Enough with fluffy sourdoughs and gorgeous cakes. What about food that is deliberately repelling in its awfulness?by Tom Whyman / May 28, 2020 / Leave a comment
Under lockdown, we have witnessed something of a renaissance in food pictures: social media users bored, quarantined and furloughed, are proudly uploading pictures of gooey, oozing cakes and crisp, bubbly sourdough; extravagant sandwiches dripping gorgeous sauce from under the crusts.
But it is an under-acknowledged fact that on the internet, posting pictures of your food is actually quite a dangerous game. I don’t just mean that it can sometimes be tedious—other users finding it a bit boring, like when people tell you about their dreams (along with the glut of lockdown sourdoughs has come a glut of people complaining about all the sourdoughs). The real horror is that if you post a picture of some food gone wrong—like, really wrong—you may never be able to live it down.
Consider something like this rather sad-looking cream cheese bagel, posted this week by American political consultant Jordan Uhl with the caption: “who says [Washington] dc doesn’t have good bagels. I’d like to see nyc top THIS!!!!!” To the say the bagel is underwhelming would be an understatement; the picture went viral with over 11.7k likes. Uhl’s picture straddles that internet space where a reader may not think it’s a joke—we can just about imagine a terrible guy in Washington thinking this is a decent bagel. Or we could simply gaze in awe at how terrible it is.
who says dc doesn't have good bagels. i'd like to see nyc top THIS!!!!! pic.twitter.com/RpolczCCBS
— jordan (@JordanUhl) May 24, 2020
But sometimes bad pictures of food are clearly coming from a place that is 100 per cent sincere. Years ago, I remember seeing a “47p vegan lunch,” an image originally tweeted (and since deleted) by an account called @VeganRevolution, which depicted what can only be described as some beans on toast with cucumber on it, smugly captioned with: “£0.47p. That’s the cost of my Vegan lunch. But apparently that’s too expensive for people addicted to cheese & meat.” And earlier this year, my Twitter timeline graced me with a picture of a single hulking slab of what looks like boiled or perhaps microwaved steak, pale and grey with a weird crust round one of its sides like some horrible pie.
On Twitter accounts such as “Rate My Plate,” users occasionally stray into this sort of terrain—although no image I’ve yet seen on that account has been seared…