Food porn

Getting to the meat of the issue

Photo by: Katy MacKinnon

Test

Spluttering, crackling bacon on a skillet. Bubbling, melting cheese stretching from a pizza as you grab that first piece. Decadent cupcakes with sky-high frosting. All captured in a photo by your smartphone. That’s right, I’m talking about food porn.

#foodporn images are all the rage on Instagram and Reddit. These incredibly appetizing photos make you want to reach through the screen and take a big lick. There might even be some drooling involved. No judgment here.

What’s food porn to you might not be food porn to your best friend. We all have our likes and dislikes, dietary preferences, and sizzling desires. That’s likely why the porn industry is so highly diverse.

But how did food porn come about? Why do we sexualize our food?

Mark Fry, assistant professor of biological sciences at the U of M, weighed in on the topic.

“Today more than other times in the past, our society accepts and encourages ‘pursuit of what makes you, as an individual, happy and feel good.’ Given the feelings that we have about good food and good sex, it’s not surprising that they’ve merged into food porn.”

Food is one of the four “F”s in evolutionary biology: feeding, fighting, fleeing, and… reproduction. Maybe there’s a little biology behind food porn after all.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in our bodies that is involved in reward and pleasure.

“[It’s] important for motivation, and ‘the wanting’ of sex and food, or drugs if you are addicted,” said Fry.

The nucleus accumbens is an area of the brain activated during orgasm. Neurons that release dopamine are sent to this area, and are associated with feelings of intense pleasure.

“[To describe the feeling in humans], one of my undergraduate professors told us to think about doing a few lines of cocaine, having the best sex of your life, all rolled up in a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (not that I’d encourage anybody to do cocaine or eat KFC),” said Fry.

As humans, we like pleasure, and tantalizing images of food are just the start.

Nigella Lawson, food writer and television show host, is often labelled as the “queen of food porn” – a label she rejects. However, when looking at an image of Lawson with caramel slowly dripping down her face and hands, it’s easy to imagine where the name might have originated.

George Costanza from Seinfeld is fondly known for his arousal in the presence of pastrami.

Food bloggers worldwide celebrate lustrous creations through well-crafted imagery. Foodporndaily.com, with the slogan “click, drool, repeat,” leaves viewers endlessly clicking through mouthwatering images – maybe even having a #mouthgasm.

Food and sex both activate pleasure centres in your brain. It’s really no surprise that food porn leaves you salivating for more.

PB & J Ice Cream Cake recipe at Katy’s Kitchen