Monday, January 28, 2008

A Pic Is Worth A Thousand Bytes

I always found the whole ‘food styling’ thing a touch too fanciful for my liking. Despite all attempts to look spontaneous and natural, it always conjured up images of deception, much as a spread on Elle Decoration always made me feel slightly undermined, but in a play-pretend kind of way. This was until a couple of years ago, when a friend visited from Australia in his first trip ever out of the country. At first I was mildly baffled and chose to ignore the camera whipped out whenever there was food around. At some point I even thought that perhaps burgers did not exist in Australia and that the combination of burger and tomato sauce was the most exotic food Grant had ever encountered. One morning, as we were having cake and tea at my local John Lewis, I finally asked him what was so interesting about the food he was about to eat that was prompting him to take actual mementos of it. He replied that the pictures he took were the perfect antidote against memory loss and that only a picture would be able to remind him of a particular taste many months down the line. I considered this point for a while. Did I personally need a picture to know what pizza tastes like? But I was superficially misjudging the point he had made, for Grant did not mean that we identify flavours via images alone but that an image was the perfect way to juggle a taste memory. And so I started to take pics of my foods and found out, just like he said, that a picture can better remind me of what I ate. I am now looking back at images of cakes I baked many months ago and only the picture reminds me of a recipe which I would have otherwise completely forgotten. As I look at them, I remember smells and textures and everything that was going on around me, in my mind and on my taste buds. Indeed a picture is worth a thousand bytes, especially online (if you get my drift...).
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