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It's Food Porn Party Time: A Report From 2012 Film Food Fest
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It's Food Porn Party Time: A Report From 2012 Film Food Fest

Ready for close-ups on food details, textures, and techniques? Join us at this year's edition of the New York festival that brings food on the big-screen

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Fifteen years have gone by since the Center of Science in Public Interest used the expression “food porn” for the first time. And yet, our senses continue to be constantly bombarded (and rewarded) by images of food, which continues to act as a viable substitute for sex in the media. It’s no wonder, then, that the evening dedicated to "Food Porn" was one of the most popular events at the most recent edition of Food Film Fest in New York.

The formula has remained virtually unchanged in the five years it's been presented: food is the main star of the big screen, and audiences are treated to the best food-centered shorts and documentaries while indulging in the same dishes featured on the screen from the comfort of their own seats. And it’s a formula that seems to be a winner: festival director George Motz claims that “it’s been clinically proven that seeing beautiful images of food prior to consumption actually makes the food taste better.”

On the night in question, the screening room is full to capacity. As soon as an advertisement for beer appears on the screen, the place erupts with whistles and hoots of approval. Motz, however, makes a very clear distinction: “None of these images are actually pornographic. It’s just a different way of looking at food, and a different way of enjoying it.” The ten films explore food in all kinds of ways, and from a range of perspectives, with a notable concentration of intimate close-ups on details, textures, and techniques.

The audience is treated to the skillfully stuffed and deep fried “tofurky” prepared by Jason Lam for Thanksgiving, or Scott Pitts, (aka The Benevolent Baker and The Benevolent Butcher) and his mouthwatering doughnuts and bacon, or a canine interpretation of the perfect sandwich as featured in the movie Dog Eats Dream.

 

And to finish off, there’s even a food porn tutorial on Vietnamese coffee by Eric Slatki, a delicacy that is then prepared for the whole audience in just a few minutes.

Real-life food is provided thanks to Brad Farmerie of Saxon + Parole and Public (Bacon Wrapped Beef), Seattle’s Hand-Forged Top Pot Doughnuts, and Brooklyn Star Fried Pigtails. And of course, “local” is a key theme here: most of the films explore foods and wines from the region, and the themes are rarely explored in ways that are too specific or complicated But for what the program may lack in technical complexity, it makes up in enthusiasm and audience participation. Let’s not forget that we’re in New York - the world’s capital of “The Latest Thing” - and the participants are accustomed to being considered trend setters. And even though “food porn” is hardly a new buzzword or idea, it still evokes an authentic, genuine interest in even the most jaded of hipsters and sophisticated foodies. As one audience member, Ellen, told me, “It’s a wonderful, stimulating idea. You see food on the screen and then taste it right afterwards. And the theme of sex and food is just electrifying, while still being so basic and simple that it hardly needs any supplemental information or knowledge.”

Then the Sundelles take the stage for their provocative burlesque show, which leaves barely anything to the imagination, finally satisfying the more libidinous appetites in the room. After all, it’s not just food that’s spicy.

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