Before you fire up Instagram to post a photo of what’s on your plate, you need to ask yourself three things:
1. Is this interesting for other people?
2. When was the last time I posted a food pic?
3. Is the taste of this dish significantly depreciating with each passing second?
If your answers are totally, ages ago, and not at all, then by all means, make us jealous of your dry-aged burger/avocado toast/whatever. Maybe we’ll even comment on your artful choice of filter and what a fun life you appear to lead.
But if you post a photo of the following massively time-sensitive foods, we will not comment, nor will we like. Instead we will judge*, because in those fleeting moments you’ve revealed yourself to be the kind of person who would rather show off good food than enjoy it at its (rapidly diminishing) peak. To avoid such shame, here’s a list of foods you should never, ever Instagram.
* Needless to say, we are complete hypocrites in this regard, but we are trying to amend our ways.
Ever wonder why ramen restaurants won’t let you order to go? It’s because once the noodles hit the broth, there’s a very short window before the noodles become overly soggy and the broth too thick. Start slurping the moment the bowl hits the table, and post a photo of your empty bowl afterwards if you must (or, if you’re at a place like Ivan Ramen, just snap the awesome ramen art). The same goes for fresh pasta, which is very delicate and usually carefully cooked to exactly the right consistency before serving. (Photo: @nachohunters)
We wouldn’t go so far as to say anything with melted cheese must be eaten straight away, since there’s no denying that pizza is a whole different type of delicious the next morning. But the perfect mouthful of nachos is equal parts crunchy tortilla chip, piquant salsa, and gooey cheese—a combination that is basically impossible with a chip that’s moistened beyond all structural use, with cheese that has congealed into a single rubbery mass. This rule is doubly true if the nachos are served with a cheese sauce, in which case the entire plate of nachos should ideally be eaten in about 30 seconds flat. (Photo: @ali_robbo)
At a good sushi restaurant it’s likely the chef spent years in training, and you’d be wise to enjoy the fruits of that intensive labor by eating the bite-size morsels as they’re handed to you across the counter. According to connoisseur and author Trevor Corson, eating sushi immediately allows you to enjoy it at the proper temperature—with the rice still slightly warm—and before any nori used has the chance to get soggy. Bonus points if you eat nigiri with your hands like a pro. (Photo: @firstwefeast…whoops)
Pie a la mode
Equally applicable to any hot dessert served with a scoop of ice cream, eating this dish is a race against the clock, and a metaphor for our futile mortal efforts to snatch a few brief moments of enjoyment in the face of the universe’s unrelenting entropy. (Photo: @alexcmaccaro)
That latte art might be begging to be photographed, but your barista took pains to ensure the steamed milk was at exactly the right consistency before pouring it, which also happens to be the best consistency for drinking it. Get in there before the microfoam in the milk completely separates into an aerated top layer of froth—and before your coffee gets cold, fool. (Photo: @latteart_papergram)
We never make risotto at home anymore because it’s such a pain in the arse; you can’t leave it unattended on the stove for more than a minute and you have to eat it immediately or it tastes terrible. The reason is the same reason that oatmeal should be eaten with haste: If you let it stand, the starches that create that thick, unctuous texture will harden and set, leaving you with a bowl of cold cement, as well as a dull ache in your arm from constantly stirring it. (Photo: @sennagianmarco)
Soup Dumplings (Xiaolongbao)
These wonderful Shanghainese parcels are usually packed with pork, minced crab meat, and other delicious things that make them the king of dumplings. The process for making xiaolongbao is an art form—the inside is lined with meat aspic, which melts into a savory soup when they’re steamed. But if you let them sit around while futzing with the lighting for the perfect ‘gram, that soupy goodness will congeal, and the wrapper will harden and loose its tenderness. Eat soup dumplings immediately for the savory Gusher effect that makes them so great. (Photo: @snackfixation)
Most people’s experience with live seafood doesn’t extend further than the average raw bar offerings. But in Japan, you can get ikizukuri (live sashimi) that’s been sliced right off a fish, squid, octopus, shrimp, or lobster while it’s still wriggling. Should you be brave enough to try this, we could totally understand the massive temptation to document the horrifying death throes of your dinner. However, we’ve already discussed that sushi needs to be eaten immediately. Plus, part of the supposed enjoyment of this dish is that the flesh is still “dancing,” meaning the pitiful creature’s nervous system has yet to shut down completely and the muscle fibers are still twitching. Do you really want to miss out on the chance to chew food that fights back? We didn’t think so. (Photo: @heartac7110)
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