We're all connected through food; for some people, it's simply seen as a necessity for survival, but for someone like me, it's a passion. Food is a powerful medium that can unite people, as well as something that can bring immense joy and pleasure.
Since I often share my joy of cooking, eating and going to restaurants with friends and family, it's only fitting that my Facebook profile has turned into an epicenter of all things culinary. Never before has Facebook been more apt to serve the needs of "foodies" like me.
Whether it's clicking the "...Like" button on an article about the latest "World Cup Drinking Game" on Chow.com or filling your profile "Likes and Interests" with food-related activities that link you to Community Pages of other people who share your interests, Facebook has made it easy to be a foodie in cyberspace. My entire profile is full of links to food articles, reviews of my latest food adventures and connections to my favorite culinary topics.
On my home page, I have a customized friend list that includes the Facebook Pages of food blogs such as Serious Eats and A Hamburger Today, culinary personalities such as Mario Batali and Alton Brown, and food competition shows like Bravo's "Top Chef".
Yum, What's in That?
Sharing recipes is a longtime tradition in my family, and with Facebook Notes it couldn't be easier. If my friends liked my status update about my homemade spiced carrot orange bread, I'll tag them in my note that details just how much allspice and ginger I put in it. In fact, the Facebook Culinary Team, which spoils us daily here at Facebook, has started sharing the recipes to some of their most delicious meals through Notes.
Eating with Your Eyes
I know I've annoyed more than a few of my friends with all of my culinary pictures--a quick mobile snapshot of the braised pork belly on my plate, and two seconds later, my friends know what I'm about to enjoy.
For someone like Kate Anderson French, a professional chef and blogger, documenting the pictures of the food she creates for her weekly dinner parties on her blog Scrumptious Company is just as important as the words she writes. She links her blog to her Facebook Page, which has helped her start her catering business with a bang.
"People in Chicago who love my blog are telling their friends, and next month I'm extending my dinner party series to include potential clients I have met from Facebook networking," Kate said.
Food, like fashion, has its hot trends and social networking has shaped one of the latest trends: mobile street food. Vendors are updating their locales daily, complete with special ordering systems and deals. The CurryUpNow cart, which has brought Indian street food to the San Francisco Bay Area, updates the status of its page multiple times a day, letting its fans know where it'll be, when online ordering is available and when any special items are being featured.
Said owner Akash Kapoor, "Facebook has given us the chance for more interaction, response and suggestions direct from customers. We're able to let everyone know where we're going to be, what specials we will be featuring, including pictures, as well as updates on when we're running out of anything."
Aside from elusive food carts that send updates on their whereabouts, local restaurants have also turned to Facebook to announce special events and deals. In my hometown of San Francisco, Town Hall restaurant tells fans when the outside BBQ is on and grilling, and Indian restaurant Dosa sends updates to members about upcoming events at its restaurant.
Sandwich and bakery chain Specialty's Cafe and Bakery features a "Sandwich Man Hunt," where on its Facebook Page it give clues to finding the Specialty's Sandwich Man in return for a free lunch.
Facebook has made it possible for foodies like me to connect with our culinary stars and share our passion for a special dish or restaurant. So the next time you see a food picture from a friend, you might just be a few clicks away from discovering culinary treasure.
Amanda, an analyst on Facebook's user operations team, is eating her way through the Big Eat SF 2010 100 Things to Eat & Drink Before You Die list by using its Facebook application.