“Food Porn” just what does that mean? Where did the phrase even come from? I find the casual use of that term mildly disturbing and a bit inappropriate. It’s not that I am a prude in any way (at all), but it does seem a bit disrespectful to actual pornography. Because it indicates a snobbish sort of elitism– a bit of tongue-in-cheek wryness designed to let the reader know just how hip we foodies think we must be. Do we really need to let the world know how cool and open-minded we are by embracing “pornography” in this superior way? Oh the irony of it, because (it seems to the world) that we foodies see pornography as – well, bourgeois.
Though to be fair, I suppose the term got its start because many of the same carnal (animalistic) instincts are tickled by both varieties of porn. Still, food porn can embarrass me in a way that the other kind cannot.
Understanding the etymology of the term might help me embrace it and come to know what it means. Which may help me see why I find the term so ridiculous.
I have decided that looking at the usage of the term food porn may help me understand its intended meaning. In my world, the term “food porn” is everywhere. No wonder I have been blushing so much lately. Still, no matter my personal feelings about the term I need to get comfortable with its place in our lexicon.
So to do that I am going to use the term liberally here today. Maybe I can become inured. Because the whole food porn phenomenon has become an au current way of indicating food or cooking techniques that are just a little bit out of reach to the average cook. Maybe because the photography fits a certain trendy, shallow depth of field mold (ie FoodBullies and TasteHaters) or perhaps because the ingredients are exotic, or the recipes obscure. Whatever the case, food porn usually highlights dishes that the viewer may never get to experience. Sound familiar?
So I am here today to sell you (literally through OpenSky) a cookbook “ Turquoise: A Chef’s Travels in Turkey. It is food porn of the highest order. I found myself literally lusting over the recipes, and the travel, and the photos… the whole package has an allure that turned me on by pressing all the right buttons. “Ohhh. Up just a tad– yeah, right there, don’t stop!”
But the thing about pornography is, it’s an approximation of something else; a stand-in for a real experience. Which is why the term food porn has always bothered me. I have very few limits when it comes to food. I am not afraid to aspire to the highest level of titillation when it comes to cooking (and other things). I have a no holds barred attitude and am not afraid to jump in with both feet.
Let’s put it this way. If I had plunked down $50 for a skin mag you can bet your behind that I am going want a heck of a lot more than a peek and a peck.
Same with this book. I am not content merely aspiring to these exciting and exotic taste treats. I want to possess them. Besides this is a high-class book with a high-class price tag. So you won’t catch me hiding behind the kitchen door, merely thumbing through this baby. Nope, my copy is laid out wide-open on the kitchen table because I plan on cooking from it til I am damn well spent!
And whaddaya know? I have had this book in my possession for about a month and I am not spent yet. And as you can imagine (he said with a sly grin) that’s a good thing.
I have Greg and Lucy Malouf to thank for this satisfied smirk. They are a husband and wife team (I know it’s getting hotter by the moment). He’s a chef and she’s a travel writer (don’t stop, don’t stop!).
In this book, they bring both these passions together in a visually outstanding package. What other kind of porn is there? The recipes are set against a backdrop of Turkish landscapes, Turkish architecture, and Turkish traditions. Each recipe is inspired by the places they visit and the people they meet. “Yeah, baby!”
Red Pepper Soup with Bulgur, Chickpeas, Mint and Chili shows up as a temptress that I attempted (and conquered). Gruyere and Spinach Gozleme, along with Yogurt and Honey Sorbet, now roll off my tongue (and into my belly). Tantalizing sweets like Milk Pudding with Labne, Apricot & Turkish Cotton Candy with its tang of sour yogurt, keep me smiling long after the aroma leaves the kitchen.
But today I am making Zucchini Fritters with Dill because there is something about hot oil that just makes me growl! And the great thing is you do not need to travel to Turkey to get your hands on this bit of clandestine pleasure. I have made it available in my OpenSky Shop. Just CLICK here to be taken straight there.
- 1 1/3 lb zucchini
- sea salt
- 1 small onion, grated
- 1 clv garlic, peeled and minced
- 4 oz feta, crumbled
- 1/4 c dill, finely chopped
- 2 T flat-leaf parsley, leaves
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 1/3 c all-purpose flour
- 2 T rice flour
- fresh ground black pepper
- olive oil, for frying
Grate the zucchini coarsely and put into a colander. Sprinkle lightly with salt and toss, then leave for 20 minutes to drain. Rinse the zucchini briefly, then squeeze it to extract as much liquid as you can and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Mix the zucchini with the onion, garlic, feta, herbs, and eggs in a large bowl. Sift on the flours, then season with pepper and stir to combine.
Heat a little olive oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat until sizzling. Drop small tablespoons of batter into the hot oil and flatten gently. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve piping hot.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD
NOTE: The fritter photo is mine. Lisa Cohen & William Meppen get credit for the rest.