naked: food porn is exactly like doing-it porn

nigella_bites.jpgYou’ve seen the word “porn” dropped in as a descriptive suffix before, right? Anything that lovingly, devotedly, lavishly, and sensually captures a particular concept, or hobby, or thing, gets dubbed thing-porn. HGTV is all about the decorating porn, and TLC is all about the life porn (a show about midgets! a show about weddings! a show about babies! a show about midgets who get married and have 34 babies!), and the Food Network I’m sure you have heard described casually as “food porn.”

According to this classic Harper’s article, the connection doesn’t seem entirely as casual or coincidental, as clever a throwaway descriptor, as we’d think:

Like sex porn, gastroporn addresses the most basic human
needs and functions, idealizing and degrading them at the same time.
“You watch porn saying, Yes, I could do that,” explained Nitke. “You
dream that you’re there, but you know you couldn’t. The guy you’re
watching on the screen, his sex life is effortless. He didn’t have to
negotiate, entertain her, take her out to dinner. He walked in with the
pizza. She was waiting and eager and hot for him.”

Which
reminded me of my conversation with Food Network programming VP Bob
Tuschman. “We create this sensual, lush world, begging you to be drawn
into it,” Tuschman had said. “It’s a beautifully idealized world. Who
wouldn’t want to be a part of that world?”

Which, personally, makes me feel a little dirty. But if I’m watching Nigella,
I’m not only absolutely willing to go along with the Food Network’s
attempts to make me feel that sweet, aching longing in the pit of my
belly–I am happy to participate.

2 Replies to “naked: food porn is exactly like doing-it porn”

  1. Spouse and I are on a Bourdain reading kick right now (“Kitchen Confidential”, “A Cook’s Tour”, and “The Nasty Bits”). He mentions “food porn” about every thirty pages or so. His favorite seems to be The French Laundry and Bouchon cookbooks. He has a thing for keller, I guess.

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