A few years ago, I read an article about people who photographed their food — all of their food. Every single morsel they planned to pop into their mouths was first documented. The rationale given for some of this was that people were trying to lose weight and that the photographs were an effective food diary; a reminder of exactly how many chocolate chip cookies constituted an afternoon snack.
The article pointed out that this interest/hobby/obsession was only really possible because of phone cameras. More and more people were carrying around with them – as a matter of course – the means for capturing for posterity, literally every bite of food they took.
I also take pictures of food, but the images of my late afternoon cake and latte moments, dinners with friends, or meals cooked by my partner or son (a reminder to all that they CAN COOK) are less a personal food diary than a way of communicating via social media. A shot of my breakfast coffee with the lagoon and Rowing Club building in the background posted on FaceBook told friends I was in Wellington for the weekend, while a shot of my birthday cake was not only a reminder to anyone who had forgotten, but a very public way of thanking my friends who hosted the dinner and baked the cake.
While in the UK last year I found myself photographing quite a few of my meals and posting the images on FaceBook. Most were not particularly memorable meals, but because I ate alone quite a lot on that trip, those photographs and accompanying comments and tags were a way of feeling less lonely during events that are normally very social. It also gave me something to do and prompted some quite thoughtful and nostalgia posts.
I tagged a photo of the one pint of beer I had in England with my partner’s name. I’m not a beer drinker, but we had visited so many pubs together and drunk that particular ale, that the image was a way of saying “I miss you.”
A cabinet full of creamy cakes that I saw in an Edinburgh cafe brought forth a wave of longing to see my grandmother once more. My gran – the quintessential auld Scots wifie – had a terrible sweet tooth, and we spent many afternoons together drinking tea and gossiping over a couple of Carlton’s meringues or chocolate eclairs. She died in 2006, and I still miss her. When I posted the photo, my cousin responded with her own memories of Gran (her great gran) and I felt very connected to my family that day.
I tagged my son in this photo of gelato I ate at Borough Market. Like beer, icecream is a food I usually only consume when I’m with certain people. With gelato, it’s the boy-child. Like me, he’s a complete foodie and I knew he would have loved Borough Market. Photographing my food and sharing it with him electronically was saying both, “I miss you” and “next time, we’ll come here together.”
Here are some other challenge posts I’ve enjoyed: