“How are the baking classes going” a work colleague asked. “Ah, my Christmas cake was a bit of a flop so I’ll now be eating the lot rather than saving it for Christmas” I told him. He went on to suggest that I blog about it and reminded me that not everything has to be perfect.
Why hadn’t I thought of this I wondered. I’d taken a before picture of the ingredients which I’d saved from the bin; buying yellow stickers, using food sharing apps. I’d planned on taking a snap of the finished product and sharing on Instagram, showing how you can eat well for less, I didn’t bother when the bottom of the cake stuck to the tin as I lifted it out.
The last blog post that I wrote was on eating well for less during the festive period, yet I had no intention of sharing that I’d baked a Christmas cake until Andre gave me the nudge I needed. It’s not like I’m precious about food; it was just the other day that I found an orange on the pavement, proudly declared this to an old flame on the phone before proceeding to eat it. I realised, that whilst I’ll publicly advocate to remove the 10 seconds from the 10 second rule, that I attribute a whole different meaning to street food, and will happily eat your leftovers, that something changes when posting on social media. It’s less about it being public, more the sharing of an image.
No matter where the ingredients come from I still want a glossy image, of a perfect cake. And I’m not alone in this, we can get lost scrolling through pictures of avocado bun burgers, food bloggers arranging photo sets to snap a cold meal; steam will blur a picture you know!
The dilemma is that an image is a perception, a representation, profile, it is what is put forwarded and presented, polished, manipulated even, it is not the subject, or object in its entirety. Food on the other hand is the substance. It’s energy, it’s what fuels us, comforts, soothes, nourishes, keeps us alive. The more we focus on the aesthetics of food the more we lose sight of its primary function. The more pressure on supermarkets, farmers to provide consumers with perfect looking produce. The easier it becomes for us to say I don’t like that, I’ve gone off it, maybe I have an intolerance, I don’t know how to cook it, oh just bin it.
My Christmas cake didn’t go to waste, it was delicious afternoon tea and I shared it with my Andre who asked for any royalties from the blog; cake is as far it stretches mate ha!
He couldn’t tell what had gone wrong with it, and neither can you in the image that I’ve attached. Because it’s simply that an image, the cake was still tasty and when all said and done, it’s the substance that’s important. It’s food that satisfies you, images just make you hungry.