Food porn–the delicious objectification of vegetables, meats & grains

Tonight, before I get stuck into another episode of the excellent 10-part BBC documentary series  Hitler’s Circle of Evil (available on YouTube without interruptions) I’ll begin my evening’s viewing with a less arduous course. I’ll have the light entree if I may. I’ll settle back for some foodie-themed globetrotting, travel the world and visit homely kitchens and wander the colour-splashed aisles of spice-heaped markets, uncover the cooking methods of ancient relatives and, who knows? Maybe I’ll even discover the true origins of grain.

I’m not so keen on bearing witness to the pedantic art of micro-herb placement, or following the trials and tribulations of restaurant X’s rise to two or three-hat status, but I do enjoy the high-resolution, soft-edged objectification of vegetables, meats and grains currently taking place on our screens –  a genre that seems to be multiplying like mold spores on a delicious, washed-rind cheese.

Because something lovely happens in my brain when I clap eyes on the firm flesh of freshly- captured salmon, buried deep in a thick crust of salt and fired by local yet sustainable log – the succulence of cream-fleshed scallop gently nestled in a cradle of hand-knitted twigs – a plate of scattered pipi awash in a pond of wasabi-infused foam – the slow-motion capture of bubbles rising to the surface of hallowed liquid A or B – the sexy gluten-stretch as air-filled bread gets ripped asunder by plough-calloused hand oh, oh, oh!

What was I saying? Er-hem. Yes…I do love a bit of food porn served up on a rustic platter…

 

Who the hell are these people? Blank-slates, The Bachelorette & the state of franchised romance.

Excuse me please producers of reality TV. Would it be possible to witness an actual conversation between the Bachelorette and one of her suitors? An exchange about their respective jobs perhaps? A line or two about something in passing or a few sentences that might provide insight into character?

Because I still don’t know what Ali does for a living (apart from her current role of face-on-screen). All I know is that she’s been unlucky in love, enjoys nature walks, and has a penchant for ‘exciting’ pursuits such as taking selfies and going on speed-boats (they haven’t pulled the helicopter ride out of the hat yet but that might come later).

I wonder why this lack of natural conversation is omitted from the show so rigidly, why every conversation orbits the central premise of the show in such a predictable drone-like fashion.

Personally I’m getting sick of hearing the same conversations repeated over and over. Intimate talks about importance of family, the vital role of trust and communication in successful relationships. Yeah. So what’s new? That a person desires a kind and loyal partner who can communicate feelings effectively should be a given, not a topic of conversation rehashed endlessly from episode to episode.

But we won’t discover any of the contestants political opinions or social values as the season continues – if Ali supports the removal of refugee children from Manus Island or if Box-jaw Bill thinks the Australian government should take immediate action on climate change before the planet dies and there’s no natural habitats left to stage romantic, picnic-rug themed getaways.

Of course it’s too difficult to allow contestants to express their views on subjects. Much less messy to follow a bland set of scripts that reveal next to nothing about the person, but if the producers were to allow contestants to open their mouths I think it would make for much better television. Instead of the current state of stuck-in-a-loop droning we’d got a better look at what’s under the hood, we’d be more invested, be able to make estimations as to compatibility and become more engrossed in the unfolding narrative.

But blank-slates with pretty faces are the staple at the Bachelorette and no doubt will be until the eventual demise of the behemoth franchise, after all, the blissful state of ignorance splices nicely with the workings of romantic love, a love that relies heavily on surface sheen and a whole lot of projection.

Far easier to fall in love with a creation in our minds than a messy warts-and-all person.