There seems to be a phenomenon afoot wherein a goodly portion of the general public feels compelled to share a photo of every plate of food they eat or fancy cocktail they imbibe. Extravagant dinner fare precariously stacked on teenincey plates, frosty glasses rimmed in colored sugar with fruit and umbrellas spilling forth, cupcake towers teetering with frosting, nonpareils, and fondant flowers – all carefully framed through the lens, tinted, retouched, then posted to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more for all the world to drool over.
This temptation to post pictures of every last morsel of food I eat is one I rarely give in to. Except for the other night.
I had been to Andy’s Farm Market and procured four things I dearly love – white corn, tomatoes, speckled butter beans, and okra (little tiny pods, not the big old reedy ones). There was fixin’ to be an old-time, country dinner at the Atkins’ house! In fact, I told Husband that if I ever had to, Lord forbid, choose a last meal, this would be it – with the addition of some hot peach cobbler topped with cold vanilla ice-cream. Just like Mama used to make. Warden, bring it to me!
Having said that, let me insert here that in my adult years I have often succumbed to the notion, thanks in no small part to too much Food Network and too little satisfaction with the ordinary, that every meal I put on our table must be a fête of gastronomical extravagance with aioli this and en papillote that (really just fancy Hellman’s and things cooked in a paper sack). I have braised, glazed, and maized my way through many a cooking adventure – some with good results, others not so much.
But I am tired of that, y’all. Tired. There’s too much pressure in trying to think up a grand dining event every…night…of…the…week. Sometimes you just need to eat a bowl of cereal.
But I digress as I so often do.
So I headed home from Andy’s with all my favorite things and set about cooking dinner. I fried the corn, boiled the butter beans and okra, whipped up a quick skillet of cornbread, and sliced them ‘maters. Easy greasy. (And yes, where I come from those two words rhyme.)
I served it all up for Husband and me, and it just looked so good I couldn’t stand it! Out came the camera and before I could stop myself, I’d gone and done it. I posted this picture:
Now what strikes me as odd about this whole turn of events is not that I cooked a simple, homemade meal. I am a good cook, in fact. I like to cook. Cooking makes me happy.
And it’s not that Husband gave it his highest seal of approval, “Good eats, Mama!”
And it’s not that I had the whole thing done and on the table in under an hour. Dinner at our house is on the table at 6:30 sharp barring unforeseen divine interference or natural disaster – in other words, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise – so I’ve managed to whittle dinner cooking down to a fine science of kitchen efficiency.
And it’s not even that I slipped up and posted a picture of an inanimate plate of food. What’s next? My laundry?
What surprised me the most is that of all the meaningful, thoughtful updates on my Facebook page (okay, Roll Tide! or Hunker down! are neither, but I’m making a point here), of all the vacation pictures, Sonny pictures, and nature pictures, of all the quotes from the intelligentsia of the last few centuries – a snapshot of a plate of food, ordinary old country food at that, generated a sudden flurry of “likes” and comments! Sentiments of awe, love, and jealousy were expressed. A debate on the merits of okra – slimy or slimelicious – ensued. Folks I haven’t heard from in months surfaced from the dark nether regions of the interweb to say hey and share a memory.
And I have to admit, it was fun and engaging. And it was really what I want Facebook – and Twitter, and Instagram, and all the other social networking sites – to be. Less like a a great time-sucking morass of commercialism, advertisement, and memes and more like a conversation…with good friends…over dinner.