A Glover Gardens story with a moral.
Bye-Bye, Paper Plates – We Love Trees More than You
We’ve given up the daily use of paper plates for meals at Glover Gardens, in deference to trees. It’s a little thing, but seems right.
For a blogger, that has an unintended positive consequence: many more meals are photo-worthy because they’re on nice-looking white dinnerware. Woohoo!
Quick, take a photo before the food gets cold, I think to myself, every time I serve a meal.
And so I do, but those pics hardly ever turn out, because I’m moving too fast under the pressure of keeping my dining companion(s) waiting and worrying about their food getting cold. Food really needs to be artistically arranged on the plate, with the right lighting, the right background (and foreground) and the right angle to be photographed properly.
That’s Part 1 of the setup for this little tale of woe.
Gumbo on the Patio for 1
And so I found myself alone on a recent Saturday noon, looking forward to gumbo leftovers. Having failed one more time to document my gumbo “recipe” (more like muscle memory than a recipe, really) while I made it, at least the product was good. Actually, it was spectacular. Probably in my top 5 of the hundreds of times I’ve made gumbo. That number is no exaggeration, either – around once a month for over thirty years adds up to a boatload of gumbo. A big boat, a trawler maybe, not a little Gilligan-sized yacht. Once, I made gumbo for 300 people (supervising a crew of very willing volunteers). But that’s a story for another day.
Back to that early summer Saturday. I fetched the gumbo from the refrigerator, popped some into the microwave and chopped up some more green onion and parsley, starting a thought-bubble conversation with myself.
This garnish duo is absolute requirement for gumbo, in my never-to-be-humble opinion. The bright green, the crunch…I would never make gumbo without the garnish.
Wow, that looks gorgeous!
Hmmm, I’ve got time for pics – no one’s food will get cold but mine. I haven’t posted anything in any Glover Gardens media for over a week; I’ll just grab a picture or two on the patio and create a quick post for the Facebook page. Even better, I’ll put it in that fun Cajun group I belong to – they really appreciate gumbo!
Where’s the camera? Argh, it’s inside and I’m outside; it will take a half hour to adjust to the temperature change.
iPhone to the rescue! Really, I just need a quick picture, my gumbo is getting cold.
Wow, that gumbo looks delicious!
Where did this pesky fly come from? He’d better not be in my picture!
But the shadow of my phone is on the pic. Change positions.
Wow, that gumbo looks really good, and it is rapidly getting cold.
Hmm, I need more of a close-up.
OK, time to eat, my gumbo is getting cold.
As you might have guessed, the gumbo was delicious. Solo dining on homemade gumbo on the patio in early June with a good book for company is soul-satisfying.
That’s Part 2 of the setup for this little tale of woe.
Moving Too Fast
After lunch, I quickly selected and cropped the “best” photo of the gumbo and made a quick post in the lively Cajun group on Facebook, mentioning that I hadn’t been able to document my recipe, but was happy with how it turned out (and looked). Some of the members agreed, and “liked” it, and there were a few appreciative comments.
So then I shared it to the Glover Gardens Facebook page, since I didn’t have time to do a “real” post. And went about the rest of my Saturday chores.
The Morning After
The next day, I had the typical Facebook notifications telling me about comments and likes. There were quite a few – because who doesn’t like gumbo?! – and one of the comments, from someone whose blog and photographic expertise I really, really respect, said: “I like the fly.”
In lightning speed, I went to the post, read it, scratched my head, wondered what it was about – a typo? But no.
That garnish, the beautiful green of the green onions, well, it wasn’t all garnish. Go back up to the last photo, friends, that one I selected as the “best” one for posting. Look carefully, very carefully, on the right side of the gumbo. There it is. The fly. Oh my gosh, I was beyond mortified.
Oh my gosh, I put a picture of my “delicious” food out on social media for people to admire with a fly on it!
Friends, I was a ripe target for foodie-shaming. I was (at least temporarily) an idiot.
No one ever did a morning-after social media post deletion so fast. No one. Ever. In the thousand-year history of Facebook.
And that’s my tale of woe. I can’t say, “no flies on me,” because there actually were flies on me. 😳 But – it won’t happen again. I’ll make other terrific mistakes, but not that one.
A Lesson Learned
My day job, my vocation, is knowledge management, a huge part of which is “lessons learned,” or helping people share what they know so that others can benefit from the knowledge. And in that spirit, I decided to come clean about the pesky fly and post my little morality play about what happens when you move too fast.
Here’s what I learned: it’s not just about taking the picture, it’s not just about posting the picture, it’s about carefully selecting the picture that perfectly tells your story. My quickly-selected picture actually did tell my story that day – that I was moving too fast. Another lesson: if there’s a fly around when you’re photographing food outside, it’s probably going to land in your soup. 😆