Every tummy seated around the table rumbles in hunger and anticipation of the meal, expertly prepared by some amazingly gifted people. The food finally arrives. Salivation kicks into high gear. The dishes are artfully presented and the smells whet ravenous appetites. Everyone is dying to tuck in. As the husband reaches for his fork, the wife kindly smiles at him and asks “can we pause for a moment?” She then reaches for her iPhone.
When BBC World Service called me from Lodon to discuss how dining has become a much difference experience in the era of social media, I was excited to participate as I have first hand knowledge of all sides of this debate.
I know how ironic this is on the heels of our previous post featuring the new Turkish restaurant, Kiyi at the Fairmont Ajman and the host of other posts I have photographed while dining out.
How social media changed how we eat
We represent the three sides of this debate.
The first side is the click-happy social media butterfly. The second perspective is the chef wanting his/her food to be enjoyed at the peak of perfection. The third and final perspective is somewhat of a middle ground- click and share but do so quickly and inconspicuously.
We know that even though restaurants thrive on people sharing pics of their food online, pausing for too long to take photographs slows down service and how quickly a restaurant can turn tables, which affects profits in smaller restaurants that do not have the space to allow for only one profitable seating for the night.
Plus if you have ever gone out for a quiet and romantic dinner or a serious deal-making business dinner, the last thing you need is for some inconsiderate person to be using flash photography at the table right in front of you or standing on chairs trying to get a better angle for Instagram.
It is even worse when it is breakfast. After all who wants cold coffee or tea because someone has to get a better picture? Plus we all wake up hungry anyway. Sitting watching your eggs and toast get cold before your eyes is a sentence worse than solitary confinement.
But if you love Instagram like me, you will appreciate, like and event comment on a great #onthetable shot when you see one! That said, if we are to really be social with the people we are actually dining with, we have to take them into consideration. Social media friends are nice to hang out with online but you cannot replace the people who show up to be with you face to face. Maybe then there can be a few compromises.
This post was published in Kari’s food column “When Hunger Strikes” in the wknd magazine of the Khaleej Times
Tagging our blogging friends Sally Prosser from My Custard Pie, Samantha Wood from Foodiva, Ishita Saha from Ishita Unblogged, who were all part of the Badoit dinner arranged by Restronaut at La Serre some time ago.