Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, someone took a potato and turned it into soup. We’ve been repurposing food ever since. But somewhere along the line, probably around the time we emerged from caves, there was a subtle shift in focus from repurposing food to gussying it up.
We get a serious kick out of playing with our food. Like a teenager in the ’90s playing dress-up with feather boas and blue eyeshadow in preparation for a Glamour Shot, we play dress-up with raspberry drizzle and chopped nuts. We figure out how much we can do to a latte, then we snap a photo of it and post it. Food has become the Glamor Shots subject of our society. We’re Flamour Shotting.
Consider the Oreo.
The perfectly good Oreo, since 1912, has been a cookie considered by the average person to be in its final form.
Yet it, too, can get the foodie version of a sequined top and red lipstick, or, shall we say, the Flamour Shot treatment. Simply skewer the cookie on a stick with two other Oreos, then dip that skewered trio in chocolate. Next, mix an entire cake’s worth of Funfetti cake mix, dip your chocolate-covered Oreo skewer in it, and deep fry it. You’re not done yet — keep gilding that lily! Drizzle the whole thing with icing, then for one final touch, add some confetti sprinkles.
I must admit, they made me look. So did the chef who turned a piece of toast into a five-layered entree…and then lit it on fire.
So did the fellow who, while uncomfortably focused on the camera, grabbed pieces of raw meat dangling from hooks around his head and fried them a on a grill the size of a driveway, stuffed them in the world’s largest hotdog bun, and then added a garbage can’s worth of condiments.
Let’s face it, we do a lot in the name of presentation. Presentation has been important since there were kings and queens and four and 20 blackbirds baked into a pie. Then Wilton went and invented about 156 piping tips so that there was really no excuse any more for the common baker to not cover a cake with Russian tulips.
However, I am not compelled. My idea of presentation is taking the food out of its wrapper. If company is coming, I’ll put it on the good platter.
I cannot relate to someone who does not merely think, “Today I’ll make chocolate cupcakes,” but who thinks instead, “Today I’ll make chocolate cupcakes and turn them into lava-oozing volcanoes.” Nor can I relate to the mindset of someone who looks at an orange and instead of seeing a bright delicious fruit, sees a vessel for a mini-cake.
I will, however, watch the whole process on Instagram, where it’s set on fast speed using pre-measured ingredients and a peppy soundtrack.
I will click on that video of someone building a Ferris wheel out of chocolate and sit with it while he fashions little macaroon-filled baskets and garnishes them with sugared snowflakes.
I’ll watch the account where I can’t tell if they’re throwing a bowl on a pottery wheel or frosting a cake. I’ll watch someone frying eggs in happy-face pastry ring. I’ll watch the forkful of cheesy corn pudding coming at me in slow motion. And I will be mesmerized.
I will watch a pair of disembodied hands add yet another layer, another topping, another garnish, wondering all the while if it’s done, yet.
And instead of sending us home with a poufy-haired photo to hang on the wall, the Glamour Teams post fabulously dressed-up food on Social Media for all the world to see.
Everything looks better in Flamour Shots…even the potato.