Let’s pretend that I am going to reserve this space for penning somewhat refined, yet carefully calculated thoughts on food culture as I perceive the greater spheres of influence in my day-to-day life. In reality, this post and the greater content of my blog may devolve into madness, but you should be expecting that if you’re around me.
First though, perhaps some context: I’ve been doing the whole ‘Post Pictures of My Food on Instagram for All to See’ thing for almost two years at the time of me penning this, and it’s honestly been an unequivocally beneficial aspect of my life. In terms of personal growth, good ol’ self-worth, and creativity, I have never been at a greater high point. I’m surrounded by individuals who share a passion for food, cooking, drink, and sundry other things. I’m finally able to hone one of my longest held hobbies of mine (one imparted to me by my father) in a setting where I have the freedom (and financial stability) to approach each day as a new adventure in the kitchen.
However, there are aspects about the greater foodie culture that bother me. Maybe this is a new paradigm shift in what it means to be a foodie. Maybe these elements have always existed, and I’m just now cognizant of them.
The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth…Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it.
In my journey to have a pretty faithful group of y’all that are supportive (for which I am eternally blessed), I have noticed a large degree of (perceived) disingenuity in circles outside of mine in the form of trend-surfing, low-effort content, recycled content, and everyone’s favorite ‘get IG famous fast’ scheme via aggressive follow-unfollow techniques. Generally, in lieu of engaging, original content, posts like that garner success (results may vary, obviously – insert jab about the IG algorithm), so individuals are incentivized to take these route(s). Is there anything inherently wrong with trend-surfing? Hell no. The seasons are changing right now – you can see both pumpkins and fresh watermelons in side-by-side displays at your local grocery store – so you can bet your ass I’ll have some Fall harvest-themed meals to post. Really, there’s nothing wrong with any of my gripes in isolation, but there’s definitely A TYPE of individual that milks all of them for what they’re worth, and y’all know how much I can’t have dairy.
Amongst a jungle of homogeneous, Instagram posts, sometimes it can be hard to distinguish oneself, even with the production of clever, honest, original content. You all have been there – you’re ready to post something that you poured a lot of work into, only to have it ‘underperform’ in reaction from your followers. Sometimes, you post a literal picture of some melted cheese on top of potatoes in a post-consumer beige-colored recyclable container and you’re raking in the fame. It’s disheartening.
Earlier this year, this overwhelmed me, and I became extremely jaded, in that I was not successfully fulfilling the niche I had carved out for myself and my audience. Had I not been a science nerd and actually picked up a book about content creation and a general sense of inadequacy, I might would have known this going in, but alas, here we are. I took a break, an extended hiatus one might say, and I felt like my posts lacked character; I struggled with writing captions (that a large percentage of people don’t read) because my heart and mind were just not feeling it. It’s easy to get burned out on your passion – correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s exactly what happened to me.
So what do I do? I’ve invested a lot of time into this passion, and I’m not about to let it go. Take the scientific approach and distill exactly what you enjoy about the general foodie community and seek out/rediscover accounts that really exemplify what makes this community great. At the same time, I’ve aligned my (what I’m calling) content-mindset with those same creators that do amazing work. In summary:
All of that bullshit, just to say that I can almost fully credit @feelinwhisky (links to social media below) for reinvigorating my spirit on Instagram. I honestly only have positive things to say about her and her work – everything she does is approachable, realistic, unfiltered, and unfettered by ‘traditional/stereotypical IG standards’. Since I’m not that creative, and it’s a flawless tagline to describe her body of work, Emily makes “Real food that doesn't suck.” She said it herself. A particular element of her page that is aspiring is her commitment to effective, honest, and genuine story-telling. It’s almost like she has a communications degree and understands nuances of human interactions. She’s killing it more than I am, but I feel like we are both carving a path through this vast digital landscape of colorful food pictures, and that’s really what this is all about. That is, making delicious food that looks good, is easy, and affordable while also providing a platform for other like-minded individuals with genuine passion to do the same. That, and you can always expect Emily to have a thoroughly steeped personality of millennial attitude and wit in her posts (an attitude that we should all strive to achieve).
Plus, I mean, she shops at Fresh Thyme. What’s not to love?
I’ve blatantly ripped off (read: modified for my own purposes) several of her recipes and greater content as inspiration for some of the content I’ve posted – sometimes this has been consenting, but other times by pure coincidence, which lends more credence to the idea that one should find content creators that one can align to easily (organically or via emulation). They’re ALL home runs (also insert other sports-based analogies here). They’re ALL cheap to make. I can’t complain, and neither should you.
In fact, I’ve recreated her biscuit pot pie bake recently(see below), and ALTHOUGH I didn’t make enough gravy to go with it, it was still undoubtedly delicious. It’s really got everything you’d need for this transitionary weather period: vegetables, filling starches, mouth-feely gravy, and biscuits which “are better anyway so like, who even cares?” You can find her amazing recipe here: https://www.feelinwhisky.com/vegetarian-biscuit-pot-pie/ to make it for yourself and all your loved ones – inclusive of soon to be loved ones of the people you serve it to.
Again, you can find Emily and her body of work at (@feelinwhisky on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/feelinwhisky/ and on her recipe archive and blog https://www.feelinwhisky.com/ where she updates it a much higher frequency than I update mine). Check her out, maybe she’ll reinvigorate your broken spirit. Maybe you’ll learn a few things about sustainable, healthy, and mostly plant-based cooking. Maybe you don’t even have Instagram, for which I’d like to congratulate you on finding this paragraph buried in the infinite of the internet.
Have fun out there cooking, y’all.