An avocado “rose” is beautiful. It’s a food-styling party-trick that I appreciate, but probably cannot achieve. I prefer my avocado sliced, or mashed and topped with sea salt. Sometimes I prefer guacamole, especially from Chipotle. But never have I ever consumed an avocado rose. I’ll keep it that way.
This week on the podcast, I talk to food media maven, Carlene Thomas. Girl can make an avocado rose better than anyone I know, and I will double-tap it on Instagram every time. She’s a food stylist. This is her job. It’s her forte. She gets paid to make an avocado look like a rose, and to teach other people how to do it! (Story about that in episode 14.) Take one look at her website and you’ll realize why you might see an avocado rose or two on there. Her design skills are incredible. She makes food look beautiful. She catches your attention, reels you in, and then provides a recipe for real people who want to eat real food.
That’s the purpose of food styling. To show you real food, not make you think you have to put avocado roses on your toast every morning.
Food that doesn’t look amazing can still taste good.
In this age of social media—Instagram “food porn,” Pinterest images, and reacting to everything on Facebook—a real plate photo doesn’t get anyone excited about food. (I’m always happy to provide a crappy photo for contrast.) If the avocado rose photo gets you interested in the idea of putting avocado on your toast, therefore giving you some variety in your breakfast routine—i.e. giving you something to be excited about—I’m for it. If you go to make that avocado rose toast and get disappointed because it doesn’t look Instagramable, it will obviously taste the same.
“When are we going to get back to REAL food being exciting?”
Carlene asks, on the show. We see layered smoothies, stacked fluffy pancakes drizzling with syrup, sweet potato “toast” (😑 ), and the perfect baked oatmeal bowl with toppings laid out in a diagonal line. The point of these displays is to make the recipe seem appetizing to you; not to set an unachievable precedent for breakfast presentation. In some (media) cases, these perfectly-styled foods might not even be edible.
I know food styling makes food fun, but I also want food to be realistic. Real food tastes great, whether it’s picture-perfect or not. If it’s fun for you to style your food before you eat it, I’m not here to stop you. If it stresses you out and you start to layer your smoothie but realize you need to just GET TO WORK, that’s life. Mix it all up. Make it messy. It will taste the same.
For real plate photos that may make you feel better about your tasty mess, tune in here. For Carlene’s gorgeous styling and creative videos, scroll here. We’re both dietitians, showing you food in different ways, with the same end goal. We want you to eat real food that satisfies you, and tastes good.