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author's profile photo Katarina Nonhebel

What's cooking?

Are you taking pics of your food? Are you even sharing this on social media? Or you hate this attitude and you cannot understand why people do this instead of just eating it? Then you should read my coffee-corner post that has a lot to do with COMMUNITY!

My name is Kati … and I admit… sigh.... Yes I am a food-pic-obsessed!

Taking pictures of one’s food and posting them on social media, a phenomenon affectionately known as “foodstagramming,” has, in recent years, become both a wildly popular and much maligned pastime available to anyone with a smart phone and the Instagram or facebook app.

If you follow me on facebook (I mainly use for private networking) you mostly find pictures of food and shares around restaurants, cooking, wine, and regional products and culture.

Why do I do this? I had to think a couple minutes about it to give you my main and honest reasons:

  • I want to share successful projects – in this case something I was cooking
  • I would like to inspire other people to use regional products
  • There’s always a give and take – as in return I would like to learn about recipes, restaurant recommendations, regional event tips. I love to look at pictures of great food and enjoy reading recipes. Therefore I have created my own facebook group & community “Pfälzer Wein, Kultur und Kulinarik” (Palatinate Wine, Culture and Culinary).

The psychological investigation: Why we post photos of our food?

And now the dark and uncomfortable motivations that we (food-pic-addicted people) might don’t want to read (if you are not strong enough just skip it):

  1. Because it’s easy and we want to be part of the community
    Perhaps one appeal is that, with the smartphone and apps in place, it’s a game anyone can play. Anyone can upload their “food selfies,” hashtag them and enter them into the data stream of searchable terms, to collect “likes” across social media platforms by friends and strangers around the world.
  2. Because we would like to become popular
    Amateur foodstagrammers may also attempt to build popularity through their photos and break into the professional realm.
  3. Because we are mentally ill
    In 2013,Canadian psychologist Susan Albers, Psy.D. made statements that obsessive foodstagrammers may not have healthy relationships with their food and even said it is a sign of mental illness:
    -some people are posting as a conscious or unconscious call for help navigating food relationships
    -Wanting people to truly know you as documenting what you eat tells your friends a lot about who you are—your habits, personality, preferences and culinary weaknesses (read here her full article)
    -Other motivations are “look at how good I am” (I’m eating healthy!), “look at how bad I am” (it’s confession time!) and “can you believe I ate this?” (check out this weird, exotic food!).
    People do have a desire in their human nature to share and interact. As times are changing and we are now more interact more online, the way how we seek to fulfill these desires has changed too.
  4. Because we are proud
    Some people may be more likely to post photos of meals they made themselves (what foodie doesn’t feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when a new dish turns out perfect?)
  5. Because we want to share experiences
    For some it is helpful to share their dining-out experiences with the virtual world. And you are interested in other people’s suggestions, recipes or ideas.

    … more types and motivations here in “10 Reasons Why People Post Food Pictures on Facebook.”

If I must analyze myself I am clearly type 5 (this is why I have created the facebook group), type 4 (yes, I am a great chef) and maybe also party of 3 (my desire to network) and type 1. OMG – it’s all of it? Well, I don’t take it that serious!

How do other people react?

The annoyed ones:

If you have a foodstagramming friend, you might know this sentence: “Stop, don’t eat it, I have to take a picture first” – Isn’t it annoying? You have to wait, the foodstagrammer is taking your plate, trying to get it into the right light etc. the result is a cold meal or a destroyed salad and you being in a bad mood.

Another aspect you might not like with being a friend of a food-pic-addicted person is, that you do not like that other people see too much of your private life, or they think you are eating too much or drinking too much.

Also annoying might be if you are at a party and people asking your foodstagramming friend for the recipe, or starting discussions about healthy food, meat banning etc. Always the same discussion, booooring….


Sometimes do not like their guests to take pictures

  • as the flash could disturb other guests
  • when people see photos of a restaurant’s food online, it may discourage them from actually taking the time to come and try it themselves
  • some chefs may feel threatened that people will copy their work if they see photos of it circulating
  • Or as they don’t want to have their creation on social media. Other restaurants are more than happy – as it is seen as free advertisement.

Other restaurants do encourage people to take pics because it promotes their restaurant

I would like to hear about your food story! What kind of type are you?

I hope you’ll share your story about foodstagramming, social media groups around food and more. What kind of food person are you? Just eat it? Or share it?

Cheers, Kati

Sources and More reads around this topic:

pickati.jpg (56.1 kB)
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  • Mar 13, 2019 at 11:48 PM

    Nice post! I'm joining your group :)

    I would not take a picture of a dish that would be so easily copied by another restaurant just by looking at the picture, so those should not be worried. As for flashes being annoying, so are kids throwing a tantrum and we still take pictures of them and allow them in restaurants...

    Here's a flan con dulce de leche from my last visit to Buenos Aires.. Just like the name, the taste cannot be translated to plain English:

    flan-con-ddl.jpg (205.5 kB)
    • Mar 14, 2019 at 10:11 AM

      Lucia, this looks delicious. So you loved it and you want to remember it afterwards. What about your 2 other friends (I see 3 spoons, so you shared the calories! :) did you share the pic with them or did they take also one?

  • Mar 14, 2019 at 08:28 AM

    I do post food pics, but it doesn't stop there, though -- I frequently post pics of my kids, my wife, other people's wives :P, our holidays, etc.

    As for why I post, it's definitely points 3, 4 and 5 :-)

    I do take *lots* of pictures of my food, but of all the pics I take, maybe 5% end up on social media: for every image I post, I make sure at least the composition and/or achievement depicted is somewhat interesting. Just last night, I took a picture of the dish my significant other prepared for me with significant effort: pork tenderloin with Stroganoff-sauce -- or, since it's her own recipe, "Mo-ganoff sauce" with Roseval and fresh spinach:

    I haven't posted this image on social media, because the colours as it appeared on the image didn't to justice to the actual dish. But boy, did it taste good!

    img-2560.jpg (141.8 kB)
    • Mar 14, 2019 at 10:13 AM

      Robin, Point 3? That was "Mentally Ill" -- LOL ... This looks delicious. And you are right, it's not easy to take the pic so that it reflects how delicious it was. Sometimes it looks like a mess, but in REAL it was Georgios!

      Thanks for sharing - I do enjoy your private shares a lot! :)

  • Mar 14, 2019 at 09:45 AM

    Hi Kati,

    being quite active in the Slow Food Movement for sure I am posting food pictures on Instagram and Facebook and also on Google.

    3, 4 and 5 will be my why's. On Google I think it is a quite good guidance for others if a restaurant is worth a visit or not. If you add pictures it also lowers the chance of fake reviews.

    I am also a fan of "separation of concerns": Food pics on Facebook and Instagram, work related stuff on Twitter, personal things on WhatsApp, Nature pics on Flickr etc.

    Also I get positive thoughts when I take a look at things that I cooked or baked, like these delicious tarts:

    • Mar 14, 2019 at 10:16 AM

      Mark, your Mandarinen Torte and Eierlikör Torte looks great. Did YOU bake them? Impressive!

      And with SLOWFOOD I do agree - we should support more the regional and traditional and seasonal products and evangelize this. In my food group on facebook we were able to give and get a lot of tips and tricks what ingredients to get where.

  • Mar 14, 2019 at 11:55 AM

    4 and 5! And potentially 3 :D

    Some of my bucket list items are definitely food and restaurant related, e.g. making it to Gordon Ramsay Steak in Vegas was a dream come true. Even though they messed up our service REALLY badly, it was one of the strongest comebacks I've ever seen (waiting more than 90mins for a soup after the apps, then mixing up my steak with the table next to us), but after we told that we are on a honeymoon we actually got an extra steak, a Wellington, 5 desserts, 40% off the bill and a fridge magnet :P)

    We also made a little tradition with my team that every time we release a bigger feature for the profile, I bake my boys some cake to celebrate :)

    Here are some of my creations:

    • Mar 14, 2019 at 03:09 PM

      Wow Gabi, just wow! Almost too beautiful to eat!

    • Mar 14, 2019 at 04:14 PM

      I have had the pleasure of consuming some of Gabi's amazing creations that she cooks/bakes for her team. The most memorable was a Hungarian stew that was out-of-this-world delicious!

    • Mar 14, 2019 at 08:21 PM

      wow - I would love to be in your team! :) Thanks for sharing!

    • Mar 18, 2019 at 12:57 PM

      Awesome! The cakes just look awesome! Wow...

  • Mar 14, 2019 at 12:27 PM

    NI’ve reading Kati, especially the background info in the references. I like to see those fotos; myself I do it only if there is something remarkable - quality, preparation, venue, people... keep it coming!

    • Mar 14, 2019 at 08:31 PM

      Thanks for sharing your #madridnow experiences with the nice tapas and breakfast - I am enjoying these!

  • Mar 14, 2019 at 02:35 PM

    Bravo !!! I Loved these perspectives.

    I think people which disgree with this are much shy to share their gastronomic experience. I also notice people around me having food pics in restaurant just after me. I love be an ice breaker!

    See my latest food pic !

  • Mar 14, 2019 at 04:15 PM

    This is definitely not a post to read when you're hungry, because you will want everything shown in these photos!

  • Mar 14, 2019 at 07:24 PM

    Being in the middle of my daughter's "I'm-being-picky-and-don't-want-to-eat-anything-that-tastes-of-something" phase, I don't have many interesting meals to foodstagram. Unless liquid food also counts? ;-)

    • Mar 14, 2019 at 08:32 PM

      Anne, just enjoy all the pics, and make a plan what you would eat once you come over this food issue :)

  • Mar 14, 2019 at 07:40 PM

    Clearly a "2" - social media had never appealed to me until 4 years ago when I began to use it professionally (in an 'amateur' way). Now I post my 'creations' almost daily. Always home cooked good food, on very rare occasions from a restaurant. I avoid elaborate set ups - mostly it is what we eat and the pics take me 2 minutes at the most because I believe that food should not be tampered with just for the sake of attractive pics. We want to EAT the good stuff! But I do stray once in a while ... which this pic demonstrates ;)

    Cheers Kati, love ya!img-0781-1.jpg

    img-0781-1.jpg (46.0 kB)
    • Mar 14, 2019 at 08:36 PM

      I like your pics - and although you are doing this professional you are giving it a personal touch! And I think it is important to connect it with a personal story. Otherwise it is a pic of millions.

  • Mar 14, 2019 at 07:40 PM

    Nice blog. Great to see all these awesome places to dine.

  • Mar 14, 2019 at 07:41 PM

    I also love taking photos of my meals (often vegetarian) or food specials several times a week ...

    -dsc2960o.jpg (166.4 kB)
  • Mar 15, 2019 at 12:11 PM

    Hi Kati

    Beatiful blog!!! From my side, I must say 3, 4 and 5 will be also my why's :-)

    To complement the topic, would like to share this link:

    14 of the most Instagrammable Restaurants

    Enjoy it!

  • Mar 15, 2019 at 04:07 PM

    I well remember, Kati, a bunch of us going out for dinner in Barcelona, and you making us wait while you took photos of the table. Fun times! But I freely admit, I find foodstagramming to be a puzzling practice, though I'm not annoyed by it, just amused.

    On the other hand, looking at all the photos in the comments here is making me rather hungry now...

  • Mar 17, 2019 at 07:28 AM

    I love taking photos of things that I made that I am proud of...

    Two cakes that I recently made for my daughters birthday!

    • Mar 18, 2019 at 01:01 PM

      WOW! Iris, this looks beautiful and delicious. How did you do the m&m's one? Unbelievable...
      @ Katarina Fischer : Thanks for sharing your blog and thanks to all contributors. So amazing pictures.... I love it!

      • Mar 19, 2019 at 06:49 AM

        I told the kids magic...but really just a straw covered in melted chocolate with M&M's attached

    • Apr 08, 2019 at 05:12 PM

      wow wow wow!!!!

  • Mar 20, 2019 at 04:34 PM

    I like food pictures when it's something unusual or different, the M&M cake is the hands down winner in that category so far!

    Foodwise, I'm quite happy with sun and anything on the BBQ. For special occasions we prefer to upgrade the ingredients rather than go out to a fancy restaurant.

    And I usually prefer pics that focus on context rather than presentation, for my own photos I find those are more meaningful anyway. So instead of a photo of the lobster tails I BBQ'd for a birthday, I'll share a pic of my then 4 year old discovering a liking for the results

    I guess that puts me mostly into category 4 and 5.

    yum.jpg (124.8 kB)
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