Friday, January 13, 2006

Food Pornography

Although fewer people than ever cook for themselves, preferring ready meals or takeaways, more and more television seems to be devoted to cookery. We even have a satellite TV channel, UK Food, devoted to the subject.

Maybe it’s a reaction to the mundane diet that Britons were forced to endure after the war, or perhaps it’s a reaction to the processed rubbish that was foisted on us by the food industry during the 1970’s and 1980’s. I’m sure anyone that can remember the Vesta curry, a vile concoction of dehydrated meat, vegetables, and sawdust spices, will shudder at the memory.

Most of us, in an attempt to emphasise our culinary credentials, will have cupboards crammed with esoteric cookery implements and electrical gadgets that have been used once, and will never see the light of day again. What the fuck is the point of an electric carving knife? Have we lost the ability to sharpen a proper carving knife?

Such is the demand for TV cookery programmes that we have begun importing them from abroad. The oddest that I have seen is a Canadian import called ‘Cook Like a Chef’. The cooking ‘action’ takes place in a high tech stainless steel kitchen in which chefs whisk, puree, and drool lasciviously over their creations. There is much cooing and lip smacking.

The chefs are surrounded by cameramen who swoop in for close ups of simmering pans. You actually get a full view of the cameramen poking their lenses as close to the action as they can manage. I find this rather disturbing. It looks uncannily like the culinary version of a porn movie.

Perhaps I should become an adviser to the porn industry. I think they are missing an important niche market here. I’m sure there are plenty of pervs that would get their rocks off watching sexual gymnasts whipping up a soufflĂ© while simultaneously engaging in some hard core shagging.


Wyndham said...

The Vesta curry, a blast from the past! Dehydrated food, those were the days, eh Garf.

Kyahgirl said...

can't stop laughing! I hate cooking shows, they make me feel inadequate, like there is some secrets of the kitchen that only the truly special and gifted know. The analogy to cooking porn is hilarious.

As for an electric carving knife, I don't have one but have witnessed its usefulness. I grew up in a huge family (damn those Irish Catholics and their funny beliefs), and my Mom used to make 8-12 loaves of bread, two times a week. Daunting.

Anyway, I think the electric knife was worth its weight in gold when it came to cutting up all that bread.

Just sayin'.

garfer said...

There really should be a horror movie called 'The Texas Electric Carving Knife Massacre'.

Pot Noodles are dehydrated and ok'ish, but the idea was nicked from the Japs.

The Vesta curry was about as Indian as Arthur Askey.

S.I.D. said...

Sorry garfer but have to disagree.

How the hell am I supposed to cut up my daily meals up without my electric carving knife?

All our other knives are plastic or hidden from me.

S.I.D. said...

Oh and I once left an uncooked Vesta curry in a warmish drawer for 1 month.

Police came and took it away.

Sniffy said...

Vesta curry. We never had those. Mum was always a proper cook who tried to be as authentic as possible. It wasn't easy in the 1970s because all you could buy was "curry powder", rather than proper ingredients, but she made a fairly decent attempt at it.

Chefs and the like. There's a weird and addictive attraction to seeing good cooking done properly. You're right, it can be almost sexual (really sexual if you're Nigella - who I love and I know she'd love me if she met me). I guess there's nothing wrong in something that makes the viewer as enthusiastic about the food as the person (chef) who is presenting it - Gary Rhodes is excellent at doing this, so is Jamie (but he's a bit annoying too, what with his oversized tongue and all).

The same photography techniques that obviously work so well for the food programmes are now used by Marks and Spencer - to great effect. You've got to admit, their stuff looks fucking delish and the advertising is spot on.

Still, you watch all this, buy the books, intend to use the ideas to master your own creations... but you'd still forget it all for the offer of a Snappy Tomato Pizza or lamb tikka jalfrezi (or a kebab of course).

S.I.D. said...

Or a packet of Tayto Cheese and Onion.

suburban wonder said...

Mmmmm, Nigella!

Really, for anyone on a diet, food tv is porn. Trust me. I was watching Iron Chef Tuna challenge and I nearly came.

MHN for short said...

Please, no shagging around the food. Completely unsanitary!!!

Dave Lieberman is still a cutie, Garfer!!! ;-)

Sniffy said...

Fuck real food, check out these beauties! I so want one right now.

garfer said...

That was cruel.

I need a helicopter.