I’ve taken my fair share of photos while dining out. I am in the business after all. While there are times when I find myself wanting to document where I’ve been, something special I’ve eaten, or a chef that I’ve chatted with, I’m usually trying to be as understated as possible about it, not wanting to be seen as an LA food paparazzi.
But there are plenty of people—those who trample a far more aggressive trail through the food community than I—who painstakingly stage photo after photo as their Moscow mule grows tepid, their ramen cools and their dining companions wonder whether it’s bad form to start eating before the images have uploaded to the web.
Some chefs make their opinions about this kind of behavior very public. Whether it’s a question of food quality (eat it while it’s hot), decorum, or simple courtesy to fellow diners, there are those chefs who thumb viral media in the eye and prefer to simply have people eat their food. They post cryptic signs at the host stand warning diners that photos are not allowed, or their post-opening rant gets quoted in the blogs and their vitriol zips its way around the net. But do people listen? Do they care?
The makers of Evernote Food think not.
Designed as a virtual food diary of sorts, this iPhone app (one of many in an ever growing market by the way) lets people “preserve and relive their food memories.” While it does allow users to interface with their social media channels, it is primarily marketed as a tool for tripping down a gustatory memory lane. Sure, food writers may like this so they can be tech savvy about their note taking (“great lager for sushi”), but for the rest of us, they’re encouraging a kind of culinary experience that…well…loses much of the experience.
You may argue and say that you enjoy a meal well photographed as much as a meal that’s simply eaten and enjoyed. But I have to hearken back to a day when the people around a table spent as much if not more time actually chewing, tasting and savoring than they did dissecting, contemplating and debating. Today’s diners are certainly more food adventurers, so perhaps it’s only natural that they’d want to document every bite and sip just as they would capture a backpacking trip to Ecuador. Perhaps I’m showing my age. Perhaps I’m just tech-ed out. But a blissfully device-free meal at L’Orangerie or Citrus would be just my speed right about now. And I wouldn’t even blog about it.