Monday, June 11, 2007

food television and the quote of the week

One of my old roomates came into town this weekend. We were watching Food Network for some reason, and we had a great conversation deconstructing how the network uses concepts from pornography in their programming.

Specifically, when you watch one of their cooking shows (as opposed to their annoying reality or travel programming), they have a lot of shots focusing on melting cheese, gooey deserts, or luscious sauces. This is the standard "let's get them drooling" approach which is also employed in food magazines and ads.

In particular, we were watching Giada De Laurentiis's program Everyday Italian, and, especially since that woman can cook, the food porn shots were in full force. They had gooey, melting ricotta cheese over pasta, close up, in slow-mo...the only thing missing was the "bom-chicka-bow-wow" music.

It was not, however, only the food shots...the host was definitely the subject of a porn gaze. Giada is an attractive woman, true, but she apparently likes to work in the kitchen in very low-cut tops, and the camera knows this...a good 2/3rds of the shots were centered on her cleavage. I'm not even gonna get into the food tasting shots, because they were bordering on "if I had kids, I wouldn't let them watch this." Suffice to say, I think there's another paper in all this, pornography and attracting the male viewer to cooking.

Anyway, Giada was doing the aforementioned great looking pasta dish, and she added some chopped herb to the skillet. The resulting conversation went like this:

former roomie, sounding unnaturally alarmed: "What was that?"

me: "Parsley."

roomie: "Oh, thank God. I thought she was adding cilantro."

me: "Are you a cilantro hater?"

roomie: "I have two rules about food. I wouldn't eat human flesh unless I was pretty certain it was procured in an ethical way...and I don't like cilantro."

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