The Facebook Food Compulsion; or, Let’s Get To The Bottom of These Dirty Dishes

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.

My husband got up before I did and started a pot of oatmeal, so that explains the saucepan on the stove. But the rest of the dishes? Apparently at least two different blenders were used quite recently.
Despite having no idea of the origin of these dishes, a pre-breakfast clean-up is completed.
And now, my breakfast: mushroom omelet with fresh rosemary. If you think it's weird to put rosemary in my eggs, please keep it to yourself.
My mother hates mushrooms and says they taste like dirt. She doesn't notice when the person next to her in the car is sucking on a Fireball jawbreaker, but claims she can smell the dirt cooking if I put mushrooms on the stove at her house.
Saute those mushrooms for several minutes in some butter, and then pour your scrambled eggs right into the hot pan with them.
Breakfast. If this was a cooking show there would be footage of me taking one bite and shaking my head in gustatory ecstasy before the commercials roll. Sorry to rob you of that if you are really interested in my food.
And now, husband makes his breakfast. We like our breakfasts prepared differently. He likes twice as many eggs, not scrambled, here shown with diced sage-seasoned beef sausage. Could not possibly combine preparation with the eggs you see in the previous pictures.
Husband's breakfast. I'm not really down with the oatmeal so that suits me fine.
I did the dishes less than an hour ago. What is all this?

Day’s second round of dishes.  Kitchen is clean. Now what?

Wouldn't some cornbread be really nice with lunch?
I opt to make muffins because I think they're easier to store and serve than squares. But as soon as I take these bad boys out of the oven I realize how much I royally hate to wash muffin pans.
Husband grows hungry and snacks on bread with banana slices, almond butter and blueberry jam, also cracking open a corn muffin for good measure.
Lamb soup for lunch.
This broth was made a few days ago from a pound or two of lamb bones, some onions, carrots, potatoes, garlic, rutabaga, salt, rosemary and a splash of vinegar, all simmered gently for about twelve hours.
While the broth comes to a boil with a sprig of rosemary and some salt and garlic, slice and saute an onion and peel and dice a few carrots and small potatoes.

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.

 

Put your carrots and potatoes in. Simmer til they're cooked. Then add the sauteed onions. If this isn't the proper way to make soup, I don't really care. If your husband likes pepper in his soup, he can have it in his own bowl.
Lunch.
Afternoon snack. Banana, strawberry, blueberries, and cultured milk with ice. Could snacks like this have anything to do with the morning blenders? Please let me know your thoughts.
When the @#$% did this happen?

Ok, round three of dishes.

 

Dinner. Cover a chicken with olive oil, salt and all manner of herbs: basil, rosemary, onion and garlic powder, thyme. Whatever you want.
Roasted chicken and cooked mashed buttered yams.
Dinner (tonight and tomorrow).
Late night Netflix snack: tea and the last of that popcorn someone unloaded on me after their office Christmas party.
No reason to wash these now. I'm going to bed.

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.

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4 Comments

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  1. You cook, Lala does the dishes. Lala cooks, you do the dishes. Very simple –
    Going out to dinner at Aja in Grants pass, they do the dishes.

  2. Excellent solution, except husband always promises to do the dishes “later”….which I think he defines as maybe over the next week or two.

  3. My first reaction was “I think it’s so silly when people post photos of their food!” and then was very surprised to see how very delicious all of your food looked! (Homemade muffins *and* soup! Cooked breakfast! Snacks that didn’t come straight out of a package! How wonderful is that?!) And looking at the pile of dishes just made me laugh–although I feel your pain. I do have to say that having a dishwasher (machine) is wonderful even if there is just two of you because it gives you a place to stash dirty dishes so that you don’t have to look at them any more! Yay!

  4. 1. Get a dishwasher
    2. Don’t like mushrooms; don’t like pictures of mushrooms in food
    3. You’re a good cook

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