The Phone Eats First
By CHLOE CITRON
Savory caramelized onion pizza, sweet vanilla ice cream covered waffles drizzled with Nutella, salty french fries…I take pictures of it all. Photographing food is a social phenomenon that has sparked interest from teenagers to grandparents alike.
Taking pictures of my food provides me with joy. When I get the perfect angle mixed with the right light, it is a magical thing. After some editing, when the food finally looks good enough to eat, I dive right in. I take pictures of all types of food. From bagels and lox to fried green tomatoes to omelets with hash browns to spicy tuna with crispy rice. My family sometimes gets annoyed when we are sharing food and I won’t let them eat it until I take a picture, but they understand the happiness I get from taking pictures of food. Sometimes, even my parents take pictures of their food when they aren’t with me and send them to me because they know I will appreciate it.
In fact, taking pictures of your food has scientifically been proven to make it taste better. Researchers at the University of San Diego and Saint Joseph’s University conducted a study with 120 participants and had half of them take a picture of their red velvet cake before they ate it and had the other half eat without photographing. They found that the picture-taking group found it to taste better than those who did not photograph. In addition, according to a new study in the “Journal of Consumer Marketing,” researchers think that taking pictures before a meal makes people anticipate what’s to come, which leads to greater enjoyment while they are consuming their food. So instead of getting mad at someone for taking pictures of their food, maybe you should be jealous of them because it is likely that they are going to enjoy their meal more.
Even better than taking pictures of food is sharing those pictures with other people. Usually I post my best food pictures on Instagram. This way everyone else can see the food I eat. I also follow over 100 Instagram accounts that are solely dedicated to food. Instagram is a great way to find new restaurants to try as well. People can add the location of the restaurant to their Instagram post which allows me to discover many new places to eat. I have found many restaurants through Instagram such as Sadelles, a brunch restaurant that specializes in smoked fish and bagels and The Meatball Shop, which has a wide variety of amazing meatballs, sauces and pastas. Senior Lauren G. who also uses Instagram to find new restaurants said, “It’s much easier to look at pictures with a geotag of a restaurant to decide if you want to go there rather than flipping through lists of restaurants in a Zagat guide book.”
Instead of the usual still image of food, Instagram has now enabled users to upload 15 second videos. Short videos of food like the “Hit Me” dessert from Catch NYC are popping up all over the web. This dessert is a tower of devil’s food cake, brownie, white chocolate ice cream, and is topped off with a klondike bar. It is served with a side of hot melted chocolate which you pour on top of the tower. The chocolate slightly melts the klondike bar so when you take a spoonful, the klondike bar cracks and its insides drip down over the chocolate tower. In addition to posting normal videos, Instagram has released its own app called Boomerang. A Boomerang video is a cross between a video and a GIF; many people use it to capture their food on Instagram. Senior Olivia S. uses Boomerang and explained, “Videos are becoming really popular on Instagram and I love it. It’s a great way to see more of what other people are eating. Actually, I took a Boomerang of my frozen yogurt and I keep watching it on repeat because it just looks so good.”
However, looking at pictures of food might not be all good. Studies in “Brain and Cognition Journal“ have found that looking at pictures of food can make you eat even if you are not hungry, therefore possibly causing you to gain weight. Looking at pictures of food can make you have immediate physical reactions as well such as salivating, increasing your heart rate and even increasing your insulin levels. Olivia S. stated, “Typically before I go to sleep I like to look at food Instas. My mom says it’s torturous, but I love it. My mouth starts salivating because I look at all of these really good-looking pictures and now even videos of amazing looking food.” Olivia added that she tries to follow accounts that post healthier food options rather than ones that post junk food.
While it remains unclear if looking at food on Instagram is good or bad for you, I’m going to do what makes me happiest and that is snapping shots of all the food I can. The saying, “The phone eats first” is 100% true for me.
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