I’m not going to beat around the bush here – if I have an appetizing meal sitting in front of me, I’m going to snap a picture of it. Most of the time my pic ends up on my Snapchat story, or in a text to my friends. Occasionally the snapshot will be posted on my VSCO, and if it’s REALLY good, I’ll post to Instagram or Facebook (only if it’s drool-worthy). After all of the picture taking and editing is complete, I eat.
I’m constantly faced with my mother scolding me. “Kara! Why do you feel the need to document everything you eat?” That’s a good question, mom. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure – but I find most of my friends are guilty of it on social media too. Surprisingly enough, it turns out it might be for the better.
I recently stumbled upon an article reporting psychological research suggests that photographing your food can actually make it taste more appealing. According to the article, several studies were conducted at the University of San Diego and Saint Joseph’s University with more than 120 participants. The participants were given food and assigned to either photograph or not photograph it before digging in.
While the researchers found those who took a picture of an “indulgent” food (in this case, red velvet cake) “perceived it to be tastier than those who refrained from doing so.”
With healthy food, the results were a bit different. In this case, it’s important to note the impact that other people’s eating habits can have on the tastiness of your meal. “Basically, people who were made aware of the healthy eating habits of others, and then asked to take a photo of a healthy dish before consuming it, found it to be tastier.” Food for thought, folks.
But wait – there’s more – scientists also found that photographing food might not be the sole explanation for this phenomenon. Psychologists concluded that any method of delaying food consumption “can build your anticipation for the meal you are about to eat.” Ooh, the suspense…. But actually. Your snapshot could actually indirectly be making your meal more enjoyable.
Who would have ever thought that taking pictures of my food could be actually causing me to enjoy it even more? Talk about a win-win.
From my own personal experience, I find myself taking and sharing pictures of food that are widely popular – especially ones that would be considered so by my peers. A lot of this stems from brand recognition and their “staple” food items. For example, you can bet your ass that if I get up 10 minutes earlier than usual to make a pit stop for an iced coffee at Dunkin Donuts on my way to work, it’s going on my Snapchat story.
The only question I still have – WHY have we become so inclined to photograph our food and share it on social media? Maybe it’s an indirect “jealousy” factor and I subconsciously want everyone looking at my picture to wish they were in my shoes. Maybe it’s just the likability of having an audience and the desire to share little bits and pieces of my life with people who I know are watching.
The truth is, I don’t know why I photograph my food before eating it. Regardless, there’s no denying that it’s extremely satisfying to take a perfect picture of your food at just the right angle before devouring it. Plus, if I’ve learned anything from this research, it’s that I’m not going to stop any time soon – especially if it makes for a more delicious meal.