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.