The waiter briskly moves towards us and stops just a foot away table, balancing the black serving tray stacked high with the ceramic plates that make-up our dinner. From memorization, he beings gently, but purposely, sliding everyone's orders in front of them and within seconds I'm am starring my meal.
Strands of thin angel hair pasta dances in circles, twisting and turning across the plate. A deep rouge Bolognese sauce glazes the strands speckled with small chunks of pork and lamb.
But, the true star of the show is the perfected toasted goat cheese round resting atop the pasta, its golden crust waiting to be broken into to release the creamy center.
While everyone starts to dig into their meals impatiently waiting for the first forkful to hit their taste buds, I am taking out my phone.
Before any utensil can breach the dish's barrier, I must take a picture.
I've been documenting my meals since I can remember, even before the days of Instagram and Snapchat stories that are now flooded with food pictures. It was never for the enjoyment of others but more a personal gallery of all the amazing dishes and places I've tried.
Within these pictures, I could appreciate the different cultures I had been introduced to and the environments I had experienced. I could remember who I enjoyed the meal with and some snippets of conversations filled with laughs and the reminiscing of fond memories from the early years.
Also, food is beautiful.
It's nearly impossible to resist not capturing the moment when a dish like creamy black truffle risotto or a beautifully structured charcuterie board floods your presence.
I had been taking these pictures for years, slowly letting them cumulate the contents of my camera roll without giving it much thought.
But, when COVID-19 creep into the daily life of Americans and forced us into stay-at-home orders and state-mandated quarantines the result was a surge in "Food Instas".
People were stuck at home and, and either an effort to try and pass the copious amounts of time or because many restaurants were momentarily closed, were beginning to cook/bake much more. This increased kitchen time has led many people to create "Food Instas" to document their improvement and the recipes they've made for themselves and their families.
The best part about these accounts is that they can be anything you want them to be.
It is completely up to interpretation. Some accounts are more focused on diets and healthy recipes while others create indulgent dinners and decadent desserts.
I had friends making sour cream and onion kale chips while others were posting videos of melting mozzarella on homemade pizzas.
After scrolling through dozens of food-related pictures and videos on my feed I decided it was time I created my own account but within somewhat if a twist.
Like I said, I had documented pictures of food almost my entire life.
So, while restaurants were closed, I decided why not post some of my favorite spots and meals I had had in the past — a little homage to the good old days of meeting up with friends for a bite. And that was how @fatandfull_ was created.
At first, I was posting pictures of the amazing meals I had in the past.
Below, see a golden-brown, flaky croisant with a cinnamon latte from my favorite cafe, Ferra's, in Madrid, Spain.
While posting these meals, I realized this Instagram was as much for food as the places I have traveled. Unintentionally, I had meals from Morocco, Spain, Canada, the list continues.
Within these food pictures, I could appreciate and savor where I had traveled while being confined to my home.
As COVID-19 restrictions started to lift in mid-June, my posts turned from previous meals to current meals I was eating at restaurants that were finally open. I was showing my small cumulation of followers the food I was having in real-time at some of my favorite places around my home-town.
@fatandfull_ gives me the freedom to share whatever I want.
Whether it past meals from across the world or my favorite coffee down the road. I have even begun posting some home-made meals.
I finally have a space to cumulate all those pictures of food I had been taking for years. It was like I subconsciously knew these photos would eventually have a purpose other than resting in my camera roll waiting for the occasional scan of my eye.
For anyone reading, I strongly encourage you to create a Food Instagram.
Whether you want to post home-made meals and recipes you are proud of or beautiful restaurant meals the choice is up to you.
Creating an account might even inspire you to be a little more daring in the kitchen and try recipes you might have been too timid to take on before. Maybe it will give you the courage to go a restraint you have always wanted to go to but also had an excuse of why you didn't.
You can even find and follow other people's Food Instas and get inspired by their feeds. You could find new recipes to try or some restaurants you would have never know about.
The possibilities are endless and the result is whatever you make of it.
With the crazy and scary times that 2020 has brought, find comfort in the one thing everyone loves. Food.
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