Instagram has fueled a new type of foodie: a foodie who searches for picture-perfect food, but not only is this food picture perfect…It’s trendy; it’s #instafood. “Trending” foods include edible cookie dough, rainbow grill cheese, charcoal ice cream, and edible glitter lattes just to name a few. These foods are creative spins on traditional dishes that appeal to this social media age. Essentially Instagram has inspired an elevation of some foods. You like grilled cheese? We made it rainbow. You like coffee? We can make it sparkly. You like ice cream? We made it goth. It’s more unique than some pretty standard childhood classics and favorites. I personally like it and find it to be fun and creative.
That being said, I think there’s a line, and that line is crossed when the taste is sacrificed for beauty or a hashtag.
I’m always looking for the next food picture. I’ve got an Instagram account dedicated entirely to food. So when my friend texted me about this new trendy bakery only thirty minutes away from me, I looked up their Instagram. The sweets looked amazing and adorable. With sparkly edible glitter and edible gold adoring donuts, unicorn macaroons, and vegan ice cream, I was ready to go yesterday and was prepared to lay down some serious dessert cash for these delectable goodies. I happily spent nearly thirty dollars for three donuts, a small slice of cake ( the cover photo), and a lemonade. I personally don’t mind spending a small fortune for good food…..Good food. I snapped my photos in the best lighting I could find already prepping the captions for my Instagram and blog. And then I took a bite of one of the donuts.
It was stale. It was bland. The glaze had little flavor.
“This donut was $3.50,” I thought. I took a drink of my strawberry lemonade with mango pearls. It was painfully artificially flavored.
“How on earth do you botch lemonade??” I took a drink of my friend’s as well…Her’s was even worse.
My friend asked if I wanted to try her cookie dough bar. I didn’t care for it at all. Then I moved onto the colorful funfetti and sprinkled cake.
“Surely this will be good. This is their current special.”
It was not. The cake was as bland as the donut. It was strange to taste something so prettily presented and colorful and taste little to nothing. There was zero quality in the flavor and taste, and I was now $30 dollars short. I looked around in the now fairly crowded bakery watching other young people snap and share photos of their treats. By this point, I felt silly taking so many photos because I now didn’t want to post them. I only post photos of food I enjoy, and this was not it. I checked the bakery’s tagged photos and very few of them said anything about enjoying the taste of what the bakery had to offer. It was mostly just really cute photos and sweetly themed puns. I thought, ” if this bakery was in New York or Los Angeles, it wouldn’t last longer than a month.” In a smaller Texas town, however, the novelty has kept it open.
As a small baking business owner and an individual obsessed with all things food, I felt cheated as a customer leaving the “dessert bar”. They were only popular because they sprinkled glitter on stale and flavorless goods. It was taking advantage of a trend. I began to think of other things I had tried that looked far better in a photo than they tasted in my mouth. I thought of a recent ice cream concoction I had purchased while traveling in China: vanilla soft serve with a mountain of cotton candy on top. I had picked the blue cotton candy to match the ice cream shop’s interior color scheme, and the photo looked divine. But I threw away the ice cream because, let’s face it, ice cream and cotton candy is a disgusting pair.
My point is, just because it is trending doesn’t mean you should post it. If this bakery had not gotten such high reviews simply by making people’s social media pop, it wouldn’t be open to taking customer’s money in exchange for sub-par goods. I am all for posting photos of your food. I’ll even turn on my camera flash to get you the best lighting! However, the flavor needs to match the look. I am tired of places borrowing off some original trendsetter that delivered a product that both tasted great and looked amazing. It isn’t easy crafting a delicious original recipe, and I am done posting photos of 💩 (poo) covered in glitter, gold, and cotton candy.