Let’s be honest: if you're a regular social media user, chances are that you spend a lot more time than you should scrolling through foodie posts on Instagram. During this pandemic, the number of foodstagrams (a.k.a food Instagrams) has skyrocketed, even amongst Penn students.
High–quality photos of carb–loaded carbonaras and mouthwatering sweet treats are enough to make any stomach growl, but have you ever wondered what it was like to actually run a foodstagram? The Penn students behind two up–and–coming foodstagrams weigh in on what it's like to be the chef behind the camera.
The photos on this foodstagram are delectable enough to make Gordon Ramsay cry tears of joy. Rebecca Jiang (W, C '23), a writer for Penn Appétit, is passionate about food journalism. Student by day, foodstagram owner by night, Rebecca started @beckysbitez as a quarantine side project to catalog her meals and to capture memories of cooking with her mother.
“I realized that what I looked forward to the most every day was making meals and spending time making these meals with my family. So I decided I wanted an outlet to share with others and have an image form of a food journal of me cooking with my mom,” Rebecca said.
For Rebecca, becoming the proud owner of a foodstagram was not just about showing off her cooking talents. Instead, it was an opportunity to share her quarantine activities with her friends and to improve her own cooking skills: "I like to see the food that I made and my progress because I genuinely wish to get better at cooking and being able to see all of my cooking at one time is cool. I’m encouraged to post and enjoy the support from my friends.”
In addition to posting the homemade meals that she whipped up during quarantine, Rebecca’s foodstagram also features dishes from several restaurants that she visited in the past. All in all, Becky’s Bitez is a foodstagram with posts so appetizing they'll have you running to your own kitchen to recreate them.
And if you’re looking to start an account of your own to fuel your passion for food, Rebecca advises you to go for it, “I’m a strong believer in making a food insta about yourself as long as it is intrinsically something you are interested in out of your own motivation. But, consider the impact you could be making [in the community]. Take the extra time to share food you grew up with and take opportunities to cook with others and support your local restaurants!”
If you're looking for a foodstagram to follow that features a diverse array of cuisines, check out @feedmebalti.more! This foodstagram was started by a group of roommates: Alex Shaw (E' 22), Felicity Yick (E' 22), Amy Shen (E' 22), Julia Yan (E' 22), Emma Glasser (C, E' 22), and Maddie Kalil (E' 22). What started as a light–hearted activity during quarantine has now turned into a way for them to look back at fun food–filled memories and reminisce about their time together.
“We’re roommates and all like cooking and homemade meals and want to make food, [We also] love taking food pictures and have shared albums after each meal, which made us realize we have shared aesthetically pleasing food pictures to share with the world," Felicity exclaimed.
The so–called Baltimore Galz have shared plenty of mouth–watering dishes on their page and aren’t afraid to try new types of food. Whether the dish is Korean, Vietnamese, Mediterranean, or Italian, the Baltimore Galz do their best to expose their followers to diverse cultures via cooking. From making pizza dough from scratch to sushi and even vegetarian diets, cooking and running a foodstagram has pushed these friends to expand their palates. “We find cooking as a great way to bring different things to the table. It allows us to try new food we never would have tried on our own ourselves.”
As for what motivated them to start up their account, the girls all agree that a desire to spend quality time together and bond over cooking and eating is what pushed them to take the plunge into the foodie side of social media. In addition to documenting these memories, the ability look back at their posts together years in the future is another reason why these girls enjoy running @feedmebalti.more.
“We have made really nice meals together and eat together as a house and like a family, but a big family of six people. We’ve made some really nice meals and were really proud of ourselves and want to showcase them to friends and family,” added Emma and Alex.
Take it from these Penn students: foodstagrams are a great way to document memories made in the kitchen and to share some mouthwatering meals. Make sure to keep these beau-tea-ful accounts on your radar next time your hangry self needs to be calmed with food pictures!