chorizo-burger091

Why do we take pics of our food: The rise of food porn

Yes I know you take pictures of your food too. But why do we do it? Are we all simply idiots? Or is our desire to look at glorious images of food reflecting something more sinister?

We’ve all seen them. Food pornographers. The food arrives and the phones come out. Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. Oh man it makes me sick.

DIY food porn

We are watching the teppanyaki show and food is skillfully chopped, hooked, flicked and caught right in front of us. The delicious smell of soy, chicken, beef and teriyaki is making everyone more and more hungry.

Now the food is being served – but wait – no one is eating.

Instead people are leaning over each other trying to get a better angle for their smartphone.

I’m watching this madness with a beer in one hand and chopsticks in the other thinking what is wrong with you all?

Eat!

But then I take a second look

Now, almost without any conscious decision of my own, my phone is out of my pocket too.

Before I know it I’ve spun the plate around to get a better angle and have adjusted for lighting.

Manual zoom out then in. Avoid the steam on the lense.

 A few quick snaps, send it off into digital neverland, and now I’m ready to eat.

Wtf did I just do that for?

Why are we taking so many pictures of our food?

Is it just to tell other people what we are eating? I used to think that, and that’s why watching people send pics of their food to each other made me vomit.

But there seems to be more to it. Is it because we think the other person will like it?

Maybe because we’re all getting better at taking good food shots, and we want to impress each other? 

Or perhaps it is an expression of – you know – like what the term ‘food porn‘ suggests: bigger, better, juicier, more indulgent…more pleasure giving.

When did this all start?

Anthony Bourdain published this essay in 2001 FOOD PORN: Lust for the gastronomic–from Zola to cookbooks–is nothing new, but maybe it’s time to shelve it and it is a golden read, well ahead of it’s time and as interesting and cool as the man himself.

But the term ‘food porn’ isn’t just strangely becoming more mainstream. The meaning itself is slowly changing.

Sexy food

Wiki puts the actual term originating in 1984 but who the hell really knows. Commentary of conservative norms places the two together as early as late 1970s, labeling pornography as ‘bad’ and calorie laden food as ‘bad’. Seriously. 

Move through to late 1980s and 1990 and we hit food exploitation programing on a mass scale. Two Fat Ladies glorified overuse of butter and cream when cooking and the shows producer described their excitement as ‘pornographic joy’.

Jamie Oliver became the Naked Chef and let’s not forget Nigella Lawson and all she brings to the topic of sexuallity and food.

Bigger than ever

Social media has taken the idea of food porn and given it its own hashtag, and in doing so is allowing food marketers worldwide take an even closer look into what we like want.

Think about it; what was once an expensive R&D cycle of months can now be done in seconds.

A quick search #foodporn on Instagram comes up with 79 million posts (late 2015 that number was only around 50 million). 

Impresive. But is this a good or a bad?

The implications are interesting

When major food companies can quickly see what images are the most popular in a particular food style, they can learn exactly how to ‘turn you on’ to that food.

This is marketing research on crack. 

Don’t be surprised if you start craving your junk food of choice…again

The other day I saw a pizza ad for a brand that I know tastes like a horror movie. But hell – it looked so, so good. And, it made me change my feelings towards that company.

Powerful stuff. Even though I know it tastes like cardboard. It still had me tempted.

The same goes with ‘insert-any-type-of-food-that-can-be-chain-marketed-here’. Yes, your quick snap and hashtag is going to be used against you. And in all likelihood probably already is.

But “that’s ok” you say. As long as you get more likes on your photo.

I know this because I do exactly the same thing.

Is it good or is it bad

Well, I don’t really know, only a little time will tell.

Years ago ‘sex sells’ was being preached as an evil to avoid for companies who wanted to be seen as morally and ethically upstanding.

But I guess inevitably, desensitisation kicks in and it all balances itself out.

For example Playboy’s announcement to no longer publish photos of nude women is perfect evidence of modern desensitisation but with actual pornography.

But for now, bring on the burger stacks

Yes, I want to see 24 cheese and bacon burgers stuffed inside a chicken. I actually get a kick out of it.

I need to see a bloody mary with two full meals worth of food jammed on top of it. It encourages me to step up my bloody mary game.

I wake up yearning to see cheese oozing from the burgers every orifice. Ok now I’m just being silly. But I do need the cheese.

Enjoy your food the way you want to folks

Feel no judgement from me. I do all the same stupid shit.

And it is a good thing, people staying connected and sharing what they come across during their day.

Yes, we live in a time that may be the equivalent to the 60’s golden days of ‘free love food’.

But that doesn’t mean you can just go around in a carb-calorie haze sharing your pics and promiscuously hash tagging whoever you want.

Just as long as you are taking precautions and practising ‘safe food’ you have my approval to sexy up your food photos as much as you want.

And be sure to tag me in them too. 

 

Beer Snack Almanac all about finding the perfect ingredients to eat, drink and be merry. If you’re interested in improving your skills as a beer loving host then go ahead and download the free eBook The Way Of The Pintsman: 7 Secrets Of Beer Snack Legends.


SPECIAL NOTE:
Main image is the amazing looking Mexican Corizo & Garlic Shrimp Burger, courtesy of the crew over at ladyandpups.com 

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