‘’You need this Kinder Bueno cheesecake in your life’’
I do not. Watching the fork slowly drag through the fecal-coloured, Philadelphia nightmare reassured me it was perhaps the last thing on earth I might actually ‘need in my life.’
Food porn – another miserable buzzword the culinary world has coined – is the late night viewing material of sexually frustrated teenagers, hungry singletons and doubting nuns. The context for this haemorrhage of hardcore internet food has old roots. M&S did it best. Their iconic ‘not just any food’ campaign voiced by Dervla Kirwan was all the way back in 2004 (it included that particularly seductive chocolate-pudding-slo-mo ooze). The campaign worked so well for M&S that they revived the advert in 2014 with that iconic Clean Bandit instrumental (alongside some sensually explosive spinach).
LADbible piggybacks M&S’s old hack marketing ploys, but to pedal food ideas even more banal than M&S’s Dine in For Two deal. Eat and enjoy eating, but don’t let’s be boring about it. Our bodies aren’t meant to digest plastic Instagram-fresh picture food. We are voracious, omnivorous and its much more interesting to be self-indulgent with variety.
My complaint is not particularly that you will end up the size of a small people-carrier (minus the mobility). It is that you might get there living only as M&S or LADbible tell you to. And, if you are going to be decadent, then consider doing it properly.
Roast a chicken in an entire block of Lurpack. Douse yourself in Buerre Blanc and then polish it all off with some oven-fresh Madelaines. Why on earth save cream for Dessert? Put cream in your gravy. Roast your potatoes in goose fat. Poach vegetables in butter.
Eat cheese! This country is bursting with cheese, but instead we plough through Cathedral Cheddar by the kilo. The pears are ripe: Somerset Brie, Stinking Bishop, Wensleydale Blue, choose your weapon! I do implore you keep the ‘cheese-pulls’ out of it. It sounds like a snog with a French dairy farmer.
At any rate, then you might gasp your last (artery-blocked) breath, with some satisfaction that you have lived beyond the parameters set for you by a marketing team.
Are we so far removed that we can only appreciate food in moments of sliced satisfaction, dragged out in painful slow motion? These dishes are faceless, cultureless and probably untested recipes. Does anyone still thumb through recipe books with family/friends/lovers drooling over what they might eat?
The hidden problem here, is that although socially these short videos might initiate ‘tagging’ an interested person, little ever emerges of the interaction. How many times has anyone actually cooked one of those ridiculous eyesores for the person whom they tagged? It is an isolating circle of unfulfilled foodie promises. With a recipe the steps are in front of you, on Facebook the end result is paraded like an unattainable Chariot de Desserts.
Fewer moments in sharing food with other people is a tragedy of the twenty-first century. Videos like this propagate the myth that life lived vicariously online is a life of fulfilment.A cooked meal is one of the most personal expressions of care you can make towards another person. A plate of food inherently suggests, I want you to survive; I care about your future. If you want this gift to be cheap and from the internet then so be it (you are probably shit at birthdays too), because it’s not about the food anyway.
It’s not ‘this Kinder Bueno Cheesecake’ you need in your life, it’s people who might come to enjoy it. Invite someone round, and eat it together.