Sunday, November 06, 2005

Food Porn

I make it a habit to call someone as I get off my train at night and start walking towards my apartment building. There is a small stretch where the streetlights are few and far between and the shadowy hiding places prevalent; a great area for muggers, rapists, and murderers (oh my!) to lurk while they wait to mug, rape or murder. The act of calling someone is less a defense against the dangers of the night and more a “Here’s where to find my body if something happens.” Morbid, I know.

The other night as I was walking home I decided to call the folks, and see how everything was going. Usually my mother is attentive, asking where I am exactly every fifteen seconds or so, but that night she was distracted. “I can call someone else if you want?”

“No, no. It’s fine. We’re just watching the Food Network. Have you ever seen the Food Network?”

“I don’t have cable, Mom. Remember?”

“Well, there’s this man on and he’s making shrimp burgers. Shrimp Burgers! You’re father is drooling.”

He wasn’t the only one drooling, but let’s leave the woman some dignity. I’m sure it’s hard to stay strong when being tempted by shrimp burgers, especially when you are a hardcore seafood lover. Besides, it was all becoming clear to me.

“That’s because you are watching Food Porn, Mom.”

Yes, Food Porn. No, not like that scene out of 9 ½ weeks. And no, I did not come up with the title, though I find it appropriate, a friend did that when I remarked that she sure had a lot of cookbooks.

“That’s because they’re food porn.”

“Food porn?”

“They arouse a sensation and an emotional response.” She shrugged. “Hence food porn.”

Who knew? Definitely a unique way to look at the mouthwatering, oh-dear-god-I-must-have-that-dish-NOW sensation I get whenever I see the cover of Cooking Light (last month’s issue with the potato leek soup and the toasted cheesy bread on the cover almost did me in, I had to go eat something immediately). And perhaps it explains America’s fight with obesity. We are compelled to eat. It looks to good! I know some people who would choose food over sex, and if that doesn’t make food pornographic, I don’t know what does.

I mean, look at this. Really look.



We sold almost 20 copies of this book last Christmas, and I’m sure we’ll sell more this holiday. I heard a rumor that the photography won some sort of award for the photos within. I’m not surprised. Don’t you feel the need to go get some chocolate, any chocolate right now!!! Even though you know that it won’t have the same rich, smooth consistency of the chocolate on this front cover. It’s a need, planted inside you, a craving for something, anything to make that ache go away.

The Food Channel doesn’t need sex to sell its products and cookbooks, to get subscribers for its channel; it just uses close-ups on the dishes prepared by Rachel Ray, Emeril, Bobby Flay, and others.

Loving close-ups of sizzling meat, cool creams, and frothy confections.

Long pans of tables laden with dish after dish of Southern home cooking.

Montages of desserts layered with chocolate and fruit and nuts and more chocolate...

Each picture flashing before your eyes, entering your brain, releasing serotonin, making that dull ache in your stomach cramp in on itself because you want, no NEED that dish or something really similar and my goodness how did you not realize you were hungry? Starving!

It’s a powerful thing. I’ve seen the pictures on the cover of cookbooks convince a person that they had to have that particular book, now damn it! Along with directions to the nearest steak house, seafood place, dessert maker. The actual Food Network has convinced my father that he must find andouille.

Cooking Light’s potato leek cover has the power to make me weak at the knees, a drooling mess of a bookseller.

Food Porn, I’m telling you. Pure Food Porn.

Now if only I could get my boss to let me re-label the cooking section as such.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1 here. Your new friend. You have made me hungry -- and a little horny ;-) can I say that? (hey, you mentioned porn, not me) Yup, food porn. I've seen those books. They are very attractive. But instead of eating I should be going to sleep. Will I dream about chocolate? It's possible now. But I may dream about 6'1" elves who are allergic to chocolate instead.

Kate R said...

Yes.

It makes absolute sense. Eating is just as sensual as sex. You can do it in public, though. It goes along with my theory about why so many women who write erotica are large. (I posted about this very subject at mistressmatisse's site.)

Hey, this might explain why I lust after Chef Morimoto (he's a participant on a food network over-the-top show called Iron Chef.) The man does astounding things with fish. No, no, won't go to that place. Evil. Bad.

Kate R said...

that pure chocolate cover? wow.

Bookseller Chick said...

Anonymous #1--He's allergic to chocolate? Dear lord, that's a fate worse than death. I don't know what I would do without the frothy, whip-creaminess of my vivace hot chocolate once a month. Probably become homicidal.

Kate--Fish, you say? I sense a joke coming on. Something that has the words "Tastes like..." included. But I won't go there. Oh no. Too early. I would be interesting in reading that post at Mistressmatisse's site, sounds like a great idea for a Smart Bitch's Day.

Candy said...

Ohhhhhhmygod, food porn is the BEST. I don't have cable, and the only two channels I really miss are Food Network and Comedy Central.

I don't own too many cookbooks, but I have a huge and hideous collection of recipes I downloaded and printed off of Epicurious.com and Allrecipes.com. Much like the other kind of porn, I don't get off on the pictures, I get off on the written word. Give me recipes, baby. Oh yeah. Put that grated chocolate curl right. there.

Anonymous said...

Yes, chick, the Tall Elf is allergic to chocolate. How sad. And coffee, mint, mushrooms, tree nuts, shellfish, and probably more. No wonder he's a beanpole. He can't eat anything. Well, at least he has broad shoulders.

Now me, I'm a recovering chocaholic, and I'm about to fall off the wagon, after looking at that food porn picture of yours.

Well, with food porn I guess I'm also pretty unsophisticated. All I need is a banana.

Bookseller Chick said...

Candy, I'm one of those girls that needs to see the picture because I have to know what it is supposed to look like, never mind if it actually turns out that way, part of me needs to know (probably the same part that feels the need to keep reading even though I know something is helpless).

A#1--Poor Elf. I too am a chocoholic of epic proportions, but being a poor bookseller tends to keep me from the high end stuff. As for banana love, that reminds me of a comic I heard once years ago talking about enticing her man with peanut butter on a banana. "Did he come back to see me? In a Jiffy. Did he do what I asked? Damn Skippy." Or something alone those lines.

L

Google = Corporate Whores said...

Wow... I just stumbled upon your blog and am thoroughly entertained. Great job! I don't think I'll look at a food commercial or book the same way ever again thanks to you, but that's okay. :-)

Bookseller Chick said...

Welcome to the insanity, Paul. I have no idea how you stumbled upon my blog (that is always a thing of great interest to me), but feel free to join in with any thoughts or questions! I know that I don't look at commercials and TV cooking shows the same way at all ;-)