The term insta-worthy (short for Instagram worthy) is explained in the Urban Dictionary as a picture that is good enough to be posted on Instagram, the popular social media platform. From Facebook and Twitter, to Instagram and WhatsApp, social media influences every aspect of our life and work. And, food is one of the top trending topics on social media.
Food blogs, celebrity chefs and Youtube videos have changed the way we cook and eat food. Today, we don't have to search through grandma's hand-written recipes or judiciously take notes from weekly TV cookery shows. The Internet and smartphones have made it possible for us to get any recipe from anywhere in the world with just the click of a mouse, or the swipe of a screen.
While social media has played a major role in introducing us to food from around the world, can it help reviving traditional eating habits and heritage grains? Yes! And, here are six reasons why we think so.
- Creating visual appeal: As they say, we eat with our eyes first. A well-made and beautifully presented dish can make our stomach rumble and our mouth water. Ever seen the latest pictures posted by popular chefs and food bloggers? You will literally want to reach out and take a bite. That's the power of a good food picture. Forgotten grains such as millets are making a comeback due to the memes and posters advertising their health benefits posted on various social media. This method of giving bite-sized (no pun intended!) information has revolutionised our way of looking, and cooking, modern and traditional food.
- Encouraging the use of traditional cooking methods and ingredients: When you follow a blog or food website, along with the beautiful pictures and recipes, you also get a lot of information about the ingredients used. Some websites even leave a link to help readers directly purchase the products advertised. Even if you don't enjoy cooking, subscribing to one of these websites will soon make you an expert on the basics. There are also popular YouTube channels where you can watch grandmothers (some over 100 years old) cooking. This can also inspire you to know more about our traditional cooking methods.
- Motivation to cook from scratch: Social media can motivate you to prepare fresh, homemade meals. Trying to cook with the help of recipe books presents a unique problem. Some recipes that seem easy on paper may turn out as undercooked or overcooked when you try to prepare them. However, with step-by-step photos and videos, websites take you through the process of creating a dish and make life easy. You don't have to call your mother to cross-check the right consistency or wait for your grandmother to send over homemade masala powder!
- Receiving reviews from friends and others: Humans are social beings, and we tend to rely on each other to share ideas and trends. So, it's no surprise why social media is such a hit with us. When you post a recipe on social media and it gets positive reviews, you feel encouraged. Also, when you find that a traditional recipe is popular in your social group, the chances of you trying to prepare that dish are much higher.
- Makes sharing recipes easier: No more losing track of traditional recipes. Thanks to social media, you can save your favourite recipes online with just a click. And, sharing these doesn't take much effort too. If you happen to come across a long-lost recipe, all you have to do is pin or tweet it, and it's there for the whole world to see. This says a lot about social media and the treasure trove of forgotten recipes you can get from there.
- Encouraging the involvement of family: With all the hard work of reading reviews, finding the perfect recipe, shopping for the ingredients and cooking it with love, it's only natural that you want to enjoy it with the whole family. Your enthusiasm about food can also drive your spouse to let you in on his or her childhood memories of food. And, you can slowly motivate your child to help you in the kitchen as well. Sharing all this on your social network can inspire others to follow your lead. Not to mention that the resultant family meals can become cherished memories for your child as she grows older.
While it is true that social media inspires you to cook healthy dishes in a jiffy, there is another side to the story. Keep in mind that social media can be addicting. When you obsess over a recipe or on taking that perfect picture, you may forget to enjoy or savour the cooking process or the end product. So, be mindful of what you do and have fun cooking!
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