preserving them in the cloud to be mentally savored again and again.

Looking at the photos of my meals conjures up the time and place much better than my aging memory. Especially if the meals were from a vacation or business trip.

There is this scene in Jim Jarmusch's film Mystery Train where a Japanese tourist walks through his seedy hotel room snapping photos of random details of the room. When his companion asks him why he always takes pictures of the hotel rooms they stay in he replies that he will always remember the attractions they visit (such as Graceland), but he wanted photos of the places he stayed because they would quickly slip away in the oblivion of his mind. Because we rarely remember the mundane (which is why I prefer hotel rooms that are unique in some way and not just a box with a bed).

This the way I feel about the meals I have in restaurants. Apparently that is the way many people on Instagram feel. Because the photos of my meals seem to get the most likes.

We live in a strange and marvelous time.

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