Food.0: a tech-twisted take on eating

Yesterday I downloaded an iPhone app that tracks your health and nutrition. From your calories to your vitamins and minerals, this app intently records everything I eat, drink, and do, and it produces personalized nutrition information. As a food obsessed yet casually conscious eater, I found it a little invasive, but really useful.

Also in my app catalog: the Menupages app, a super-useful collection of menus, prices, reviews, and locations. I open it up and find restaurants near me that are tasty, within my price range, and my style. I have recipe apps that instantly explain how to make squash in my microwave or turkey burgers in twenty minutes. I have photo albums full of colorful salad shots, lustrous cupcake close-ups and homemade creation “trophy” pics. Then there are the online food blogs, stream-able youtube how-tos and cooking shows.

homemade mushroom pizza

Yes, it’s a lot of food-tech. Three years ago, I ate what was in the fridge, or at the local sandwich shop. Thanks to technology (and NYC), my food life has taken a 180. Is this a bad thing? People (self included) love jumping on how technology changes/ruins everything. I’ve wondered if I am I detracting from the true essence of my meal, but I think the answer is no. Here are my answers to a couple of the classic tech-bashing excuses.

Claim 1: The loss of the “spontaneous find”
Perhaps the wild thrill of a random hole in the wall is gone, but so is that badly prepared, overpriced and overall questionable meal. We act like the impromptu risk always paid off, when in reality this situation was a rarity, and not that much more satisfying than a traditional favorite spot. Plus, if I have a craving for jalapeno macaroni, miso soup just isn’t going to cut it.

Claim 2: Photos don’t make the food taste any better, and are just distracting from the enjoyment.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. The other day I snapped a photo of sea-salted chocolate “frosting shot” on my phone. I’ve since showed it off with friends, coworkers, and stared at it alone on the subway. The enjoyment does not end. To be completely honest, I’m looking at it right now. So yes, recording my food information might be time consuming, but the memories are worth it.

frosting shot

Claim 3: Can’t we just walk/drive until we find a place? It’s easier.
We can, but it’s certainly not any easier. Technology has allowed us to know exactly what a place is like. When I go to a restaurant now, I know I can afford it, that there will be something for me on the menu, and that the ambiance will be something that I enjoy. It’s efficient, and does not detract at all from the overall experience of dining.

Bottom Line:
Thanks to today’s innovations, my food searching experience is significantly easier, and more gratifying. I’ve since eaten meals at tiny cafes, quirky vegan wine bars and home-style brunches exactly when I wanted them. I’ve even been able to try glitzy downtown hot spots, thanks to VillageVines’s 30% savings. And at the end, nobody can argue with great food.

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