Monday, April 19, 2010

The Burning Question... Answered

I started this blog in August, 2006, almost four years ago, and in all that time, I've posted only around 5 pictures of the foods I cook, eat, and rave about. Well, maybe not 5; more like... 7 or 8. The point is, I seem to have posted too few food photos that I'm sure at least some of you may be wondering... What does she have against food photography?

Just to set the record straight--because there are days when I like to pretend that I'm a celebrity "setting the record straight", as it were, in an effort to contain the backlash of a controversy I am embroiled in. Today is one of those days...

Anyway, just to set the record straight, I don't have anything against food photography. (Twit your friends...)

I think it takes great skill to, for instance, take a cheesecake, set it against a magenta background, top it with real blueberries with a berry or two falling off the cake, drizzle it with viscous blueberry puree so that the creamy, white, cake looks like it's drooling blueberries... and not eat the cake. Instead, you get your trusty camera, fiddle with it while ignoring. Ignoring the cake. Then you take a photograph of your cake because, perhaps, you'd rather have the photograph than the real thing.

THAT takes skill... and a little bit of crazy.

One of the more well-known experiments in psychology was the Marshmallow Test where children were brought, one by one, into a room where a marshmallow sat on a plate on a table. A pretty, yummy, marshmallow. The children were told, "You may eat the marshmallow. However, you have a choice to not eat this marshmallow and wait a bit. If you can wait, oh say, 5 minutes, someone will come in and give you another one. So then, you can have two marshmallows. Two." Then they were left alone to make that all important decision: to eat (now) or not to eat.

Well, turns out, some kids gobbled up the marshmallow immediately. The promise of a second marshmallow was not enough to override the hunger to have the first marshmallow, NOW!

I'm convinced that food stylists and photographers would have passed the marshmallow test as children. I wouldn't have. I would have gobbled up that marshmallow even before the experimenter finished her spiel. I would have set a new record for failing the marshmallow test. It would have shamed my parents.

That's why I don't take too many pictures of the foods I cook. I don't have the patience for it. Usually, my plate's half empty by the time I remember to take a picture. And it seems vainglorious to insert a photo of me or my family AFTER having eaten, looking sated and almost Zen. (Seriously, have you ever encountered or yourself used the word "vainglorious" in a blog post? Uh-may-zing. Sometimes, I surprise myself).

You can't take a pic of your cake and eat it too. At least, not at the same time.

1 comment:

My said...

Ading, remember Ditchie's take on the marshmallow test? =)