Joy and Gluttony, Rants and Whimsy

How to leave a restaurant, and other Food Blogger Problems

February 11, 2015

I blog about all kinds of things, crossing over into different blogging genres, if you will. Beauty blogging. Fashion blogging. Travel blogging. Insane rant blogging. And, of course, food blogging. Each kind of blogging comes with its own special set of perks and challenges that one must navigate and use to your best advantage in order to be successful.

Today I shall focus on the trials and tribulations faced by food bloggers – because a problem shared on the internet is a problem potentially laughed at by millions of people.

Before I start, I must clarify one point for the non-blogging types out there reading this. Every blogger has two people living in their brains, taking over from the inner monologue. The Human and the Blogger. These two voices permeate our innermost thoughts and shape our most basic decision making processes. Everything becomes a battle between these two people. Who wins the battle? That depends on your level of dedication to madness that is blogging. These are our biggest points of contention.

1. How do you leave the restaurant?
Leaving a restaurant when you’ve been invited to a blogger event is easy. You just leave when the mob leaves. Leaving a restaurant when you’re in human mode is easy. You just ask for the bill, pay it and leave. Leaving a restaurant when you’re a lone blogger with a plus one who’s been gifted a meal out is a nightmare. Do you just leave? Do you have to find the manager? Does the waitress who’s been serving you all this time know this is comped? You think the waiter who you started the evening with knows, but the new guy who’s started giving you wine, does he know? Will you be tackled on the way out by an overzealous fellow diner eager to make a citizen’s arrest?

Blogger: Just walk out
Human: What if they tackle me?
Blogger: Who?
Human: The other diners. They’re bigger than me and look like they’re prone to yelling
Blogger: Just tell the waitress you’re leaving
Human: Just say “Thanks I’m leaving”? Oh god this is awkward. I’m such a pretentious twat. Why do I agree to this? Society hates bloggers like me. What if I’ve inadvertently eaten something that wasn’t part of the freebie deal?
Blogger: You accepted because you’re a pretentious twat. Now shut up, smile, thank the staff and leave. Don’t make me demand to photograph the kitchen!

Whatever you do, don’t ask for the bill. They might actually give you one. You may consider wearing a ‘food blogger’ tshirt, asking your mum to turn up half way through pretending to be the paparazzi here to photograph you, or handing blog cards to other diners just so everyone knows how important you are. I personally go with the “smile, thank the staff and get the hell out approach” but I would like to see someone attempt the above.

2. Can I take photos in here?

Restaurants, in the winter time especially, are dark. They could be creating a moody, romantic atmosphere. They could be trying to hide the fact that the pork is past its best. Who knows? What I do know is that it can really mess with your photos, yet turning up with a massive DSLR to a quiet bite with friends can also attract a bit of sniping.

Human: Just take a sneaky pic with your phone
Blogger: The lighting is bad
Human: Ok, use the DSLR, but quickly. I’ll open up the aperture
Blogger: It’s gonna need to be wide open like a slutty elephant
Human: It’s as wide as it will go
Blogger: No, we need more light. Use flash.
Human: We’ll make a spectacle of ourselves! They’ll look at us and that guy in the corner will get angry! He’s already staring. My friends are pissed that I’m disrupting the conversational flow…
Blogger: Fuck them
Human: See, now we’re being told to stop disturbing the other patrons
Blogger: Those women in the corner have been snapping pics of each other all evening! They’ve been flashing every which way! This is outrageous! Why are they persecuting bloggers? The internet will hear about this!
Human: That’s a family reunion. The two old ladies in the corner are sisters who lost each other during the war and have only just reunited and it’s the first time their families have met each other.
Blogger: Are you trying to tell me that’s more important than my blog?
Human: Yes
Blogger: Get a photo with them! It could be good for the blog!

You know how restaurants used to have a smoking section? Well, can we bring that back as a photography section instead? Coz apparently some people dine out just to enjoy the food and the company of friends without wanting to be disturbed by flashy flashy. They don’t even have an Instagram feed, let alone a blog. Weird, I know.

3. The ‘this food tastes bad’ photography hell

When food tastes good and looks good you take beautiful photos and everyone praises your blog. When food tastes good and looks average you pull every ounce of photographic skill you possess out of your arse and everyone praises your blog. When it looks fine but doesn’t set your taste buds on fire, what the hell do you do? Ugly photos make an ugly blog. Sure, you can write about how average the food was, but will anyone believe you if you continue to take gorgeous photos?

That’s when the blogger in you battles between whether it’s more important to have a beautiful blog that shows off your photographic talent, or a blog with a few ugly photos to really drive home the point about how bad that food was. Your human can only watch on helplessly.

4. Too many three course dinners

You’re dedicated to your blogging cause. Unfortunately, this means that you’re currently eating your third three course dinner of the week…

Human: Maybe we should start exercising more?
Blogger: I’m not down with that
Human: Maybe we blog more about fruit salad?
Blogger: I’m not down with that
Human: Maybe we stay in occasionally, and cook our own meals?
Blogger: It’s like you don’t even know me. Why don’t I just gouge my fucking eyes out and hand them to you on a stick for appetisers? Would that appease you?
Human: Well, eyes don’t really weigh that much, so it wouldn’t really help us. If we’re resorting to self cannibalism we’d be better to hack off a limb instead
Blogger: Self cannibalism? That could be a good blog….

Look on the bright side, a husky food blogger is a successful food blogger.

 5. Hot food? What’s that?

Yeah, you saw that chocolate fondant when it came to the table fresh out of the oven. You saw the steam rising. You saw the chocolate oozing when you stabbed it with a fork. It all made for great photos. Wait, what? Actually eat the food while it’s hot, you say?

Human: You ordered the same thing as your husband. His is here first. Let’s just photograph his so we can eat ours piping hot!
Blogger: Novel concept! Yay
30 seconds later
Human: Aaaaaaaargh!
Blogger: Aaaaaaaargh!
Human: What happened? What the hell was that?
Blogger: It’s…. been…. so…. long….. my tongue has just adjusted to only ever eating lukewarm food… the piping hotness… it burns! It burns!
Human: You mean, we can’t actually eat like normal human beings any more?
Blogger: My cheeks are scalded. The steam has intruded upon my delicate nasal passage… I have no defense against hot food anymore
Human: You pretentious twat

6. Planning your baking

If you blog in London you probably live in a small box jovially referred to as an ‘apartment’ or a ‘flat’. Natural lighting isn’t necessarily a key design feature of your pad, and if it’s winter it’ll be long gone by the time you make it home after work. So, photographing your beautiful cake can be tricky.

Human: I feel like baking
Blogger: Are you insane? You can’t bake now!
Human: Why the hell not?
Blogger: The natural light! It’ll be gone by the time you finish! Wait until Saturday
Human: But…. I’m in the mood now.
Blogger: You do it now you can’t photograph it properly until morning. What time is sunrise?
Human: Wait, you mean I also can’t eat the cake until sunrise?
Blogger: Damn straight
Human: #BreakfastCake

There it is. I have issues.

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