We’ve been on to three days in Chicago – the botanic gardens, fireworks, and the architecture boat tour, and of course visiting with family were the highlights.
Some of you probably have seen posts and tweets and such about Anthony Bourdain’s recent criticism of folk who take photos of their food and share them on social media – he singled out Instagram, though it was pretty clear he meant it more generally. The takeaway quote that’s getting the most play is that it’s “about making people feel bad about what they’re eating.” My response is that that’s pretty much what every episode of every one of his shows is about. Critic Pete Wells dropped back with “To me, Bourdain’s shows have a you-are-there feeling. Instagrammed meals say ‘I was there and you weren’t.'” (Then again, Wells has an anti social media bias when it comes to things like this already) My return volley was, “See, to me, they [the shows] have a ‘look at all the cool stuff I’m doing and eating that you’ll never do’ feel. Instagram says come try it!” I find that when people, especially those who I know, trust, and like, share photos of their meals along with great descriptions, I make a note of places to get out and try in the future. When I watch shows like Bourdain’s what I think about is how I’ll probably never get to have that experience. Weigh in, what do you think?
By the way, for those of you who follow me on Foursquare, I’m on hiatus. They’re gradually switching all users over to a new app called Swarm that I simply don’t like. It’s a clumsy interface with colors that are hard to see in anything but the best of light, non-intuitive symbols for the different sections rather than labels, and it has a constantly updating location feed, so I find that if I’m trying to check in somewhere, it keeps moving up and down on the list faster than I can stab my finger onto it, so I’m constantly picking the wrong place. It also keeps asking me to turn my check-ins and such more social, to invite people, not always my friends or family, to come join me wherever I’m eating. If that’s the direction FS is taking, I’m no longer interested.
I have a tendency to forget, when I’ve been away from the midwest for awhile, that portion sizes tend to be large, and the food, eaten out, isn’t always as healthy as in some other places. I hate to pile it on to the midwest, but it is where I tend to encounter that sort of stuff the most, at least given the places I visit. Our first night, we cooked at my brother’s house, where he sensibly whipped up grilled salmon and burgers with whole wheat buns, fresh vegetable toppings, and left it to us to throw together a spicy skillet of mixed vegetables – more or less our aloo gobi recipe except we had sweet potatoes instead of potatoes and added in some broccolini. But mostly we went out…
And that’s the round-up for Chicago. Into the car shortly and we’ll pop up in our next location later today.