Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dirt for Dinner; Take a Picture

A spoonful of dirt as an ingredient?
In a restaurant in Tokyo, patrons are eating dirt. When I first came across this article, I was astonished not only by the fact that someone thought of dirt as an ingredient, but that people would pay $110 for the privilege of eating this earthy stuff.

I was also surprised that the writer referred to this new culinary product as dirt, rather than soil. There is a difference, but that really is a topic for just az gardens.

Turns out, the dirt served up in this Tokyo restaurant is palm fiber, a product similar to coir pith or coconut husk. It's used in gardening, and more specifically, used in hydroponics. It's neither dirt nor soil.

My husband and I have used coir pith in our hydroponic projects. It never occurred to us to eat the stuff.

The 'dirt' is a mix of palm fiber and coffee grounds, what most gardeners refer to as compost.
The first course in this meal is soup, a potato starch and dirt soup. I use potato starch as an ingredient in gluten free cooking. It's pretty cheap stuff. It never occurred to me to mix it with some water and coconut pith and call it soup. Wish I had. I could call it a culinary art piece and sell a bowl to anyone with a $20 bill.

Then he could take a picture of it and post it to instagram and tweet about his dirt soup in a bowl for twenty bucks.

This brings me to my next topic: taking photographs of food and sending it out to the social media sphere.

Apparently, some restaurateurs and chefs take exception to patrons snapping photos of the culinary creations served up in their establishments. Apparently, they think it's rude.

Snapped a pic of a Caribbean Chicken Sandwich
More precisely, other patrons are disturbed by camera flash, or a photographer's need to stand on his chair to get the shot, or even set up a tabletop tripod and shoot from various angles.

Okay, I can see that. I don't want to go to a restaurant and have someone at the next table snapping away with his camera. But I don't really care if someone holds their small camera and takes a quick pic, or uses their camera phone. I've done that myself.

But the problem lies in those who do not understand how to behave in public, people who have little regard for the strangers around them. They lack good manners.

The issue is compounded by all those food photos filling up cyberspace. Think about it. Do you have a friend that sends you a pic of every meal they eat? Do you really care about that bowl of blueberry oatmeal at McDonalds, or that bait served up as sushi at the latest trendy restaurant that will close in six months?

These guys never snap a pic or tweet a dish
I like food, obviously. And I like taking pictures of beautifully presented food. And I take pictures of food I make so I can share them here on this blog.

But I don't think all my friends would like it if I flooded their inboxes with images of the latest addition to the salad menu at Wendy's.

But I have to admit: If I went to a restaurant and had potato starch and dirt soup, I would have to snap that pic and put it out there.

Hey, at least it's low fat, gluten free, and vegetarian. Maybe that's what's for dinner tonight.

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