From the editor

When aesthetics in food get wasteful

A new year, a new resolution. January is all about turning over leaves, pledging to Do Things Better then falling off the bandwagon some time around the 21st. So far though, in amongst the 5:2 chatter, new cookbook testing and the winter TV schedules, there’s been other, more disconcerting news of wastage. Should it be high on the list of political priorities? Yes. Is it? We don’t really know.

Aesthetics are important – we eat with our eyes, we share with our phones, we check in for our followers. It’s a new dimension to food and it’s making it great. But aesthetics should start at the final plate, not in the field or the market. Whether you’re guilty of it or not, it remains that some of us pass our high standards of appearance onto the raw ingredients, rejecting a crinkly pepper or bendy carrot. It’s a cultural pandemic that’s certain to come back and haunt us very soon.

Perfection runs through the vein of food, and a digital SLR is now as important an ingredient for a blog as the food itself. Hundreds of adoring comments hang beneath posts appreciating a recipe’s beauty, but few food blogs break with convention. When we saw a blog titled Recipe Disasters of 2012 on How Sweet It Is, it was the perfect antidote to the usual repertoire of perfection. While Jessica’s blog is another hub of outstanding food photography and diverse range of recipes, the most appealing of her anecdotal posts is her recipe failures.

There’s no shame in getting it wrong, and the honesty should be welcomed. There are always lessons to be learned in food, from the science of baking to the balance of flavour, and sharing online connects the dots.

But the biggest lesson that we all need to learn is thrift. Cook from scratch, avoid perishable promotions and use your freezer. Share your tips and look beyond the beauty of your final plate – how you arrived there is inherently more useful. And no one will ever know if the vegetables were bruised.