h1

The Seductions of Food Porn: Shouldn’t Man vs. Food Be Rated XXX? How About Paula Deen and All the Rest of Her Ilk, Those Sensuous Tempters of Taste? And Don’t Get Me Started on the Advertisements. But Wait, It’s Too Late.

April 17, 2010

The biggest seller is cookbooks and the second is diet books—how not to eat what you just learned to cook.
• Andy Rooney

Among my Collectorys are two that collide regularly: food and diet. In food, I save both the delicious and the outrageous, things I call “Food of the Clods”—junk food temptations and overwrought combinations that seem likely to clog your arteries simply hearing about them.

Bread cannot be served naked. Oh, no. It is grilled. Then butter is heaped on top of sour cream and mixed with four kinds of cheese and spread onto the slice before it’s dipped in butter and flour and breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Then fried again. Cake isn’t just baked, it’s injected with liqueur and topped with jelly or jam, then layered with brownies and fudge and chocolate ganache and slathered with frosting before getting stacked two feet high and frosted some more, then topped with Snickers® bars cut into amusing shapes or malted milk balls in multiple sizes and colors or tiny elephants molded of white chocolate.

And none of us should be eating any of it.

Man vs. Food’s Adam Richman takes it on for us. If porn eating is a sport, Richman is a gladiator, entering the ring to conquer the forty-eight ounce steak, the ten-pound burger, the two-gallon milkshake, the burrito “bigger than a baby’s head,” the hot wings so hot no sane person would attempt to down them. This insane man of food does and he does it all just for us.

And you can say that watching these foodish excesses is pure escapism, allowing us to experience vicariously the joys of eating the forbidden, but that’s baloney (hmmm, wouldn’t a garlic bologna sandwich on really good bread with tomatoes fresh from the garden taste scrumptious right now?). Seeing dark chocolate is not the same as letting it linger lovingly on my tongue.

I am reminded of all this by a night of conflicting television messages. I am trying to work on an article and I have the white noise of the television on. It’s working. I don’t hear any distractions from outside the house and I have no idea what show is playing. What I do hear are the commercials. At first I ignored them, but their persistent repetition got to me, not in a good way.

“What’s with these puny chicken sandwiches?” grown men ask in teeny voices. “It takes two to fill me up.” To the rescue, comes Colonel Sanders with the sandwich that has so much chicken “we didn’t have room for a bun.” Ah, yes, two pieces of cheese and two pieces of bacon sandwiched between two pieces of fried chicken. “Colonel—you the man!” The new Doubledown from KFC. Hot dog!

I learn as I listen. Subway informs me that “pepperoni’s the new bacon!” MickeyD weighs in with the third-pound Angus burger topped with goo and goop. Yesterday was Free Fryday at Jack in the Box, celebrating their new crispy fries. Domino’s makes pizza so cheap you can’t afford not to buy it, and the King is making honking big burgers just for you too.

Where’s the conflict? How do food and diet collide? These tempting ads rotate with various quasi-famous people telling me how some weight loss program or another has changed their life or busted their bellyfat or turned them into a completely new person. Diet pills and exercise equipment and extraspecial delicious meals shipped directly to my home promise to make me svelte and attractive.

Don Kardong said that people should avoid any diet that discourages the use of hot fudge. I know from personal experience that complete denial of anything doesn’t work for me. I need a tad of deliciousness to flavor my sacrifice. I wish I could eat anything I wanted to and never pay a fatty price. I cannot. I am reminded of this as I watch and listen and long for a hot fudge sundae that I’m not going to have.

What kind of forbidden food is your nemesis? If you’re a student, beware of overindulgence as reward. One Oreo is a reward. A whole bag is madness!

You can find your way across this country using burger joints the way a navigator uses stars.
• Charles Kuralt

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: