One of my parents’ main tips – and perhaps everyone’s parents – as a child was not to forget to pray before eating. The advice then becomes a ritual that everyone applies before eating, begging the Almighty that the food eaten becomes a blessing for the body. This prayer is coated with gratitude because it is still able to chew the crispy broccoli and tempeh fried today when more than 20 thousand people die because they do not have food to eat.
As they mature, the ritual of praying before eating changes. Me and you are The generation that lives closely with the interaction in the internet universe. Today’s generation lives in a global village with the latest devices for connecting virtual networks.
In order to support our virtual friendship network, the ritual of praying before eating is forced to succumb to a new ritual that is more important: taking photos of food that has been served with a camera device, tinkering with a few photos with Vscocam software to look more enjoyable, then share them with the media social so that the entire network of virtual friends around the world can see it. After that, we pray—or some people forget to pray—and eat the food.
Eating is no longer just a matter of meeting the basic needs of nutrition for the body. Eating is an affirmation of the existence of generation 2.0. Means of looking happy.
But isn’t eating a part of culture? Just like music or traveling that should be imaged and talked about is not only a matter of basic needs, but also the socio-cultural that surrounds the rite of eating along with the variety of food patterns? So it’s okay to upload photos of food and food to social media, right?
Legitimate. Not wrong at all. But let’s contemplate the habit of uploading our food photos by understanding the columnist’s Zen RS idea, when discussing traveling which is also loved by the 2.0 generation. In his essay Zen blamed the behavior of the young people today is similar to the mooi indie painting model of the Dutch East Indies era. This type of painting only depicts the beauty of the Indies as a paradise whose contents are merely beautiful, forgetting deeper discussion of various socio-political problems and the turmoil of the archipelago.
Likewise traveling, generation 2.0 according to Zen struggles in the case of beauty of tourist attractions that must be preserved its beauty and distributed to the world through social media.Travel is a matter of looking for pleasure, where travelers 2.0 have learned the humanistic sides of residents who live in tourist areas, or how horizontal conflicts between residents vs. citizens and citizens vs. countries occur in some of these tourist areas.
Three-quarter money with a traveling case discussed by Zen RS, could be a case of eating and food generation 2.0 is a form of mooi indie. A 1: 1 scale food photo on our Instagram is an attempt to portray the beauty of Archipelago’s food, or western hemisphere food that we eat on the Indonesian mainland. This habit seems even more adorable because what we are after is the number of ‘love signs’ or ‘thumbs’ that other people pinned to our photos, not the interaction of discussing the ritual of eating in the comments column. How do other people want to comment and discuss if our photo caption does not slip the seeds for the discussion?
I often observe Instagram accounts whose contents are ‘eating stories’ and other matters of foodporn. Photo Caption? Do not expect there will be a slick narrative a la Bondan Winarno or Anthony Bourdain. Instead of its contents simply an invitation to eat, eat, and eat. Sometimes for those who are observant enough to observe, will understand that the photo and caption is advertorial, the account owner is paid to advertise. The advertisement is shrouded in genuine testimonials.
The case of uploading food photos on social media is no longer the existential of young people. There is a velocity of money in it, between the owner of a restaurant or diner and the owner of a social media account (read: buzzer). The contents of the comments column are even more interesting, containing young people who marked their friends, some with the invitation “wow, let’s eat here”, and other similar comments.
Returning to the previous discussion, a collection of photos of food on social media will become a cultural matter if we talk about the cultural elements and not just hunt for ‘signs of love’ or ‘look good’ comments. In one of his writings on his blog, chef and culinary writer, the late Anthony Bourdain , explains how the process of documenting the world of culinary changing. Previously, Bourdain only described the enjoyment of each meal. Later this tattooed man understands: eating cannot be separated from culture. That the case of eating and food is able to tell the social and political independence of the community owner.
This shift can then be seen from television programs that Bourdain fostered. For example, in one episode of Parts Unknown , when Bourdain visited Hanoi. Instead of just telling the exoticism of Vietnamese street food, Bourdain also explores how the condition of the country that was repeatedly plagued by the war. In between sipping the delicious sauce of Bun Cha with President Barack Obama in a tavern, Bourdain also explained how the relationship between Vietnam and the United States, two countries that were hostile in the great war. Bourdain neatly describes how the tradition of Vietnamese food is now side by side with American fast food restaurants.
Imagine, how neat if our food and food photos on social media or blogs are accompanied by narratives about how these foods exist in the community, or sudden awareness of ‘this country is not fine’ when Sayur asem that we cook fail to cook because LPG runs out and we have trouble finding replacement gas around the house. Starting with a baper story about sayur asem failing to cook can provoke discussion with other global village audiences that our oil and gas governance is problematic.
Is not this extraordinary, we can train the sensitivity of our discussion and analysis of the country’s problems from food and food photos. We can tell the story of Indonesian people to the world like when Nuran Wibisono slipped the story of Pak Syamsul, a soto craftsman who migrated from East Java to Yogyakarta. Behind the narration of how delicious a bowl of soto with beef brisket and a piece of fried lungs is an interesting human story included.
Photos of eating and food on social media will indeed portray us more cool in the presence of global villagers. Being cool is a means of generation 2.0 looking happy. But it is worth pondering, what if the coolness is hypocracy? A kind of our self-esteem to cover up the fact that there are actually still many things about humanity that we miss talking about behind the beauty of the food picture. Are we willing to ignore the story of humanity in order to get many ‘signs of love’ and ‘thumbs up’? and the pseudo stamp is called ‘cool’ and ‘present’?
Previously featured in Bahasa Indonesia on Serunai.co