There probably has not been a time when there have been more food blogs or more interested in food and restaurants in general. People use instagram to post pictures of everything they eat, Pinterest to pin foodgasmic pictures and then try out the recipes, Food Porn for their daily dose of, well, porn, Foursquare to check-in at their restaurant of choice, Yelp to choose a restaurant based on ratings, Urbanspoon for help on deciding what to eat, OpenTable to make reservations, and so on.
Are people really hungry or something? Bored? Stressed? I mean, I get it, I like eating too. But what is it about the here and now. Food trucks in cities have never been so popular, and Michelin Stars have never been so difficult to give out.
Perhaps an interest in food means something more about a person, in the scope of personality and society.
In terms of personality, a person who likes food is worth being around. You want to be friends with somebody who likes to eat. I personally HATE it when you go out to eat with somebody but they don’t eat, talk about how fat they feel the whole time, talk about how they’re on a diet, act moody or complain about the food in general. The eating experience is very precious to me, so I don’t care if you just want to spend time with me or something, please don’t go out with me if you are going to be unpleasant, and we’ll find another time to see each other. People who are willing to enjoy eating and food are less likely to be stingy or uptight. It means that they appreciate what is sustaining them. Even from a Darwinian perspective, healthy people have an appetite. When do you generally lose your appetite?—when you’re depressed, sick, angry…Yeah, I went there.
Eating is fun! And it’s also all about the experience. I could go to the same restaurant over and over again and order the same thing, but the level of enjoyment depends purely on the people I go with.
In terms of society, to be able to enjoy good food, you need to have the means time wise and financially. Being able to go around to different restaurants and try different foods, cheap and not-so-cheap means that you have to have a career that pays enough (or a support system that is generous enough) and simultaneously have the time to use those means. It also means you can’t be lazy, whether that means actually going out to the restaurants or cooking a good-looking meal yourself, rather than resorting to Chef Boyardee (guilty as charged). Especially now, whether or not we are still in the recession, you want to seem like you are thriving in one way or the other, and food seems to be a means of making yourself relevant.
And then there’s also the difference between loving to eat and loving food. People who love to eat will stuff their faces with anything in site, without fully appreciating the food. People who love food focus on the quality, rather than the actual act of eating. But that isn’t to say you can’t be both. I definitely am. I am constantly hungry and wanting to eat and frankly, all I talk about is eating and when I’m going to eat and where I’m going to eat and with whom I’m going to eat. But I also have an intense appreciation for exactly where I go to eat and what I eat. I’m not just going to eat a mediocre wet burrito at a Mexican restaurant in France.
I obviously love food and eating a lot. But that doesn’t have to be the case for everybody. What I can’t argue with, though, is that the number of people choosing the perfect filter for their omelette or the number of people writing about food is only increasing. Whatever the reason, I’m not complaining. Just don’t try to compete with me with food pictures because I’ll win.