June 6, 2012

The other day Lady Laura took a picture of me eating a Klondike Bar. It wasn't pretty. She thought it was funny. I erased it off the camera.

An advocacy group is petitioning the President to ban photographs of him and all cabinet members eating any food that is unhealthy, mainly burgers and dogs (hot dogs, not the other kind of dogs although they are probably against that, too).

To date, the President has had his picture snapped eating a hot dog with British Prime Minister David Cameron (should have shared a big salad with no dressing, fellas), cheeseburgers with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (how about some of our delicious American carrot sticks, sir?) and stopping for a burger at Five Guys where the grease from the fries soaks the paper bag (should have kept walking to Whole Foods).

To the best of my understanding, the group demanding the photo ban, Physicians for Responsible Medicine Committee, is comprised of anti-meat, anti-dairy people that recognize three food groups: lettuce, tofu and gravel.

Although I am usually at odds with the food police, I am completely on board with the proposed ban. Frankly, it doesn’t go far enough. The ban should extend to the entire nation. No more pictures of people eating food. Period. We don’t need pictures of half an orange in someone’s mouth, barbecue sauce smeared across someone’s face or spaghetti snaking down someone’s chin.

Pictures of people eating are never attractive. I have tried to stress this to the husband who jumps up on a chair at every holiday meal, raises his camera for a good angle while people pass serving dishes, load their forks and break off pieces of rolls. People freeze every three seconds and nervously glance at the camera to see if it is safe to open their mouths and shove in a bite.

Even in the famous Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving illustration, people are not actually eating the food, they are simply admiring the food.

Once in awhile, a couple in a movie may share food in a romantic moment, but even then you’re looking to see if a strand of saliva is going to follow the strawberry from her mouth into his. Pictures of people eating are gross.

Fortunately, I have some cousins who helped prove my point. When I attended a funeral shortly after Thanksgiving one year, a cousin leaned forward from the pew behind and said to another cousin sitting beside me, “I saw pictures your daughter posted of her Thanksgiving table on Facebook. It was a beautiful table. I brought a picture so you could show her what your cousins’ holiday table looked like.”

The table was littered with paper plates and plastic cups. There were seven bottles of alcohol, scattered beer cans and several wine bottles on a counter. Two cousins were in the foreground sharing an open bag of chips.

This is why we do not take pictures of people eating. Not even family. Especially family.

And who doesn’t have etched into memory an image of that kid from the grade school lunch table who always ate with his mouth open? The sight was so revolting the kid may have helped keep other kids from getting fat.

I’m all for a hard and fast rule that maximizes the pleasure of eating. Food on, cameras off.