We on Facebook think that other people are interested in our food. Whether it’s a particularly well-constructed sandwich, a vat of soup, or some kind of chunky, amorphous vegan concoction determinedly labeled “yummy!!”, it lands in my news feed. Are others really interested in our food?
I have a healthy interest in my own food, but I never understood the compulsion to photograph the food I cook and post it online before I eat it. In some ways, my own kitchen is still pretty mysterious to me – I feel like there are things about it that I have yet to grasp. Surely I should figure these things out before I let the internet in on the products of my kitchen labors? Like this problem with the dishes. Every morning, when I wake up, the counter is full of dirty dishes. How does this happen? Where do they come from? Do they scamper out of the cupboards at night for affairs with greasy pieces of chicken or a swim in some baked beans?
Then, as I woke up on a recent morning, I realized there was a way to answer all of my questions and dip my toes in the pool of digital food-sharing, all at once. For an entire day spent at home, I would photographically document everything that happened in our kitchen, and then post it on my blog. I could then look at the photos the next day for clues as to why the kitchen looks the way it does in the morning. Also, the question about whether we’re really interested in other people’s food will be answered. If this blog post gets the usual number of hits, I’ll assume that people really do like seeing others’ food online and that I’m an out-of-the-loop culinary curmudgeon. But if no-one’s interested in reading this post, at least I will know that I’m not alone in thinking that all the food-posting is weird. Whatever happens, and whether or not this is in good taste, this is a day in the life of my kitchen.
Day’s second round of dishes. Kitchen is clean. Now what?
Do you think it’s weird that I make lamb soup? Well I read it online and thought, why not? I like lamb. You can buy these handy frozen bags of shank and rib bones down at Reading Terminal Market for just a few bucks. Your soup gets such a great flavor if you have the patience for doing the stock right. I may have missed my calling in life, judging by how devoted I am to making soup. Or maybe it’s just that monosodium glutamate gives me migraines and it’s in some form in just about every can and box of soup on the planet, and I have to get simmering at home if I want to keep a viable soup quota in my life. A life without soup is no life at all.
Ok, round three of dishes.
Looking back over these photos, I’ve learned a lot. First, I realize that, given the opportunity, I will consume rosemary with every meal. Secondly, I now know that the ridiculously impractical habit of eating something every few hours has consequences. I should found a new diet system in which adherents can eat all that they want, as long as each meal component is cooked and served on a separate dish that must be washed by hand. I also learn that those morning dishes are a direct function of how many times I did the dishes the day before. In this case, being greeted by the dishes above (the morning after the eggs and the cornbread and the lamb soup and the smoothie and the chicken) means that, as the photos document, I did the dishes only three times during the previous day. If I gave up activities like earning money and cleaning the rest of my apartment, perhaps I could one day go to bed with a clean kitchen.
This raises a host of new questions. What if we have children in the future and the number of people eating meals made in my kitchen increases? Will I ever leave the sink? When I visit my parents’ home, I notice that the presence of two active dish-doers (myself and my mother) does not prevent the morning dishes – in fact, with dish-doers accounting for two-fifths of the total household, the damn things pile up even faster than at my own apartment, where the population of dish-doers accounts for 50% of the total residents. Parents, if any of you have mastered balancing the dishes with a productive life, please offer your advice.
Finally, I don’t know if you enjoyed the online pictures of my food. Having tried broadcasting my meals to the world, it’s unlikely I’ll do it again. I’m satisfied to have made headway on the mystery of the dishes, and you can weigh in on whether other people’s meals posted online are the least bit interesting.