In defense of food shared online
Six days into my social media diet, I’m astonished and a little embarrassed to learn that one of the few things I really miss is freely posting pictures of what I’m cooking and eating. I had no idea how much of my online sharing revolves around food. Of the five posts I’ve made to Facebook the past week (my public page and this blog are exempt from my retreat), two are about what was on my plate. I am an internet cliche.
But look how pretty this morning’s breakfast of steamed quinoa and fruit is! LOOK AT IT.
I wonder what that’s about? I could joke that I apparently have no life, but that’s not true. Maybe it’s a form of gratitude, of celebrating the pleasure of a good meal. Maybe it’s also soliciting applause I don’t always receive at the table. Maybe the “likes” on my phone help buffer the dislikes in the dining room. Twitter followers never say, “What are those green specks?” or “I’m not really all that hungry after all,” or “YUCK.” Instagrammers appreciate the beauty of a perfectly minced mire en poix, the artful scattering of fresh herbs. And Facebook friends get really, really excited about kale, as I learned with this post on Friday (read the comments, take one drink every time you see the word “smoothie,” two for “chips”).
Maybe it’s just an indication that eating and cooking is one of my passions, because I’m also interested in what’s happening in your kitchens and on your tables. I love the snappy tone of the title to Maggie Mason’s early blogging guide, “Nobody Cares What You Had for Lunch,” but I can’t say that’s true for me. I am dying to know what you had for lunch. Helen Jane’s hand written meal plans are a voyeuristic pleasure. It’s even better than getting to peek in a friend’s handbag.
Maybe there’s something so deeply primal and tribal about sharing food that it must inevitably be part of how we express community, even the virtual one.
What do you think? Do you post about food? Do you enjoy other people’s food shared online? Or do you really, deep down, not care what I’m having for lunch?
(Roast free range chicken with braised kale. Take three drinks.)
P.S. If you are curious about what dietary restrictions I am following through Lent, it is mostly based on the Whole 30 plan, except that I am including a little quinoa and taking a moderate “cheat” day once a week. It’s actually turning out to be a great plan for the picky eaters in my house, since the proteins are prepared simply, with vegetables and fruits on the side. I add a comforting and familiar starch to make them happy, and we’re good. You can see the entire allowed foods list here.