The Joy of Food Porn

21 Aug

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Food porn. I love the way those two words sound together, and what they represent, both the glossy, mouth-watering food photography worthy of Pinterest or Instagram, and those images’ more literary counterparts. I don’t have as much experience with actually XXX video food porn, but that’s its own niche. Unlike, say, terms like “real estate porn,” which I tend to find a perversion of the word “porn,” I make an exception for “food porn” because I find an undeniable sensualness to it, a link to the reasons we consume erotic materials and food.

I love to write about food in my erotica and assign my students the task. Why? Because food is familiar; we all have to eat, and, like sex, most of us have highly specific preferences about what kinds of food we desire, how we want them prepared, and our preferred locales for eating them. Plus, we use our mouths to eat, and to kiss, and to lick, suck, swallow. Also like sex, we use all our senses when we eat, playing off the visual cues as well as our memories of what it was like to eat a particular food. Food erotica can make us hungry for both sex and our next meal, and combining the two can be taboo, exciting or add a different dimension to our smut.

Food itself is often funny, whether we’re grossed out by someone’s eating habits, intrigued, or simply amazed. Food erotica scenarios abound: the close quarters of a food truck, a vegetarian wooing a carnivore, lovers introducing each other to rare delicacies, comparing pain tolerance in BDSM with how spicy you can take your meals, sneaking food we aren’t “supposed” to eat—I could go on and on. While yes, there are some people who are blasé about food, seeing it as little more than an obligation of sustenance, many others are passionate about their food favorites. Witness the scene in Chef, when Carl Casper, played by Jon Favreau, goes apeshit on a critic who dared to criticize his molten chocolate lava cake, berating him in front of a roomful of diners, which then goes viral on YouTube.

We’re all one Michele Bachmann corn dog photo away from a sexy food moment, intentional or not, if you look at our comestibles in the right light. I mean, if someone wrote good pea guacamole erotica, I’d totally read it, because it’s already a meme that’s been poked fun of umpteen times, but not, to my knowledge, properly fetishized.

I’ve found restaurants to be one of my favorite places to set erotica, again because of the familiarity factor. Plus, eating in a restaurant automatically ups any hint of food play, even the offering of a spoonful of a rich, creamy dessert, a level of exhibitionism you won’t necessarily find at home. I played that up in my story “I’ll Have What She’s Having” in the anthology Exposure, about a woman who’s paid to sit in a restaurant window and eat in a sexy manner, told from the point of view of the restaurant owner who hires her. Who wouldn’t love that job? Here’s a snippet:

What Pam did was eat her meal with more gusto and sex appeal than I’d ever witnessed anyone consume anything. She had a serene glamour to her, and each bite of every single dish was savored obsessively, in the manner of a true foodie, with her eyes closed, her head tilted slightly, like the food was taking her to another planet, or maybe another dimension. She wasn’t so much ignoring Brad as giving every ounce of her attention over to the meal. The chef in me was riveted, and the man in me was very, very aroused.

 I wasn’t the only one staring. Brad, who I’d later meet, eventually gave up on his danish as Pam gave a performance that would’ve gotten Meg Ryan replaced on the set of When Harry Met Sally. Her sleek black bob shimmered in the light playing off her pale skin, her eyes were closed and her head tilted back so we could practically see the food being swallowed. A quick survey of the room proved that many other diners had found their afternoon’s entertainment, right in front of them, at no extra cost.

coffeehotcover

As a reader, I love food erotica that takes me somewhere new and different, especially with a food—or beverage—I consume every day. That’s why I was eager to devour the new Circlet Press anthology Coffee: Hot, even though science fiction and fantasy erotica are not my usual reading materials (I tend to be too literal-minded to be able to properly indulge other worlds). But as a die hard coffee drinker, I was curious to see the sensual heights these authors took my beloved beverage, and they didn’t disappoint, especially “Dark Roast” by Justin Josh, about a gorlon on a spaceship with magic tentacles that produce a coffee-like liquid that makes the narrator willing to submit to its erotic torments to get it:

It began to lightly spank my ass. I trembled with ecstasy. The pleasure was getting stronger and stronger. I needed a release! But it was in total control. When would it let me come?

 Suddenly it maneuvered me slightly and I felt a tentacle enter my mouth. No, it was one of the boils. It was squirting coffee down my throat. I guzzled the liquid gratefully. It coursed through my entire body, heightening my already dizzying state of bliss.

At the same time, the gorlon began to work my body even harder. I could feel it fucking my ass back and forth, while two tentacles held my hips, rocking them. It kept my cock tightly gripped in its lips, bringing me right to the brink of climax and keeping me captive there.

(I do have to point out that the story has one of the funniest typos I’ve ever seen, which should offer you a powerful reminder of the power of proofreading: “Suddenly I felt it envelope my cock.”)

In my family, amongst my friends, and in my relationship, food is a major topic of discussion. What I’m eating, what I’m planning to eat, new ways to prepare dishes, unusual ingredients, are all daily fodder, which means I’m constantly surrounded by story ideas. One of my favorites, “French Fried,” was inspired by a friend telling me about a scene she witnessed in Paris, of a woman eating french fries from a plate with a flame beneath it to keep them perfectly warm. There was something so charming about that image, to me, so elegant and devoted to the art of the fry, that I turned it the story that appears in Best Lesbian Romance 2012:

“Sit, sil vous plais. Share?” Her English is halting, but lovely, the words striking tones you just don’t hear in the States. I nod, staring at her, soaking her in, from the round arches of her eyebrows, to the fine black pencil lining her brown eyes, the lashes lush, the cheeks rosy. She is staring at me intently, and only breaks the stare to lift a fry with her fingers and hold it out to my lips. “Open,” she says, and I do; I couldn’t have done otherwise.

 The fry is the best thing I’ve ever tasted. It’s warm and perfectly cooked through, salty, with a hint of some kind of spice. But what heats my mouth even more is the way Veronique is looking at me. Her eyes are taking in my entire face, wide, trusting, seeking, and her are red and beautiful. One someone else the color might look overbearing, a vamp on the prowl, but on her it manages to look both innocent and seductive. I’m not afraid of her in the least, nor of her hungry eyes just waiting to devour me like I am doing to the fries. The fork lingers between her perfectly manicured fingers, but she puts it down, then picks up another fry and runs it along my lower lip. I dart out my tongue, teasing the fry, running my tongue up its length, licking the salt off.

I’d venture there’s no food a good writer can’t bring to life in erotica. Our tastes in food are subjective, but the ability to convey why a particular food, whether it’s a beloved dessert, a familiar aphrodisiac or an often-reviled vegetable, turns a character on. Is it the food itself, or the person preparing—or wielding—it? Does the mere sight of that food make the character blush and squirm? In my upcoming anthology Dirty Dates, in my story “Admitting It Is The First Step,” I turn a woman playing up the phallic nature of sausages into a public D/s scene. Food porn has endless possibilities, which is what I most treasure about it.

What foods have you written—or read—about in erotica? Is there any food that’s too out there for you to ever think about in a sexy way?

One Response to “The Joy of Food Porn”

  1. Madeline Iva August 21, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

    I had a friend who for lack of a better term I’ll call my ‘sushi partner’. When we went out to sushi–for some reason mostly on rainy days–there were orgasmic noises the friend made that allowed me to enjoy the sushi and those moments so much more than I think I would have otherwise. I mean, basically she ruined me for sushi after I moved away. But yes, there were so many senses fulfilled — even from the variations of steam rising from the handle-less mugs of green tea to the feel of our damp rain soaked clothing, to the sound of the rain drumming outside.

    Like

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