Friday, May 11, 2012

Food Porn

Have you seen any good food porn lately?

Food porn is glamorized visual representation of cooking, eating, or even the display of food in advertisements, cookbooks, magazines...the list goes on. Even your news feed may be flaunting foodie porn. The term was coined by the feminist critic Rosalind Coward in her 1984 Female Desire. "Cooking food and presenting it beautifully is an act of servitude. It is a way of expressing affection through a gift...That we should aspire to produce perfectly finished and presented food is a symbol of a willing and enjoyable participation in serving others. Food pornography exactly sustains these meanings relating to the preparation of food. The kinds of pictures used always repress the process of production of a meal" (103).

The food is presented provocatively, in a similar fashion as glamour photography or pornographic photography. Props, lighting, and cropping all play a part in food porn, just like its predecessor. Unconventional food items may fill the role of hypersexual porn stars; all in all we are tempted by the unattainable and exotic. But there's definitely food porn with the more common ingredients...macaroni, hot dogs, hamburgers could all fill the role.

Here's a few prime examples:




Slightly sexual, right? That pink icing looks like frilly lingerie. All of these images dissociate with the process of making and preparing behind them. For all we know, that cake took an entire day to make, but we would never know unless we did it ourselves. Take for example, the mayo we handmade yesterday. Who would have know the intense and labor-intensive process behind the condiment we take for granted. Pouring in the light olive oil drop by drop, whisking to a frenzy, mincing garlic cloves...all for something that could be easily found in a jar. Even hand-washing the greens and tearing them to bits seemed ridiculous and inconvenient in comparison to the bagged salad hanging out in the grocery store.

With immersion in process, I felt as though I really appreciated what I was eating. It wasn't a one night stand with the Big Mac from the corner burger joint. I worked hard with this relationship. I appreciated the work that went into this food. The meal that we all worked on together was hands-down the best vegetarian meal I have ever had.

Does your food look good enough to be considered food porn?




all images, minus my own, via http://-foodporn.tumblr.com/

2 comments:

  1. I've seen show about the "food" that is used in pictures for magazines and commercials. Most of it isn't even edible, mainly because it is almost always under-cooked. They do this because it is near impossible to make a Thanksgiving turkey look as good as they do once it is cooked properly and a burger is more appetizing if the color is added via blowtorch or artificial coloring. Sometimes you simply can't prepare food that looks as good as the pictures.

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  2. When I saw the title of your post I immediately thought of this Carl Jr's commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UGoVioteJk

    While it's not exactly the same thing as what you discussed above, the idea of having a one night stand versus a relationship with your food was a great analogy! I think that if we begin to build relationships with our food, we will think of what we eat and how we eat in a much different way. I know I'm beginning to appreciate homemade and local products much more after just 2 weeks of class than I ever have before.

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