A few days ago, I chanced upon a friend’s Instagram picture of an article she was not too keen upon. In it, a psychiatrist, Dr. Valerie Taylor, was giving her professional opinion that people who constantly take pictures of their food, may be suffering from some kind of food disorder. (original article published on Daily Mail)
My friend is a keen foodstagrammer, as you can imagine. She uses her Instagram to showcase her talent in cooking and baking and hopefully inspires others to follow suit. I may not be an avid foodstagrammer but I too have done the occasional “look here, this is what I’m cooking/eating” food posts. I’d like to think that a love affair with food is a very typical Asian trait but is it though?
The Chinese way of greeting loosely translated is “have you eaten?”. When (overseas) Malays meet each other, the topic will be dominated by food; just like how the Brits or Scandinavians talk about the weather. I must admit, that quite a lot of time, I will feel a little bored by talk of food. I like eating, I LOVE cooking but just talking about it…hmm…
Now the subject of photographing food adds a whole new dimension. An interesting one. With all respect to the professional opinion of Dr. Taylor, I think foodstagrammers are a whole multi dimensional lot. I agree with her that there are people in that group who are inevitably suffering from some kind of eating disorders. Professionals like her have the opinion that people who constantly take pictures of food do not have a good relationship with food.
Sharing something I witnessed just a week ago at a popular cupcake cafe here in Kuala Lumpur:
I was having a meeting, late in the day, with another trainer discussing possibilities of a joint corporate training. As we were talking, 2 young Chinese girls walked to a table behind my contact with a plate of cupcakes, 1 with a candle on it; with 2 cups of hot coffee (I presume). They proceeded for the next 20 minutes to take pictures of those cupcakes from various angles, with 3 different smartphones. The more they clicked, the more I had to stifle my laughter. At one point, I burst out laughing. They already had noticed me earlier giving them quizzical looks but this time they looked at me with guilt. Then they apologised to me! I laughed a little and asked them, “Why are you saying sorry? It’s me who has to apologise for laughing at you!”
I told them that I’m laughing because I noticed that the candle is slowly dripping onto what is a nice fluffy cupcake frosting while they’re busy taking pictures.
“Are you food reviewers?”- “No”
“Are you food stylists?” – “No”
Huh…I had to chuckle a little more and told them, “So get on with it!! Eat those lovely cupcakes before the candle melts all over it! Plus the cafe is closing soon!” I smiled at them so they know I mean no harm and they agreed that they better hurry before we all get kicked out.
This encounter just makes me think about what Dr. Taylor was talking about. Are foodstagrammers concentrating so much on the photo taking of the food that they start to ignore the location, the people they are with, the music, and everything else involved with eating out/in?
As part of my Passionate Living and/or Weight Loss Master Coaching, I deal with love/hate affair with food with my clients. One important factor in determining weight loss/healthy weight is our mind. How do we see food? What is our love affair like with the food? In fact, this has got a lot to do with love affair for life itself.
I teach clients HOW to eat all over again. Yes, I do. In this fast paced modern world, with smart phones taking hundreds of pictures of food, we have lost connection with food itself. Sometimes it’s more important to just connect, to just savour the moments and truly absorb all that the food has to offer instead of just photographing it.
As my own ‘life coach’ aka Mr Hubby has to say, “Sometimes just put that camera down. Just savour it with our eyes and other senses. The memories will last longer in our minds than it does on a hard disk.”
So foodstagrammers out there, maybe it’s time you start searching why you are taking pictures of those food and how long you take to shoot those pictures. Maybe shorter than the candle melting on that cake yeah?