Phone eats first – Namita Khajanchi

Most foodies follow the motto “phone eats first.” I, myself, have fallen into feeding everyone on social media before feeding myself. This desire to share with others has slowly transformed me into having a healthier diet as I carefully place different colors of vegetables on my plate and later, my palette.

Throughout the pandemic, there has been an increase in food blogs that have given me motivation and inspiration to cook for myself. The number of dishes I have cooked has increased drastically and now includes more protein, iron, and a wide variety of different vegetables. Originally, my bland diet consisted of just eating pasta with broccoli and mushrooms; this is one of the iconic common graduate student dishes that fits within the budget but has little to no protein, iron, and sustenance. noodles in a bowl - colorIt only took one pandemic for me to actually start venturing out and eating well balanced meals to reach the daily recommended value of vitamins and minerals. To think my journey with food started with just a photo of some curry I posted on social media. This action led to a cascade of events which turned into a positive community of my peers asking for recipes, more dishes, and me feeding everyone’s eyes. The idea of phone eating first has even grown into a photo-inspired review platform for restaurants and is opening an incredible new method for foodies on different social media platforms to not only share healthy recipes but show that they are capable of capturing the essence of their dishes.

Until the mid-twentieth century, black and white photography, known as monochrome imagery, dominated the photography field. We may see photographs like below:

series of black and white photos of food




However, food photography is rarely black and white anymore. The original-colored photos are far more inviting to your tastebuds.
sames series of food shown in color




While the black and white photos may not be as delicious from first look, hearing that the Thai Panang Curry had a dense pan-fried tofu with a crunchy outside and sauteed shiitake mushrooms, garlicky broccoli, and carrots would make anyone drool. Supplementing this scrumptious description, I continue to post vibrant color pictures. I couldn’t imagine posting black and white photos (in any case, who doesn’t have a color camera). My phone continues to be the first to eat as I share my visual food experiences with others.
When I am conjuring up a recipe, I remember to add a bit of green, a bit of red, and a bit of orange or yellow. Just like black and white photos, bland, colorless dishes do not appear very appetizing. Ever wonder why along with your steak or burger there is a tiny salad or flower on the side? It’s this culmination of colors that bring life to these dishes and stimulate your brain to not only see the variety of color combinations but also flavor combinations. Hence, my brain subconsciously reacts to the colors in the dishes, making me drool thinking of how the dish would taste. According to Hadi Fares who was one the American Chemistry Society’s Chemistry Champion in 2015, “The nerves that control saliva production are part of a reflex system. They fire without you consciously thinking about it when you are eating. The smells, tastes and even the movement of your jaw muscles can activate this reflex.” While salivating functionally helps us chew and taste our food as well as start the digestion process itself, it is by having interconnected senses of sight, smell, and taste that leads to our inherent salivation response. I wonder if during this time of COVID, if I were to lose my sense of taste or smell, would I still salivate? Oh well, guess a thought for later, but I think my phone would still eat first!