Monday, August 5, 2019
Rant: "Ugly" Food Deserves Love Too
In the food world, where Instagram is immensely popular, you're been fed a lie. You've been led to believe that only "beautiful" food is worthy of attention. If a stylish and compelling photo can't be taken of a dish, then it's ignored. It's a shallow and insidious belief, and easily spreads beyond the food world, so that people begin to believe that outer beauty is most important in many other areas too. It teaches the wrong lesson. We need to battle this lie, and embrace the fact that even "ugly" food deserves love too.
The photo above probably isn't "worthy" of Instagram because sausage gravy generally isn't seen as appealing on a picture. It's often considered an "ugly" food, and thus not worthy of attention. However, this dish, a Hash Stack, is one of the most popular items at the restaurant where it's served. It's pure comfort food, a delicious blend of flavors and textures, and definitely worthy of your attention. This "ugly" dish shouldn't be ignored as it possesses its own "inner beauty," a food for the soul.
Chain restaurants understand the appeal of "beautiful" food and their commercials, often using a food stylist, work hard to depict their foods in the best light. However, when you actually patronize those restaurants, what you get served probably doesn't resemble the beauty of their commercials. It is another type of lie, one pertinent to Instagram as well. Restaurants may help Instagrammers take the best photo of their food, although when you dine there, your dish might not actually look like those photos.
In addition, a photo doesn't tell you how a dish tastes. All you see is the outer shell, and not what is within. Beautiful food can lack sufficient flavor and taste. It might be too dry, too overcooked, too unbalanced, too salty, etc. And ugly food can be the opposite, some of the best food you've ever tasted. We need to look beyond appearances, to get to the heart of what is truly important. Would you rather eat something that is pretty and tasteless, or something ugly and flavorful?
We need to stop promoting the idea that only beautiful food is worthy. We need to embrace the myriad "beauty" that is found in all dishes, even if on the outside, they don't follow traditional images of beauty. "Ugly" food deserves just as much attention and we shouldn't settle for less.