"It's the presentation that counts."
You hear that everywhere in the food industry. You hear it in the meagerest greasy spoons and in the toniest maisons de gastronomie, in the Kickstarter-refurbished Airstream trailers with a couple of thrift-store hot plates squatting on the interior Formica, and in the towering urban citadels of culinary sophistication where Sub-Zero and Bertazzoni rule the stainless-steel cookscape. You especially hear it in food journalism, food blogging, food whatever that's purveyed by the media.
Sure, the taste of the stuff is paramount; yes, the nutrients involved are important; but, whatever it is that's being served up, it damned well better look good before it's ingested. Why, in this very issue, our Arts Editor Robert Faires reports on the work of food photographer Jody Horton. That's a separate, viable, and rewarding occupation all its own, food photographer, so you know we're not just flapping our gums about this gotta-look-good business.
But eating – at least when you're eating with others – isn't just about the food. It's partly about who's doing the eating and, especially, how good they look while they're doing it. We don't like to look bad when we're chowing down in the midst of some socially enhanced foodie foray, and we know you don't want to look bad, either. This is why we called upon none other than Austin's own Hungry Todd Rungy, celebrity and super-patriot, a professional competitive eater, to show us the proper way to comport ourselves nomwise.
Hungry Todd, as his innumerable fans call him, broke the world cupcake speed-eating record by consuming six (sugar-free) cupcakes in 58.9 seconds back in 2011. Today, having participated (eagerly if not always triumphantly) in many such culinary battles, he's the fourth most-followed competitive eater on all of Twitter. Also, the popular gastrojock, whose impassioned cries of "USA! USA!" break any extended silence the way Julia Child broke quails' eggs, is a frequent spokes-eater for Torchy's Tacos, Micklethwait Craft Meats, and East Side King, so we teamed up with those fine kitchens to provide a sort of style guide for readers online, a photo gallery in which Chronicle photographer John Anderson captures Hungry Todd Rungy vividly demonstrating "How to Look Good While Eating Anything." Check it out at austinchronicle.com/photos.
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