Friday, July 29th, 2011
16

The "Food Porn" Party

Food porn is one of the Internet's veritable viral cornerstones. Pictures of wacky cupcakes, fusion fried chicken or an incredible, competitive array of deviled eggs get reblogged viciously by legions of salivating fans. In an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist and assess what's to be the next "hot thing all the young, hip and/or upwardly mobile people are doing," I filmed my first amateur food porn.

The food porn party creates two works of art at once: the edibles, and the documentation of that which is eaten. The dishes are chosen for their potential attractiveness. The food, after it is created, must be styled—and then it must be shot to be glowingly attractive. But unlike actual magazine-level food porn, you can't use hairspray to make your pork look shiny, because you're actually going to eat this. In real-life food porn, you can only fight fair.

We met at my friend Jake's apartment—he's a first rate photographer and a Bushwick resident. He was to be the James Cameron of my food porn Titanic dreams. (Obviously, I was cognizant that shooting the pictures in Bushwick would contribute to the success of my trendsetting.)

The food chosen to star in the pictures, naturally, had to be seasonal. After some debate—"Should we just put bacon on top of a lot of stuff and call it a day?"—the theme of "summer's feast" was chosen for the porn at hand.

A note on bacon: it's is to food porn what "Don't Stop Believin'" is to karaoke: a standby that's sure to get a rise out of even the dullest and drunkest. Even if people don't like the song and/or food that much, it's exciting for everyone! But it's really a tired trick, in both cases, and should be approached with caution.

The menu was fairly easy to pick out once there was the "Summer Feast" theme to play around with. For a main course we had lobster rolls, which were paired with a pickled watermelon salad with heirloom tomatoes, creamed corn and cheddar biscuits (an homage to Red Lobster, naturally). Oh and a huge dish of Magnolia-style banana pudding for dessert, because I'm gross like that. (And pudding? This is a tricky choice, visually speaking! But a gamble well worth it.)

Riding the L train to the Dekalb stop with arms of groceries and a huge dish full of banana pudding is a harrowing experience. People really gawk at you when you're holding something with a clear plastic wrap covering. (The worst is when the man next to you hovers his nose over your dish to catch a whiff.)

After a couple hours of cooking in the Bushwick summer heat, all of the plates were prepared and Jake got to work. He rigged up a light in the kitchen to successfully backlight the food and shot some closeups of my smutty little stars.

Food porn, like real food or real porn, is actually quite difficult labor! It's not so much the cooking that's tough—but there was a lot of styling: wiping plates totally clean, stacking biscuits ever so perfectly. Your perspective on cooking shifts a bit: instead of prodding that thing in the oven to find out if it's done, you're thinking: does this look done? Does it have just a little delightful browning?

The trend legitimacy quotient is pretty high here. There's artistry afoot, as well as Internet sensationalism—and some choice niche travel. It could really take off anywhere from "the eastern end of Long Island," in the trend piece vernacular, as well as "in Greenpoint" or even NoLIta. Really, anywhere that people like to perform their lives by way of Tumblr, Twitter, Flickr or Facebook. A surefire trend! Just remember that bacon themes are already over.



Myles Tanzer might do absolutely anything this weekend. Photographs by Jake Moore.

16 Comments / Post A Comment

citrivescence (#15,695)

Salivating. The only happy ending I'm gonna get, I guess.

Those biscuits look amahzing. Can you share your recipe?

Myles Tanzer (#13,698)

@citrivescence Disgustingly easy recipe: 1 package Bisquick, 1 1/3 cups water, about 6 oz cheddar.
375 degrees in the oven for 10-12 mins, brush with melted butter with pinches of onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Throw some chives on top for style/color.

Smitros (#5,315)

Looks great.

May need a splash of something.

La Cieca (#1,110)

Among the missing Bessie Smith B-sides, one of the most avidly sought is "You Can't Use Hairspray (to Make Your Pork Look Shiny)."

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

Get out of my head, Mylse Tanzer.

ericdeamer (#945)

Hey maybe they should rename that basketball team the Brooklyn Food Porns?

David (#192)

For the record, the very best deviled eggs in NYC can be had on the third floor of Bergdorf Goodman- Men, at the cafe.

1. Love the plates. Fiesta?
2. Omg, pickled watermelon Yummmmmm times infinity.
3. Seriously this is daily life in Durham, you really should visit.
4. I am drinking a Negroni right now, which is not germane, but I am just so dang pleased with it!

The negroni made me want to keep commenting. Forgive.

As you noticed, pudding is not quite right (valiant showing) for food porn AND you don't need to serve (even beautiful) biscuits along with a lobster roll, which is after all a sandwich. So, a maybe-superior Food Porn move would have been a cream biscuit topped with berries and sauce? Very "summer feast."

I read that as "The 'Food Porn' Pantry" and I couldn't figure out if it was going to be a well-intentioned but patronizing effort, or that the Acceptance phase has now become a cultural phenomenon.

Smitros (#5,315)

@Butterscotch Stalin I misread your comment as "The Food Porn Party", which somehow seems viable in these days of legislative impasse.

What's with the eensy portions in the top photo? Supermodel-size me? That would not fly in Chicago. Just sayin'.

camelface (#4,600)

Dear Diary,

Today me and my friends ate some food in Brooklyn and somehow got our photos featured on The Awl. Internships are amazing, i can't wait to have one forever.

but, but….there's no iced Formosa Jade Mountain Oolong? Oh man, maybe it doesn't photograph right…

This is poooopy.

Reed (#276)

I want this trend in my mouth.

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