Are you a ‘foodporner’ too? | iRADIO


I recently came across this, in my opinion, derogatory name for photos of nice-looking food in connection with a review of the movie The Art of Eating and Loving. I didn’t read it, I just skimmed the article, because the comparison discouraged me from further reading. I’m not a puritan, but I was struck by the combination of two completely different disciplines related to each other, perhaps only if a chef or cook was dedicated to this kind of filming.

Gastroglossa Dagmar Heřtová
9:00 a.m November 18, 2023

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Brits especially love a bagel with cheese and smoked salmon, I’m not sure they call it food porn | Photo: Dagmar Heřtová | Source: Archive of Dagmar Heřtová

Later, I paid more attention to the word and I can confirm that it is mainly a clever move to attract a certain type of readers.

But I went to see the movie The Art of Eating and Loving. There were five of us – that’s not Poláček, but the number of spectators in the hall. I spoke to the two ladies briefly after the show and asked, “Did you like it?” “A lot! We just don’t know how to go to the arranged dinner after this, it’s impossible!’

Gourmets will appreciate perfectly baked chicken, but whether it is food porn is a question Photo: Dagmar Heřtová | Source: Archive of Dagmar Heřtová

Whether they went to eat or not, I have no idea. However, I know that I left full of good confusion, taste, regret and satisfaction. I didn’t come across a connection with adult films during the entire time I was watching.

What’s going on

It’s clear that we won’t be going that far back in time when searching for the term “food porn”, even if it doesn’t seem that way in the speed of time. The first mention is due to the journalist Alexander Cockburn, in December 1977 he wrote an article entitled “Gastroporno” in The New York Review of Books.

I will quote from the article: “True gastroporn excites by offering colorful photographs of food presented in such a way as to evoke a feeling of unattainability.” However, the author did not stop there. He compared the preparation of meals using various methods to sexual practices. Well, he wanted to be read, I understand…

The writer Rosalind Coward expressed herself in a slightly different vein in her book “Women’s Desires” from 1984, where she writes that cooking food and presenting it beautifully is an act of service. Food porn, if we have to call it that, combines cooking with its presentation with the use of filmmaking tricks such as lighting and retouching.


Food blogger and gastronomic journalist who regularly contributes to printed and online periodicals mainly with information about raw materials, their processing and recipes. On the website Tastejourney, he writes about food, new trends and shares gastronomic insights from his travels. Selected gastroglosses will be published on September 11 in book form under the title Vidlička po mappa.

However, the term food porn is not always associated with super gastronomy. In the United States, the term “food porn” is associated with unhealthy, high-fat treats. Britain has also warmed up its slop. In the 1990s, when the TV cookery show ‘Two Fat Ladies’ ran, their recipes full of butter and cream were compared to ‘pornographic pleasure’.

I’m talking about the prehistoric days of social media, and the term, while catchy, wouldn’t have a long shelf life. The ubiquitous internet and smart phones secured him here.

I willriver in a glass of water

Strangely enough, the beginning of the ability to spread photos of great food from top establishments could also be the end of it. It all started in the Mecca of modern gastronomy. The revolutionary nature of the French is well-known, and it also manifested itself in restaurants.

It bothered the chefs that people were taking pictures of their plate creations and immediately posting them on social networks. The owners of the restaurants began to think that they would ban taking pictures in their premises, because copyrights are being violated. The cry was mainly heard from famous chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants.

Three-star Michelin chef Gilles Goujon of L’Auberge du Vieux Puit spoke loudly, escalating the issue by saying: “It’s taking away my intellectual property, someone could start copying my recipes. In addition, those sloppy photos don’t look the best and don’t create the best impression of our work, it’s annoying for us.”

Even simple foods can arouse the desire to be labeled as food porn | Photo: Dagmar Heřtová | Source: Archive of Dagmar Heřtová

Joann Makovitzky, a gentle lady at first glance, went from words to actions, who spoke quite harshly about the “foodpornists”: “They climb on my furniture and chairs to get the best possible angle for taking pictures. But here you are not at home in the dining room.” In her New York restaurant, Tocqueville banned photography and limited the signal for cell phones.

Everything was in vain. Maybe the opponents of the photo shoot were right and there was something to it, maybe not, but the fact is that the plan failed. The power of the “people” was greater and the clicking avalanche and the subsequent distribution of pictures on the networks was unstoppable. As is usually the case, opposing opinions also appeared in support of them, when many restaurateurs welcomed the photo shoot, because they couldn’t ask for more free advertising.

Food porn

Photographing recipes and adult films is such a film-making for one and often a photographic lie for the other. Mostly, everything is arranged so that the viewer and the observer are drawn into the story. To arouse desire and appetite, and that is perhaps the only, albeit marginal, reason for connecting gastronomy with pornography.

You may see foodporno | on sweet desserts and other buttery sweet treats Photo: Dagmar Heřtová | Source: Archive of Dagmar Heřtová

I really don’t like the age-old name that has started to be dusted off. It’s a silly name and the comparison isn’t even limping anymore, it’s more like walking on one leg without crutches. Why should we associate looking at photographed food with pornography?

I get it, this is an ideal strategy to present and sell food. Whether it’s ingredient traders or specific restaurants. The photographer can awaken the taste with freshness, preparation, arrangement on the plate, a beautifully prepared table, right down to the shot of details.

If you see a parallel with adult movies, I’m just reminding you that fashion, a new luxury car, jewelry, watches full of diamonds, gold fountain pens, perfumes and many other things from advertisements and flyers are photographed in exactly the same way. Do we call it fashions porn, car porn, jewelry porn or perfume porn?

Chocolate wheels in a Christmas presentation, they could be called foodporn | Photo: Dagmar Heřtová | Source: Archive of Dagmar Heřtová

We don’t say! Good, high-quality and beautiful food earned that label only because it was the first to hit and the journalist Alexander Cockburn was worth a higher readership of his article.

Still, I see one similarity. He even cheats when arranging and taking photos for prestigious magazine pages. He is running away from reality. Meals are often undercooked, some of the side dishes are served differently than the preparation procedures stipulate. A properly finished meal would often lose its sex-appeal if photographed without additional editing, just like the actors, actresses and the plot in adult films, where reality is completely out of place, but who wants to watch anything!

It’s always about playing for maximum effect. This is also confirmed by the fact that quite a few completely normal cookbooks with “porn” titles have appeared abroad.

… and you know what?

I confess that according to the name from 1977 and thanks to the current development of wonderful mobile technology and social networks, I am also a food pornist. I mean, I didn’t even know it until recently, and I’m starting to hate that word more and more.

But by all means, keep photographing, tasting and describing great food, great restaurants and the destinations where they are found. It will help gastronomy, restaurants and our tastes even at the cost of defending ourselves as followers of food porn!

… a terrible word.

Dagmar Heřtová

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