I keep my Instagram for practical reasons. I like to document when I’m feeling confident or having a good day, and I also want all those who have wronged me to see my internet footprint, which ultimately consists of happiness, success, and fantastic lighting. You know, grounded people stuff. Over the years, I’ve also become one of those people who feels #COMPELLED to post photos of their food on Instagram. Usually I’ll be eating with either my best friend or my mother, both of whom at one point have suggested that I “stop taking pictures” and instead “actually enjoy what [I’m] eating,” to which I say, “I am a goddamn artist of carbohydrates, Mother.”
Anyway, I started to think about my past food posts. I’ve reflected upon how nine times out of 10, I’m posting these photos not so much as to share with the world my fun culinary experiences, but to let the world know that I am doing fun, exciting, and youthful things. That’s grand and all, but usually when I post these filtered shots, the food ends up being at best... average. The food will be consumed, and it’ll be alright, but your envy for my beautiful and unique food-based experiences? That will hopefully last me forever.
Look at this beauty! The angles! The sugar! The artistic distribution of macon (maple bacon) glaze! I must have taken this on portrait mode? Do you want my life yet?
This was a special moment in my life, as God smiled upon me and made it so that my first ever trip to New Orleans began the same day as their Beignet Fest. These beignets were magical but they were actually anxiety-inducing. I had applied Rihanna’s Stunna lip paint right before the event —you know, adequate preparation for fried dough consumption — and chaos ensued. The bacon maple glaze caused my lipstick to bleed, forming almost vertical red arrows up my cheeks, which made me look very Heath Ledger when he played that murder joker in Batman. Then I got beignet-powder all over my pants. I was all flustered because we still weren’t able to check into our hotel, I had smeared lipstick on my face, my hands were sticky, and I had to pay $3 for a bottle of water.
Don’t worry, though. I bought my water, cleaned my hands, and snapped this photo that I hope let everyone know I was having the time of my life.
Beautiful picture, average experience. Maybe that can become the new tagline for Instagram and I can make millions of dollars.
That’s one of my most recent food instagram posts. But I’ve been doing this whole “I’m gonna post pictures of cute food so you think I have a stellar life” for quite some time. Let’s bring it back to 2012.
New Year’s Eve! Everyone’s favorite holiday to get disappointed!! About five years ago, my best friend Kelly was throwing her annual New Year’s Eve party and I had just turned 21, so I knew it would be monumental. I decided to do something crazy, something innovative... something the partygoers (graduates from Fordham University... and then me) would never forget. I found the idea on Pinterest. Strap yourselves in.
Do you get it? It’s a clock! For New Year’s! It’s a cake with time cupcakes. Towards the end of my sugar excursion, I ran out of icing, which is why the hands of the clock are looking somewhat tragic. Anyway, I filtered this bad boy, posted it, and waited for the world to congratulate me on my great American feat.
I was really walking around Stuyvesant Town like I reinvented the wheel. I was so worried that I was going to lose part of the clock en route to Kelly’s apartment that by the time I got to the party I was essentially waiting for every participant to form a line behind my clock cake and mutter a genuine and well-deserved compliment on its aesthetics.
These cupcakes weren’t bad, by any means. But they were also... cupcakes from a mix. Ina Garten wasn’t going to stop by the apartment to thank me for my Christian service to carbohydrate artistry. I, however, needed to take a picture to let the world know that my creations were special and delicious and I was having a great holiday. In reality, none of that was entirely true.
Yet, my food photography did not stop there!
These nachos were OK. Nothing to write home about. I felt it imperative that my following on Instagram know that I was doing #fun #summer #things with #guacamole.
This reminds me of my chocolate taco debacle that preceded it. I filtered this bad boy with some iPhone filters, and even I felt guilty posting it on Instagram because it tasted so bland.
The lighting! The filter I chose to make that hot fudge pop! Annie Leibovitz who?!
Anyway, this was not good. The bowl tasted like a big ol' tortilla chip. Because it was a big ol' tortilla chip. Tortilla chips are great with guacamole, and salsa, and rice and beans! A plain tortilla chip with chocolate sauce and whipped cream is not the way to go. It looks beautiful when photographed, though.
This just tasted dry. It was like someone handed me a stack of tortilla chips and no salsa or access to water. I think we decided to order this because it sounded pretty. I got a great picture but left feeling weird about savory desserts.
That reminds me of the time we went to a chocolate dessert bar. A dessert bar. A place dedicated to the art of dessert. Here is the beautiful photo I took of the experience:
OK, so several things: These look appropriately sized for a Keebler elf, and we also purchased this in Manhattan, so each baby dessert was priced at $47. I’m kidding. That tray did run us about $30, though.
Paying for the presentation is an expression right? Anyway, that was the deal here.
Oh! Powdered sugar on the holder thing! A cappuccino pudding alcohol shooter that looked like it would be the size only satisfactory to a lawn gnome? Yes!! The photo was begging to be taken!
“Remember how much that sucked?” my best friend said last night when I reminded her of this excursion.
Kelly and I wanted to eat at this place for months. One night we went, with no reservation, and the guy basically laughed in our faces and offered us the opportunity to buy $8 pity hot chocolate on our way out.
I had just turned 21 (apparently this was a strange time for me), so I was in that annoying naive drinking phase where I got excited about the possibility of turning anything into an alcohol-inclusive engagement. I’ve always had the most severe sweet tooth, so when I saw this place had chocolate and booze hand in hand, I told Kelly we had to go. I am the girl who bought chocolate chip cookie dough vodka for her 21st birthday. I have paid for my sins.
It was average, at best. And that’s being generous. I am no food critic, but the entire combo was nothing to write home about, as your 93-year-old grandmother would say. The lava cake was especially dry. The lava cake was short on the lava! This did not need a picture. The best part of the entire experience was the company. But I’m glad I took the picture at this angle with this lighting so people could see that Kelly and I were doing something fancy for the weekend.
Literally took a photo of this because they drew a heart in my matcha and I was emotionally affected.
I only posted this because my best friend Bob has stunning blue eyes and I didn’t hate how I looked in this photo. I wasn’t crazy about the popsicles (they had thick pieces of fruit in them), but Bob legitimately talked about how great they were for a half hour. One of us was all about the food. He should probably work for whatever popsicle company provided us these free desserts. He has very strong feelings.
I posted this photo on Instagram of me eating cold leftover pizza. This reignited the debate of the century: Is pineapple pizza repulsive? Hint: It’s not, but I posted this picture not because this particular pizza was phenomenal (it was OK) but with the sole purpose of torturing my friends who hate hot fruit on their 'za. #Postingwithpurpose.
Here I am, posting a hot brunch photo. This time, I didn’t even include the food. The bar is low. I borrowed Bob’s mimosa glass and begged him to capture this moment where my eyeliner was uneven but permissible.
So, each time I’ve posted food on Instagram, it’s never been about the food. Often, it’s for me to remember that evening, wherever I am, with whomever I am lucky enough to be joined by. At best, it’s another Instagram post for me to commemorate a good day, a day life felt breezy and I got to eat a pretty-looking food. At my worst, I throw a filter or angle on some food photos that I hope makes my life enviable — like I am a functioning human adult lady who totally knows what day it is and what she’s doing! I’m trying to be the former. Whether I post a filtered photo of food in that moment or not, there’s a good chance it’s made my day at least a little bit better. That, or I dropped said food item facedown on a rug, and no one could enjoy it.
Instagram: I probably should not have access to it.
Instagram is a beautiful necessary beast. The scientists have basically already decided Instagram is a prison for our confidence and ruins any hope of understanding the reality around us, correct? That being said, I love it!
I love Instagram for myriad reasons. It’s my biggest “everyone’s life is better than mine” tool. Instagram is constantly delivering me my self-hatred data.