Shouldn’t food porn, by definition, be enticing?

Sumptuous? Sexy, even? Shouldn’t the cover of cooking magazines make you covet the item depicted, so that you buy the thing in the vain hope that you’ll learn the secret to creating such a delectible and sensuous treat. Isn’t the idea to give you something fantasize about as you head to the kitchen (or dining room)?

Yeah, that’s what I thought too.

So what is up with Gourmet Magazine lately? Because all I get from their covers is, “Wow. I’ve made Kraft Maccaroni and Cheese with more sex appeal than that.”

Seriously. Look at the cover of the Thanksgiving issue. So I’ll add to that–I can take a better photo than that with one of those underwater disposable cameras. See how the turkey bleeds into the overexposed window area? See how the turky just looks like, well, like something the average housewife might put out? Where’s the bar I’m supposed to be working toward?

And it’s not just this issue. This whole year, the covers have been, well, uninspiring. While Saveur tantalizes me with images of things I know I could never really pull of in real life, it creates the set for my food fantasies (and yes, I do daydream about cooking lovely things that cause everyone in the room to fall hopelessly in love with me). By way of contrast, look at the latest Saveur cover. See that pretty blue background, bringing out the blueberries in that fluffy stack of pancakes temptingly piled next to the work “FEAST” in large font? Doesn’t that make you want to fall asleep dreaming of waking up to the smell of coffee brewing in the cold morning, stumbling down the stairs in your pajamas to find the table just being set with that lovely treat?

This summer Gourmet also featured blueberries on one of their covers. A pale blue background, with a pale blue bowl, featuring overexposed icecream and a smattering of blueberries. Cold. Stark. Monocrhomatic. Not exactly alluring. Or even pretty.

So what gives with Gourmet? Have the succombed the puritanical fever infecting the country that disdains anything smacking of class or society or basically anything not sold by Walmart? Have they just decided that food should be about taste and not presentation (but then, that doesn’t leave much to recommend their print product until they figure out a way to emit the odors of homecooking when you open the pages?)

I don’t have any answers. I’m just perplexed. I hope the editors of Gourmet will return to covering their editions with luscious images soon. Either that, or Conde Naste starts putting slightly overweight, un-make-uped, cover models wearing last years Old Navy t-shirts on their covers.

1 thought on “Shouldn’t food porn, by definition, be enticing?”

  1. You know it could be something as simple as losing their stylist or production designer. I’m sure you know that the work that goes into a glamour shot of food is commensurate with what happens to a human model. And in the end neither one is edible but they look real good. and you are right, Paulette, not only can you make something that looks better than that pathetic bird but you could photograph it beautifully as well.

Comments are closed.