Hello, and happy Friday!
Warning: I am about to go on one of my rants, so if you want to, click away from this page and come back another day. If you enjoy my pontifications, well here you go:
You know that saying, "We eat with our eyes"? Well its bullshit.
North Americans eat far too much of this:
...and far too little of this:
Now you tell me, which one is nicer to look at? Even if you love fried food and hate fruits and veggies, you can't tell me the fried food is more attractive! Well, I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I have never been one to be that concerned with food presentation. Obviously! Even the plates I picture on the blog here are generally gussied up more than the ones that are not. I just heap the food on the plate and eat. Yet I still consider myself a foodie. I love to cook, I know all about various cooking techniques (if there were a culinary-focused Jeopardy I would win!) and I have knowledge of a wide variety of cuisines. Our house is full of a thousand herbs and spices, various baking ingredients, condiments, grains, etc. But whether or not the finished product looks beautiful to me - if it is just for me - matters not at all.
To me, when a restaurant is very focused on food presentation, what that means to me is I AM GOING GO LEAVE HUNGRY!
Really, one of the many reasons we don't eat out much is that often the more you pay, the less you get. And sometimes the quality of so-called upscale places does not justify the 'quality over quantity' argument, especially when I can cook most things at home cheaper and more to my taste anyways.
Eating with our eyes is often why so much food in our world goes to waste. We are so fixated on how food looks, we throw away perfectly good food we deem ugly. Fortunately, Canadian grocery stores are going to start selling 'ugly' food at a discount rather than throwing it away. Halleluyah, its about time!!
As I've always said on this blog, I am not too concerned with food presentation. Just taste and nutrition. If there are any pretty looking plates on this blog, you can be guaranteed I staged it that way for your benefit. But there aren't many anyways.
In any case, it isn't just esthetics that drive our food choices, its culture, psychology, physiology, socioeconomic status and a host of other things.
But my beef is not just with this fixation on pretty food. We are obsessed with visuals. We need to see everything, judgements are made based on how things look. The most important thing on dating websites, of course, are people's photos. Most people look very different from their photos anyways, but also, a photo tells you almost nothing about a person, including whether or not you will have chemisty! Unless you are a totally superficial arse, it is the entire person, not just their appearance, that determines attraction. The explosion of Instagram puzzles me completely. I never was on it until my business consultant told me every food business need a presence there. I wish this wasn't the case. I am a terrible photographer and I hate taking pictures of food. If I describe an ooey gooey chocolate chip blondie, do you really need to see it to imagine how yummy it is? Its not only food on there either, people post everything. I get the pictures of people's kids and families, which allows you to easily share them with other loved ones, but some of the stuff on Instagram (ahem, a billion selfies), to me, just shows what a completely narcissistic, bunch of navel gazers we've become.
We have seemingly become a society with no attention span. Everything has to be a picture, diagram or 40 characters or less. This trend started even before all this explosion of social media. When I returned to the research industry in 2007 after Big A was born, already written reports were passe. All anyone wanted was everything summarized onto a single Powerpoint Slide. No one has time to read long reports everyone would say. Really? So this is where a world of high tech gadgets that supposedly do everything for us and take out food has gotten us? If people don't have the time its usually because they are wasting it looking at pictures!
Personally, I find I get little out of seeing pictures online (or eating food arranged into a tower with a bow on top). I still value the written word. Give me books, and if I am online, give me Wikipedia (I am still addicted to it!). And as for people, lets talk rather than exchanging selfies. Lets meet for coffee and confess our deepest secrets. At the very least, email me, don't send me some weird text code because I won't know what the heck you are saying anyways!
Have a lovely weekend folks.