I admit it. I Instagram my food. Why do I do it? That’s a good question. If you were to ask chef, television personality and author Anthony Bourdain why, he may say it’s because I want others to feel bad.

In an interview for Smithsonian Magazine about the foodie revolution (which you should read in its entirety), he has a thing or two to say about the posting of food photos by way of Instagram.

“Chefs bitch about it when it’s going on in their restaurants,” Bourdain says, “yet when they go out to dinner, they’re taking pictures of everything. And any notion that that’s sharing? It’s bullshit. It’s about making other people feel bad about what they’re eating. And a certain knowledge that what you’re eating is more interesting.”
Whoa. Wait a minute. Of all the reasons I could come up with for why I create, as some people call it, "food porn" on Instagram, making other’s feel bad wouldn’t be one of them. So what are my reasons?

Often, it’s because I’m working, and it’s part of the job. I’ll be at a media dinner at a restaurant really enjoying the food, and I want to give the restaurant a little social media plug because I feel it deserves it. Posting photos of a restaurant’s dishes can get others interested in the place.

Once in a while, I Instagram food I’ve made with my kids. I’m a proud mom.

And, sometimes I do it because I’m out to eat with friends and the food is impressive. I’m connected with lots of other food lovers, and I think they’ll enjoy seeing what I’m eating. This is where I wonder if Bourdain may be right. Am I showing off? Am I saying to my food-loving friends, “Look at this fermented rice and chickpea cake I’m eating. It’s so much better than the spaghetti and meatballs you’re eating at home tonight.” (Yes, I really did Instagram a photo of a fermented rice and chickpea cake.) Do I want my friends to feel bad about their spaghetti and meatballs? I hope not. Perhaps I am doing it to feel better about myself. Get a little attention. A few "likes." Life's been difficult lately. A little social interaction with others through a comment or two during the solitary days that I sit at home and write is welcome. 

Now Bourdain's comment has given me even more to think about. In trying to feel a little better about myself, does it necessarily make others feel bad? 

Let me ask you, when you're sitting at home eating spaghetti and meatballs (I'm not trying to malign the dish; it's just a common make-at-home food I feel everyone can relate to), would seeing someone's Instagram of fermented rice and chickpea cake make you feel bad about yourself? And the next obvious question is, if you Instagram your food, why do you do it?

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Do you Instagram your food? Why?
Anthony Bourdain says it's because you want others to feel bad, which leads to the question: Do you feel bad about yourself when you see food porn?