When food becomes eye candy
It is completely normal nowadays to see people taking snaps of appetising dishes on their mobile phones. There are millions of photos of food on social networks, and the hashtag #foodporn is one of the most popular on Instagram, so much so, it has become the norm worldwide. But the preponderance of beautiful and appetising food in the mass media is not a completely new phenomenon. The term “gastroporn” was invented long before the advent of social networking, when journalist, Alexander Cockburn, first used it in his critique of the book, Paul
Bocuse’s French Cooking for the New York Review of Books in 1977. It was the wave of Nouvelle Cuisine chefs who, in creating elaborately styled dishes, unleashed this mini culinary and social revolution. Since the 1980s, making food look appetising, ‘sexy’ even, became a major preoccupation for restaurants and food retailers. Also, this kind of food temptation has been on our screens for a long time, including two very iconic publicity shots, the pear covered in Nestlé chocolate in the early 1990s, and its British counterpart, the Marks and Spencer chocolate pudding in 2005. The arrival of social media merely transformed this trend into a fully-fledged fashion. In addition to our article on “food porn”, we also take a look at another culinary phenomenon that seems to be enjoying growing popularity in western countries: vegan cuisine.