For those of you who are well-acquainted with the St. Olaf website, you know that there is a section dedicated to our college president David Anderson ’74 and things he wants to share with the community, such as book and restaurant recommendations. What you might not know, however, is that Anderson has also been engaging in social media, most prominently with his Instagram account, davids_plate, which documents his culinary adventures.
An afficionado of fine cuisine, Anderson’s constant encounter with food – either at home or when traveling – turned into a habit of taking pictures of meals that he ate or cooked and sending them to his family members.
The habit culminated two years ago during a family vacation in Maine when his son said to him, “If you’re going to take all these pictures of food, you should start an Instagram account.”
Anderson remarked that because he is a college president, he must take extra care not to post potentially problematic content on social media.
“Food’s never a problem. And so that’s the rule, it all has to be pictures of food. Hence the name davids_plate as well,” Anderson said.
Aside from food pictures, Anderson also posts pictures of his mise en place during his cooking. Mise en place is a French culinary term that describes the setting of ingredients that a cook usually lays out before their cooking process begins.
However, Anderson does not post every morsel of food that he encounters to Instagram, noting that he only does so whenever he makes or sees food that is worthy of a post.
This measurement also connects itself to his standard of what a good dining experience ought to be.
“It doesn’t count as a meal unless you eat it sitting down, on a plate, with cutlery and a napkin. Aside from that, it’s just snacking,” Anderson said.
In addition, three main items must be encountered on one’s plate to consider your meal a fine dine: meat, starch and vegetables.
Overall, however, Anderson’s goal with davids_plate is for people to really notice their food, take pleasure in it and be happy with its variety.
“You shouldn’t just simply sit down and gobble your food up,” Anderson said.
For those with further interest, davids_plate is frequently updated and may become your new culinary inspiration.