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October 16, 2019

Adding Humour And Creativity To #Foodstagram: Soupy Kaur

As told to Zaral Shah. Illustration by Osheen Siva

The perks of cyber popularity can undoubtably be intoxicating, but they are exponentially rewarding when you leverage the web to engage in constructive social criticism and open up dialogues. Read about the last in a series of eight prolific posters who are leaving a legacy that goes beyond the likes…

SOUPY KAUR
Food Instagrammer

Food-related Instagram accounts are full of images designed to leave your mouth watering, but often it is extremely difficult to set the photos from these pages apart from one another other. Enter @soupykaur_, an anonymous account driven by someone who is focused on creating content that lets them engage with other food lovers. The handle, an internet inside joke, lends it a sense of play; it is an obvious take-off on the famous — or infamous depending on where you stand — Insta-poet’s name, and the minimalist page is a collection of ‘poems, recipes and humble reviews of all things food’, with posts that alternate between top-shots of styled food dishes and poems or recipes accompanied by simple line drawings.

“The inception of the page @soupykaur_ happened around the time I had quit my full-time job last year and tried to find ways to keep myself creatively charged. I wanted to share my culinary encounters in a format that wasn’t a cookie cutter Instagram food page, and I know that the content had to be odd yet engaging and fun. One day, while I was scrolling through Rupi Kaur’s feed, I came up with the name ‘Soupy Kaur’. However, beneath the playful satire, Soupy has its own identity that revolves around food, humour and creativity. It’s a project that definitely has to be taken lightly.”

“The real journey with cooking began when I left home at 15 and had to find a way to not miss it too much. I was always intrigued by my mother’s food, and I’d often help her in the kitchen when I was young. You’d think cooking would be an intimidating process, but eventually you realise that it’s rather meditative; and just like that my relationship with food became an escape from the day’s stress. Over time, I’ve also come to realise that food isn’t just a source of energy. It’s a rather powerful medium that can take you down memory lane, spark conversations and unite people.”

“Social media can change your outlook on life, and it comes down to filtering who you follow. On the one hand, it’s troublesome to see influencers and pages on social media sending out the wrong messages about excessive consumption and unattainable lifestyles — this side of social media is harmful, to say the least. On the other, we have creators, designers, artists and great thinkers who are doing what they love and inspiring followers in incredibly positive ways. The digital world is very powerful, and messages have the ability to reach millions of people in a matter of seconds. So, with a great follower count comes great responsibility!”

“The first post was a take on Rupi’s style of poetry, which often speaks of suffering. Here, I introduced a different kind of suffering — being unable to cook. It portrayed Soupy as an individual who was neither a chef nor a writer, but rather, a curious individual looking to learn and engage in conversation about food through the ’gram. Aglio e olio pasta is a dish that I had been trying to master at the time, and it was very popular with my friends.”

“I don’t think hiding likes or video views on Instagram would make a real difference. However, I’m not too sure how the algorithm would be modified, as the current feed tends to be populated by the posts you like or engage with. As long as the content is relatable or likeable, it might motivate people to comment more, thereby adding a personal touch to the user engagement.”

I was looking to share stories about my culinary experiences during my travels, and an online platform seemed to be the most ideal way to do so. All I needed was a laptop with Adobe Illustrator. So far, I haven’t had to deal with anything particularly challenging because this is a fun project that I engage with whenever I wish to escape from my full-time job. What could be more exciting than being able to joke, sketch and talk about food at barely any cost?”

“The fact that I’m neither a chef nor a writer yet am both through @soupykaur_, goes to show that in today’s day and age we can be whatever we wish. Hopefully, that can inspire people not to be so intimidated by the process and more excited about the outcome. Through this project, I am able to engage in a two-way conversation with people who have respect for the one thing that unites us all — food.”

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