True life: I, Amanda Shulman, am addicted to Instagram. It’s kind of embarrassing but it’s true and it’s time to come clean. 98% of the people I follow are food Instagrammers, while the other 2% is made up of baby animal grams or a member of the Kardashian family. My own Instagram (@stayhungree for some shameless self-promotion) is dedicated to food as well, and I’m a small speck on the large scale of people showcasing food they make or eat on a daily basis.

I’ve come to think of Instagram as a sort of competition —I’ll post a picture of a stack of pancakes and will myself not to open the app for an hour and try and guess how many likes I get. There’s a secret thrill when I break 200. When I hit 300 I pat myself on the back and eat a cookie. It’s become a game and I’m getting good.

But recently I’ve been having some issues. Surfing the instagram world I see these ridiculous pictures of food racking up the likes and I have to wonder if people are actually eating this stuff. It seems the more ridiculous, the more lavish, the more sprinkle showered, chocolate laden, nutella coated the picture, the more likes it gets. It’s about excess and splurging and showing that you can make an ice cream sandwich out of anything and everything.

Photo courtesy of @gabscelz

It makes me wonder about how social media is affecting the way we eat. People are cooking up these wild creations as if to try to one up one another in the competition for craziest dessert ever consumed. This is coming from someone who goes through at least 1 lb of butter a week in baked goods so I’m not bashing desserts in any way. I’m not saying that people should stop gramming sprinkle oreo marshmallow caramel rainbow pancakes. I’m just asking why they’re doing it and if they’re actually enjoying eating what they make, regardless of how many likes they get.

I think we should post REAL food. Food that should actually be part of our diets —and yes this includes desserts and pastries too. It’s enough with the gimmicks for likes.

That being said, I’ve determined a formula to rack up as many likes as humanly possible.

1. Make an ice cream sandwich using two ice cream sandwiches as the bases.

2. Top desserts with excessive amounts of either candy, chocolate or whipped cream —preferably all of them.

3. Put a full pig’s worth of bacon on anything and everything. Extra points for including chocolate.

4. Top with any form of raw cookie dough.

5. Mention the word nutella in your caption.