Friday, December 16, 2016

I Don't Get It

Mr Minx and I each have an Instagram account (@neal.patterson and @minxeats, respectively - please follow!) I spend a few minutes each day looking at images in my feed. Lots of random shit goes through my head when I do this and I'm going to share some of it with you. (Lucky you!)

Red velvet cake. I don't get it. Red velvet used to be chocolate cake made with non-alkalized cocoa and an acidic ingredient like buttermilk, which kept the cocoa looking somewhat red. More red-ish, as opposed to dark brown. However, most cocoas are "Dutch processed," which makes them darker, necessitating the use of artificial colorants in red velvet cake. For some reason, people prefer the red color over the chocolate flavor, and use very little cocoa, if any, and gobs of red food coloring. To me, red velvet cake just tastes sweet. Like a white cake with white icing, only scarier.

So what's the appeal? The color? Why? If one wants to eat something red, there are tomatoes and strawberries and other naturally red foods that actually taste good.

Birthday cake croissants. A well-made croissant, flaky and buttery, is perfection. Why mess with a good thing? On a related note: Why are the chocolate-filled ones, which are commonly rectangular, still called croissants (crescents)? Admittedly, they do make great Instagram fodder.

Rainbow bagels. Why, for the love of unicorns, why? This is coming from someone who prefers plain bagels, or maybe sesame, untoasted, with butter. (Toasting is for poor-quality commercial bagels, IMHO.) If I am going to have cream cheese (which is rare), I just put on a thin schmear, not a thick slab. So a multi-colored bagel with a generous layer of funfetti cream cheese scares me.

Milkshakes with crap stuck to the outside of the glass and piled on top. A milkshake is an indulgence, one that is already pretty perfect. A slab of cake on top and do-dads of candy affixed to the outside of the glass must be for shock value. Does all that crap get eaten, or is most of it thrown out? And I can imagine that dish washers just looooove having to scrape all that frosting and candy off. (Fuck, I sound old. And I am thankful that I don't feel the need to keep up with all the insane food trends.)

Filters. Instagram has a slew of filters that do weird things to the coloration of photos. It's a good way to make a crappy photo seem intentionally bad. Many of them make the image look faded and change the colors to something less-than-natural. I can understand using them on photos of people or inanimate objects, but on food? A faded greenish purplish cheeseburger just isn't appetizing, sorry.

Obvious artificial lighting. Sure, I understand the need for additional lighting in dark restaurants, but using those ring lights that attach to cellphones provides a bit too much. When the light colored areas in a photo have absolutely no detail, the lighting is too harsh. When food throws intense black shadows, the lighting is too harsh. I am seeing it more and more on Insta, and the guilty parties are still getting oodles of likes, so they're not going to stop doing it. I just hope that over-lighting doesn't become the norm.

I have a ring light, but prefer to use it as a lamp, holding it off to the side to add just a bit more illumination. Nothing, however, beats natural light (which of course is sorely lacking during dinnertime in the fall and winter months).

Bloggers who call themselves chefs when they're not. Simple enough. If you don't lead a professional kitchen, you're not a chef. You're a cook. Nothing wrong with that. Lots of cooks work in professional kitchens! Not everyone has to be a chef. And you're not fooling anybody.

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