I SO spot the trends.
First of all, I liked butterflies before Mariah Carey made them all transformative and cliché. And in seventh grade I vividly remember pilfering a top from my mom’s closet - bright green top with big black buttons down the front – and wearing it with only the top button closed…unheard of at the time. I was teased for my sartorial choice, but look at how popular the style is today (particularly among the uber-preppy and the cholo gangster elite.) I also was the first girl to wear choker-style necklaces, and asked if they were dog collars on more than once occasion, which did wonders for my self esteem.
Anyways, the publication of a new article in Harper’s Magazine entitled “Debbie does salad” offers further evidence of my ability to forecast trends….nay, the future.
The story, written by Frederick Kaufman, offers an inside look at the many parallels between food television and porn. Kaufman spends time with Barbara Nitke, a seasoned porn still photographer, who manages to point out a long laundry list of commonalities when studying erotic films alongside the gastroporn shown on the Food Network.
Where do my trend-spotting abilities come in? In January, I blogged at Never Say Diet about the phenomenon of women working out while mentally salivating to sexy foodies like Giada or Bobby Flay.
“More specifically, I looked at her TV screen, only to see a cast iron skillet brimming with huge chunks of steak. Really delicious-looking steak. Like, that-smells-orgasmic-take-me-to-your-butcher delicious…But what is it about watching Giada DeLaurentis mix up a batch of hibiscus spiked iced tea and Moroccan lamb chops while I sweat and pant that is so darn appealing? The distraction? The ability to be transported to a tastier place while doing something slightly unsavory? The blatant food porn? Her curvy-in-all-the-right-places-depite-chowing-down-all-day figure?”
Alas, I am not a porn director – nor have I ever played one on TV – so I am hardly as qualified as Nitke to speak to the topic. And speak she does! Check out these food TV-real porn resemblances, examples and phenomena highlighted by Nitke (you’re all smart so I don’t need to explicitly state the similarities):
*Rachel Ray fondles a ripe tomato, saying, “I love just giving it a good smash with the palm of my hand. A good whack. Then I run my knife through it.” (cut to her glistening fingers closed around the dripping fruit.) Not coincidentally, Ray posed for FHM in 2003 “in frilly underwear, licking chocolate syrup from the tip of a pendulous wooden spoon. In another shot, Ray sat on a kitchen counter, her bare legs smeared with egg whites.”
*Sexpot Giada De Laurentiis, baking Italian cookies and dressed in a tight, sleeveless top, says, “Now I can touch the dough and elongate it. I’m getting it all over my fingers.” She then squeezes a lemon and the camera moves in for a closeup of the yellow stream of liquid, as Giada says, “All that juice.”
*Emeril Lagasse is a man of few words - “Bam!”; Oh yeah, babe.” - which also works well in porn, where “you can’t have too much story line,” explains Nitke. “It detracts from the sex. Same thing here. Nothing detracts from those food shots.” Nitke also points out that Emeril shakes his “Essence” (a spice blend) over everything he cooks.
Perhaps nowhere does the similarity come charging through so clearly as when chef-hottie Tyler Florence manipulates a piece of raw chicken breast, which Nitke compares to “the quintessential p---y shot. The color of it, the texture of it, the camera lingering lovingly over it.” Kaufman writes:
“Tyler gingerly rolled the glistening lips of chicken breast into a thick phallus, which he doused with raw egg. ‘I feel a lot of love right now,’ Tyler told his transfixed [guest]. ‘This is a sexy dish.’ Perspiration had begun to bead on the poor woman’s forehead, her dark curls had wilted, her lower lip trembled, and as she gasped, the camera caught her low-cut yellow sundress squeezing her breasts. ‘This is the pizza man,’ declared Nitke. ‘There’s the helpless woman who can’t do it for herself. In walks the cute young guy who rescues her.’
The result was inexorable. Eventually, Tyler and the housewife would go cheek to cheek, lean forward, open their mouths, taste the chicken and rice, and melt into a flushed-face, simultaneous food swoon. When the inevitable sequence finally rolled, the editor kept looping their wet mouths and rapt faces as they pushed forkful after forkful of arroz con pollo past their lips, chewed, and swallowed—and pushed and chewed and swallowed again and again. ‘Classic porn style,’ said Nitke. ‘They’re stretching the moment out, the orgasmic moment. In porn they’ll take a [money] shot and run it in an endless loop.’
“You watch porn saying, Yes, I could do that,” Nitke says in Harper’s. “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.”
And, of course, there’s the fact that neither thing – the crazy sex in porn or the crazy recipe on TV, can really be replicated at home. It always turns out a bit sloppier.