Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Is The Unexamined Meal Worth Eating?

I can't put my interweb finger on it but I'm certain I've posted here before about how I've been writing down on my refrigerator calendar what we eat for dinner every night.

The process has been revelatory to me in terms of how often we really eat take out food, for instance.  Reviewing the entries helps me avoid the sneaking suspicion I am cooking the same three dishes over (and over and over...).  It is a simple practice, one that is easy to stick to since even if I forget to record anything for a while it only requires me remembering what I ate for dinner for a few days in a row to catch back up.

LawSchoolGirl tops that.  Periodically she keeps a food diary, recording every single thing she eats and tallying up the calorie total day to day.  When I asked she took the time to show me several sites set up to help folks get started, the idea being that we often eat more than we realize, and/or keeping a record helps people stick to a particular intake level.

That sort of discipline is well and good, but when it comes to keeping a food record, my E for Effort currently goes hands down to Javier Garcia, featured in a recent NY Times article entitled "First Camera, Then Fork".

Garcia has photographed everything he has eaten for the past five years.  Snacks included.

That's a lot of photographs.

Apparently the trend is spreading.  People are sharing not only what they cooked, but also what they are eating, and they are doing so via every available social media outlet.
I find it fascinating enough I submitted my own shot of the last bit of Brazilian Cheese Bread I'd baked to the interactive feature at the Times where they are posting photos solicited from readers.

I'll hold off adding "featured photographer in the NYT" to my resumé for the time being as my shot hasn't shown up yet and I've had it with obsessively re-checking.

Honestly, while I capture most of our initial forays into recipe or food categories here on the blog, I'd say most of what I eat remains unchronicled so far (you're welcome!).

During the course of maintaining AustinAgrodolce there have been dishes I would have blogged about but either forgot to take or at times made a conscious decision not to stop to take photos.  In my opinion reading about a recipe without any photos included can quickly veer towards tedious.  So for me, no photo typically=no blog post.

And I decided early on not to take photos in restaurants.  Even before the economy tanked most places I know had already put in as many tables as would physically fit and in close quarters I think flash photos are intrusive.  

Your thoughts?  Does the idea of looking at other people's meals pique your curiosity or does that sort of food one updishship leave you cold?  Do you regularly share photos of food you eat with your friends via posts or tweets or facebook updates?  Have you noticed people taking photos of their food while dining out?  Did you find it irksome?

I'll never be as methodical as Garcia and just can't see myself happily whiling away the hours on Flickr checking out "I Ate This".  That said, it could be visually fascinating to chronicle one meal a day, just for grins.  How long before it ceased being fun and started becoming an obsession is anybody's guess.


Iris said...

Your photo is up now on the Times site, Deb! http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/04/06/dining/eating-now.html

Iris said...

Yours is number 54 of 320!

TexasDeb said...

Thanks Iris! I'm actually over to 59 or thereabouts now- my position shifts as they are adding in new uploads on the front end of the list.

Pardon me while I quickly update my CV to include my New York Times photo credit!

PassivePastry said...

yay!! i submitted a photo of some cookie sandwiches, mmmmmm.

I could never keep a food diary of sorts, just as i couldn't keep up with counting "points" while briefly trying weight watchers.

i DO take photos of almost every meal while on vacation or in a foreign place.

TexasDeb said...

Ppastry: How fun - I'm popping over to look for your photo immediately if not sooner.

I'm not disciplined enough to count anything for very long so I try to have a feel for keeping a balance of light and heavy meals if I'm watching my weight (which is nearly all the time now).

Interesting about the vacation food - that is how one woman got started in all this - sending shots to her Mom to show her what she was eating on vacation.