Food is any substance normally eaten or drunk by living organisms. The term food also includes liquid drinks. Food is the main source of energy and of nutrition for animals, and is usually of animal or plant origin.

Humans are omnivorous animals that can consume both plant and animal products. We changed from gatherers to hunter gatherers. After the experience of the ice age it is probable that humans wanted to create some feeling of security by controlling what plants were growing and which animals were available.

This led to agriculture, which has continually improved and altered the way in which food is obtained.

A selection of different complementary foods eaten together comprises a meal. People often choose to eat meals together with other family members or friends and this is seen as an important social occasion. Food eaten in smaller quantities between meals is regarded as snack food.

The number of meals in a day, their size, composition, when and how they are prepared and eaten vary greatly around the world. This is greatly dependent on the local climate, ecology, economy, cultural traditions and industrialisation.

Remember that no one has to eat the food you are photographing, so it’s OK to mess around with it, as the professionals do. If gravity is preventing the arrangement you want from staying in place, there’s nothing wrong with applying a little glue in the appropriate spot.

If you are photographing a roast chicken or Thanksgiving turkey, do not just cook it as you would to eat it – it will look awful. First stuff the bird with wet kitchen paper: that will create steam and make the carcase look plumper. Only roast the fowl until the skin looks right, and don’t worry that most of it is still raw. Now give it a fake spray tan of brown food colouring mixed with a little oil, and you are ready to compose your shot.

For the dessert, ice cream won’t last long under lights, and professional photographers used to fake it with mashed potato; now you can buy frosting and mix it with powdered sugar until it looks to be the consistency of ice cream (but really it is more like play-dough). Then you can take as long as you like composing the perfect picture of that delicious dessert.