My grandmother made biscuits for every meal of the day. She made biscuits the old fashioned way. She would mix them up in a bowl, shape them by hand, and then pop them into the oven to bake. Her biscuits were thin with a crisp crust. They were the perfect size for holding a piece of sausage and taking to go. My mother, on the other hand, made biscuits only on Sunday at breakfast time. She would start the dough in a bowl, move to a floured work surface, roll the dough, and then shape the dough with a biscuit cutter. Her biscuits would bake up thick, fluffy, and perfectly round. There would be a slight crust on the top and bottom. They were ideal for slathering with sausage gravy and eating at the table. Each of my mother’s biscuits averaged 2 inches thick.
Both my grandmother’s biscuits and my mother’s biscuits were made with the exact same ingredients down to the brand of flour used. They turned out very different, however, because of different mixing methods and different desires. My grandmother did not want to make thick biscuits. She wanted flat biscuits that she could eat by hand. My mother prided herself on thick southern style biscuits. Most importantly, they never compared their biscuits. Each woman was secure in her own skills.
Of course, this was before social media. Now, people feel compelled to photograph every thing they bake and compare it to every other picture of food on the Internet. They post the images then stalk the comments section, seeking approval from the masses. They share the photo with their friends, family, and even complete strangers. They post it, pin it, tweet it, and Instagram it all in an effort to feel better about their accomplishment. The problem is, self-esteem suffers when users compare their accomplishments to the accomplishments of other people. Not surprisingly, more than 50% of adult users have admitted that using social media has actually made their lives worse.
While social media is a great tool to maintain contact with friends and family members who no longer live nearby, social media subconsciously forces us to compare our lives with others. Social media posts present an idealized version of what’s happening with the not-so-glorious bits purposefully edited out. As an example, think back to your friend’s most recent family vacation photos. Did you see a photo of a meltdown or tantrum? You probably did not; you probably saw a lot of pictures of smiling children and happy parents. Do you really think a family traveling with children went an entire week without a tantrum or a meltdown? No, they simply chose not to share those memories online.
Along the same lines, think about the last time that you saw a photo of homemade biscuits on your social media feed. Were any of them burned? Of course not! When sharing biscuit photos, people only use the best biscuits with the least flaws. The biscuits would be arranged in optimum lighting on the best plates for the photo. Many photos would be taken and then be filtered and retouched prior to posting. Would the biscuits pictured be indicative of the baking skills of the baker? Would the photo tell you how they taste? No. So, is it really fair to compare your attempt at baking to a photo like that? No, but social media photos do not come with that disclaimer. Social media photos represent a carefully staged moment of life where, if a photo doesn’t look good enough, another will be taken. They set an unrealistic standard.
This doesn’t mean that you should abandon judicious social media use. Social media is still a fantastic way to maintain social contact. Just be sure you take it with a grain of salt. Stop comparing your life to hundreds of people you may never have met. As they say, comparison is the thief of joy. Choose to celebrate your accomplishments instead of finding fault. Remember, some biscuits are made for gravy and others are made to go.