The first places on bestseller lists in bookstores are taken by cooking books and New Age self-help mantra collections. Jamie Oliver, for example, dominates the Waterstones display tables. To cook is not only a matter of survival – it is actually on top of the cultural agenda.

Today there is a strong desire for recipes, and advices and suggestions of all kinds. The “How to’s” have become our ultimate guidelines to almost everything. It is nowadays common sense, that any kind of knowledge can only be consumed as a tutorial. Alternative ways can be tried out, but only if one is explicitly advised to do so. The famous “do-it-yourself” has mutated into “try-it-yourself”.

There is no need for bragging about any kind of knowledge anymore. If you want to know something just google it. No need to show-off, just be able to find the right information at a glance. Learn to search for, not to know. All desirable recipes are available online.

The interlinking of the found information transforms itself into a treasury hunt, with a brief satisfaction and a feeling for understanding the world a little bit better. Although, the waste amount of information found in the net forces you to forget the results straight away in order to make some free brain space for a new inquiry.

In times of Facebook friendships, having friends for dinner is a rare occasion. Therefore, the cooking skills need to be developed for documentary purposes only. In reality you are always making the dish you know and if it doesn’t work just wince, shrug your shoulders, make a sorry face for the following notice: “I am making it for the first time”. You may even earn some cheering and acknowledgment for being experimental. The only exception to this approach is if you are thirtyish, fortyish. Then the whole aim of socializing focuses on a collective preparation of food.

In the old days dinner has been prepared before the guests came, so once they arrived it was all set to eat at once. Nowadays, the host is rushing home from the supermarket and coming in almost at the same time as the guests. The guests are expected to bring at least some good wine or even their own food, so the host is merely accommodating the event of social banquet. The modern crowd-sourcing of the food preparation is declared as a new way of human behavior and interaction. Instead of cooking and eating alone at home, let us do this together. Of course, eighty percent of conversion during the evening is somehow connected to food, spiced with lots of “ahs” and “ohs”.

Social competence has been measured by the ability to tie your own shoes when you are a kid and to prepare your own meal when you are an adult. Simply saying ‘I am eating at Hotel Mama’ will declare you as mummy’s spoiled boy, declaring that ‘my wife cooks for me’ will stamp you as a macho, and going to restaurants will categorize you as a rich prig. Mentioning the option of eating ready-made frozen meals (microwave cuisine) is despicable and non-discussable. On the other hand, advertising your cooking skills in public will raise your reputation among the female population significantly. The logic here is simple: being able to cook will ensure that you and the kids are not starving to death, during the modern women’s pre- and post-work obligations. In matter of fact it will make you sexy.

For these and other reasons I have started a small experiment trying to create everyday food sensations by exposing them within the crowd-source environment. The following images document the process of photographing breakfast, lunch or dinner of mine via mobile phone. There are several benefits from this action. Firstly, you develop more passion for the food preparation and presentation, no matter how banal the meal is. Secondly, somehow you sense the involvement of your “virtual friends”, which gives you a satisfaction of not enjoying the food alone. Thirdly, you are improving your cooking skills, which adds value to already mentioned social competence. And finally, you feel happy about an achievement similar to that of assembling an Ikea cupboard.

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe Scroll to Top