Food porn

Just which set of lips is this supposed to wet, exactly? I ask myself.

It’s late, I am alone, bathed in the light of the television, taking in noises of pleasure that transcend all language barriers. You can’t blame me for watching. I flipped to it on accident. And now I can’t look away.

The way the rich chocolate batter rolls off of the spatula in coagulated bulbs and folds, the way the chocolate chips crest and disappear as they are stirred into the bowl. And I think, this is it. Here comes the money shot. The camera zooms in closer.

There is an eerie similarity between gourmet cooking shows and pornography. The way that they are cut and filmed, the strange correlation between the purposes of both; to build desire with sensory stimulation, and then to satisfy with the promise of pleasure. I don’t believe this is any accident, although it is a truth full of sad irony.

America’s avid indulgence in both gluttony and lust has created a cultural paradigm where people harbor a great deal of neurosis about both. This is evident on several levels: food and sex are everywhere, and as a society we consume like gluttons, then lust for more—newer, bigger, faster, better. Whether this means casual sex with multiple partners or trying every position illustrated in Kama Sutra, paying top dollar for rare truffles in a Michelin restaurant, or simply stepping into the cereal aisle and being confronted with everything from All Bran to Fruit Loops—there are an overwhelming number of options. Not to mention substitutes.

You know there is a broad market for something when there is a wealth of competing products. Furthering the cereal example, consumers could choose oatmeal, muffins, granola bars, or protein shakes‐naming just a few alternate breakfast options. With sex, the proliferation of toys, costumes, and accoutrements mirrors our fixation. Demand seems to be driving supply in both cases, and they both receive incredible amounts of media attention. The number of cooking and baking blogs popping up on the internet has to be rivaling the amount of porn.

Eating has long since become more an act of pleasure than nourishment. Most people aren’t having sex regularly with the goal of making babies. The two become entirely connected when you consider the market for diet or sexual enhancement products, and how advertising targets our insecurities about both.

Indulgence seems to often be followed by a cycle of guilt and self-imposed punishment for partaking. We have a very complicated relationship with pleasure. It’s our obsession and our shame, great joy and frequent disappointment. Eating your feelings is a common joke about comforting oneself, but I know a great deal of people who have tried to fuck their feelings, too.

There is a voyeuristic way to how we view both food and sex in the media, but I’m beginning to wonder if the two are not becoming interchangeable options for pleasure. Has the American Dream mutated into seeking constant, uninterrupted, unthinking stimulation and pleasure?

What does this say about the state of sex? What does this say about the state of food?

Advertisements
Comments
One Response to “Food porn”
  1. Gavin Craig says:

    I like your critique of the neuroses surrounding the cult of food–I think that the problem isn’t so much the reduction of food to pleasure, as the subsuming of food into the perpetual desire of the marketplace which is built to overwhelm any individual sense of satisfaction or satiety.

    Food should be a pleasure–one’s own pleasure. One that comes with a sense of responsibility (to the sources of one’s food, its preparation, and one’s self) rather than guilt.

    Love it. Looking forward to reading more. :-)

%d bloggers like this: