In browsing (trying to catch up with) some of the blogs featured in the Spring Cleaning New Recipe Challenge, I found a posting on one that stopped me in my tracks. Because I was guilty of what the blogger was professing not to be judgmental about, referring to food, and food photography in particular, in oxymoronic terms. Or nearly oxymoronic terms. Food-followed-by-a-p-word-that-refers-to-a-demeaning-and-debasing-movie-and-photography-industry. What the Pinteresting Blogosphere (especially Pinterest, itself) has literally made an art-form of.
I think in that term, let’s just call it FP. Some food photography is very evocative, calling on all of the five senses, plus a sixth (or, if ESP exists, maybe I should say a seventh) sense: yearning. Certain food blogs (and I mean this in a good way) literally have me bouncing out of my seat to try their recipes because their food photography is so…desire inducing.
Such are the recipes that gave birth to the Spring Cleaning New Recipe Challenge.
And, yes, I know, my food photography is SO NOT THERE YET.
I’m talking about the food photogs and stylists that literally have you hearing the cheese oozing out of the side of some yummilicious dish. (Or is that just me?)
I guess I’m also to understand that giving food too much importance is wrong somehow. To me, food and cooking involve all of the following: (sorry if I’m wrong or offend anyone) sustenance, nourishment, a focal point, a matter of pride, a creative outlet, a guilty pleasure, a colorful landscape, a way to show love. And so much more.
Do I sound angry? If not, I mean to.
I’m tired of being judged for using terms that fit a topic.
Side note here: expect a similar rant about the use and censure of the word “bossy” coming soon to a Thoughtful Thursday near you.
What (sadly) led me back on the blog train was the seeming vilification of food (boiling down to, at best, nourishment and, at worst, sustenance) that I’ve seen in society and in the Pinteresting Blogosphere lately. Basically, to have some opinions boiled down to their lowest common denominator, We the People (as well as our worldwide counterparts) are to be content (gotta love that mealymouthed word) with food that is simple sustenance. To yearn no further. To subsist on quinoa. To not want a cupcake or cheese or (heaven forfend!) buttery goodness. To take no pleasure, pure or guilty, from yearning for, or, even worse, consuming refined sugar.
I prefer not to vilify food. Not to make it taboo. Decadent.
And not to subsist to simply exist.
There are too many beautiful, in your face, out there images of food expanding the mind of Pinteresting individuals minutely to simply subsist on brown sustenance alone (quinoa…or worse…kale jerky).
And as for the other evil in the equation….
One of the individuals who commented on that blog posting (the vilification of the FP term) posted a link to an article from The Daily Beast. Basically, if I’m understanding this correctly (through that red haze of consumer anger that kinda sorta blocked my vision as I continued to read this–to me–unacceptable premise), we, the consumer, the customers at restaurants, are not to take-a-picture-because-it-lasts-longer of our food, excuse me, I mean the artistry that the chef contrives on our plates.
Think about that one for a bit.
Shame on you if you want to snap a shot of your plate of…sustenance.
I guess then it becomes, as one chef mentioned (P.S. Remind me never to go to that Chez Snob), an infringement of their intellectual property. Food Piracy. The other FP. Or worse, Food Paparazzi. Another FP. Because all of us subpar foodie photogs out there cannot possibly do justice to their artistic masterpiece in poor lighting.
Um…(I don’t know the translation in French or Italian so that they will understand) the solution is obviously to equip your restaurant (that probably serves food with over-inflated overhead–i.e., price gouging) with better lighting.
I’m really scratching my head on this one. Because, to me, if I’m that excited about the food that I want to take a picture of it so that I can show others who might then, in turn, occupy the tables at your restaurant and therefore give you money for the overpriced food…how is this lose-lose for the chef?
On the same viewpoint, chefs and restaurant owners/managers also seem to have a problem with customers being able to comment, through social media, on our gastronomic experiences at their place. Our palates are not refined enough, I actually read in an article a few months back. It is the food critic’s job (and one food critics are infinitely more qualified for) to review restaurants.
Personally, I disagree with a lot of restaurant reviews from “critics,” just as I do movie reviews by “critics.” The critics are not the ones filling (or not filling) the restaurants’ tables. It is the customers without a “refined palate.”
I wish people would remember who, exactly, is keeping them in business.
One brief hint: it isn’t the critics.
Did I mention that I’m starting to have a real problem with chefs and restaurant owners/managers that take themselves too seriously? As in, I don’t want to give them money?
I take food seriously.
Not sustenance. Not nourishment. Food. I think in food. I dream of food. I compose recipes in my waking and sleeping moments.
I am a foodie (in every sense of the word) and a gourmand.
If you judge me, be prepared for me to judge back.
The gauntlet has been thrown down.
(I do, however, apologize if I have offended anyone by my reference to FP in any of its guises)
Let the judging begin!