Saturday, May 17, 2008

Is it wrong to whip it out at the table?

This week, I caught a re-run of No Reservations in which Anthony Bourdain goes to South Carolina. He's sitting in some fabulous southern food joint, eating shrimp and grits and Coca-Cola cake, and he says something along the lines of "This stuff is so good, you're gonna start having New Yorkers coming down and taking photos of all the dishes."

And I thought Oh my goodness; he's talking about me (I assume he doesn't know exactly where I live).

Now, I'm not one to be influenced by the opinions of celebs. That said, I love Bourdain. largely for his honesty and frankness (one favorite moment: he tries the deep-fried cheesecake at the Mall of America and declares, "Jesus God this is awful." Can you imagine Rachael Ray doing that?).

So if he's making snarky comments about people pulling out their cameras at dinner, should I pay attention?

In fairness, it's not just Bourdain's offhand comment that has me thinking like this. I suspect my fellow diners put up with my snap-happy attitude because they don't have much choice.

The Boy is wonderfully patient, but at home, a good 50% of his meals are delayed in their journey from kitchen to table as I hijack them for a photo session. I always take my camera to restaurants and take pictures of anything I think I might want to write about, which means he has to wait for me to adjust lighting and focus so I can shoot his rapidly cooling meal.

And what about the people around me? I spend a lot of time complaining that
my fellow diners are unthinkingly loud and inconsiderate. How do they feel about me taking pictures of my food? I don't use the flash, of course, but isn't this still inappropriate behavior for a restaurant? Is it too far removed from using a cellphone?

I want to know what other people think. Do you photograph your food? Does it bother you when others do? Have you ever seen diners being admonished for whipping out their Nikon? (And did you take a picture?)

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Anonymous Andy said...

Ha ha I always take my camera when I go out to eat as well! I guess because there are so many foodie blogs I expect everyone to be doing it but usuallt I'm the only one. It wouldn't boether me if you were sitting at the next table to me and taking pictures. Unless maybe it was my food LOL

7:24 PM  
Anonymous JO said...

It's only annoying if you use a Flash or make a fuss. I think if I was a chef I'd be happy that people wanted to take photos of my dishes, it shows you did a nice job with preparation and it's a compliment really.

9:46 AM  
Blogger El said...

Taking photos of food is only annoying to your dinner companion when they cannot wait to begin stuffing their mouths. That extra minute of waiting can be very long.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone record the sound food makes in the mouth?

4:19 PM  

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