Confessions Of A Food Gawker

One of my fondest memories as a little girl is of going to a restaurant with my family for lunch or dinner. Mom, Dad, my sister and I, just the four of us spending quality time together, eating our favorite food at our favorite restaurant. It was something all of us looked forward to. Though I can’t quite decide if it was the food or the company which held the greater pull. Perhaps, it was both. The perfect combination.

How we loved eating out together! Mom and I would especially be so excited. On our table for four, mom and I would sit on one side with my dad and sister on the other. Always that way. Always such a happy experience, a happy memory.

We lived in a small hill station town called Shillong back then. So, there weren’t that many restaurants but for that time, I think a few were still plenty enough. With no zomato or online restaurant reviews, it was our own experience that made us pick our favorite restaurants.

There was this place called Broadway which used to be our favorite initially. We would find ourselves there every few months. Yes, every few months. Strange yet very normal because eating out in the 90s wasn’t as frequent as it is now. You may find it surprising but I have friends who had never been to a restaurant before moving to college. I guess it was just how it was back then, life in the 90s. Anyways. We especially found ourselves in Broadway during Durga Puja shopping. It was kind of a family tradition, a loved one at that.

The outing. The Lunch. The dishes. The conversations. If I had a time machine, I’d go back to that time this very second.

It’s strange but so many of our memories are woven around food. Have you noticed? It is certainly true for me.

Food and memories.

There was this dish that we never failed to order at every single lunch or dinner outside. Special kali daal butter fry I think it was called. We always ordered it irrespective of the other dishes or even the restaurant. It was a constant. It just had to be there. Even when we started frequenting another restaurant called Bamboo Hut , this special kali daal butter fry never left our table. I wish I had taken a picture of it. But the food was all about eating and not clicking at the point of time. No wonders, I just have memories of how it looked, served piping-hot on a beautiful bronze kadhai. Makes me wonder how things have changed now.

Every time I go to a restaurant these days or even eat something special at home, I always have a voice inside my head telling me ‘click, click, click before you eat‘. And do you know something? I’m not the only one who hears this voice. If it’s food and looks good, it has got to be clicked. That’s the trend these days. That’s what most of us do.

Somehow the experience of eating out has today become as much about food gawking as eating. It makes me wish we had cell phones with cameras back in the 90s as well. How I would have loved to click that volcano chicken which used to be served on a tiny burner, the gravy bubbling just like hot lava. That would have been something. Or, that Sunday Chicken Curry with extra potatoes for both sisters. The Monday Lunch box made extra special with the leftover chicken curry, the dinner spread at birthdays and anniversaries, or those elaborate offerings placed decoratively in the prayer room during festivals. It would have been so good to have them captured in pixels and not just in the gallery of my memory lane.

If it’s food and looks good, it has got to be clicked. That’s the trend these days.

Having said that I also know that this urge to capture everything we eat has reached addictive proportions. I’m no saint either so I know.

But think of what social media has done. Facebook, Twitter and especially Instagram. They have brought food and photography together in ways never seen before. And I must admit, it’s a marriage made in heaven. Today, a restaurant is not only judged by the reviews it has on social media but also by visual proof in the form of pictures of items on their menu. A whole new line of business is thriving today. And I’m happy it is.

As I have admitted before too, I spend a lot of my time on Instagram gawking at ridiculously good looking dishes. I don’t know about you but it just makes me so happy. I look at those Proper Tasty videos, not because I want to learn how to cook. Not in the least. I do it because it makes me happy to see delicious food being prepared. Call me crazy but that’s just how it is.

Food, the pictures of food, makes this foodie happy. I have dreams of one day devouring every delicious dish I see on my screen. Well, what can I say, I just can’t help it or the innate desire to click pictures of everything I eat!

Do you fell the same way too? What are your thoughts on food photography? What does it do to you?

And most importantly, tell me what is that one dish from your childhood that you wish to have photographed and posted on social media had it been in vogue back then? Describe it for all the food lovers out there.

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17 thoughts on “Confessions Of A Food Gawker

  1. I think there’s a beauty to food that is captured well on social media today. As with everything there should not be overdoing of it but I guess that depends on the consumer too. (Oh I just punned! Consume+food+ consumer) 😉

    But you’re right about best memories being associated with family and food. What fun we had as kids 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah…you’ve voiced my thoughts in this post! I love watching those Proper Tasty videos too for no reason, as also the contended expressions of the jury of Master Chef and Nigella Lawson whipping up some yummy magic on screen. As a kid, we used to get this thick milkshake kind of drink called “Tutti Fruity” which was topped with lot of chopped cherries. One tall glass of this visual delight was equivalent to having a whole meal. I wish I could have captured that in a pic. What a pity, they don’t serve it in restaurants anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Volcano Chicken sounds cute. I love the names given to foods – so creative aren’t they? Like you we too hardly ate out during our childhood. When I started working in Delhi my office was in the same complex as Nirula’s, a pretty famous ‘fast food’ joint back then. And they had this delicious banana split – three gorgeous scoops of ice cream in that long dish. That’s what I had after I got my first ever salary. I’d have liked to save up a picture of that. I wonder now whether it really was as wonderful as I remember it to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes, the names certainly are so enticing.. I could just picture the banana split..we grew up in such simpler times, didn’t we Tulika? Sometimes I wonder of the kids these days are actually fortunate to have so many things, gadgets at their disposal or maybe they are missing out on so much which we had and enjoyed..

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You wouldn’t want to see food from the 1950’s United States. Not that it was ugly, but for today’s palate, it would be strange – like Jell-O salads, to name one of the tamer ones. My family didn’t eat out frequently, either. When we did, we went to a cafeteria and ate what, today, is called comfort food. My father would have so loved digital photography and the ability to take thousands of pictures without a care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh comfort food is just my kind of food.. I wish to sample a lot from the American cuisine too one day.. I like what I see on television though, the food from the diners especially..

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  5. Papa has been to Shillong for his Indian History Congress back in 90s. He used to talk about the city when we were kids. Coming to food, I’m come from a family that lives to eat. So many memories that it’s hard to put in comments but yes, will try writing a post one day 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s interesting isn’t it how we would all eat yummy food without taking photos. Honestly, I’d love to go back to this restaurant close to where I lived in Bombay and take a photo of their Pav Bhaji. Till date I believe it’s the best Pav bhaji oozing with butter and so delicious you want to lick the plate after licking your fingers. And now I’m craving that!

    Liked by 1 person

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