The Flip Side of Food Porn
Food pictures are naughty and make you loose the desire to eat

“Make my food look pretty,” she said, excitedly grasping her pigtails and flinging them behind her back, her freckled cheeks pinking slightly.

“Close your eyes.”

“Mmmm. Arty baby gonna make surprise of my chops?”

“No. I mean close your eyes and eat.”


New research out of BYU finds that looking at too many pictures of food can actually make it less enjoyable to eat.

Let’s face it: the web is clogged with food that does not look like food. Food porn they call it. Underage veal lies pretty in garter belts of truffled cracklings, while mamma bangs pots in the kitchen. The colors are “enhanced” just like the women in men’s magazines, whose legs have been lengthened in PhotoShop.

You see, lazy researchers are recycling the old, tired, and generally untrue porn research and inserting food where the pulsing sex organs used to be. “Porn desensitizes you.” You get big bucks for this sorta thing.

So let me cure you.

Welcome to your 1 step anti food porn program, a free feature of Wandering Italy

Now close your eyes for real. Open them when I say open.

Think of long simmered pork. On the bone. Salty, but then think of the essence of sweet chestnuts. Together, a marriage made in heaven. A balance, salty/sweet. Try to keep from swooning.

Now open. Look:

polenta di neccio ossi di maiale picture
Polenta di Neccio and Ossi di Maiale

Ok, before you retch, I didn’t say this was gonna be easy. The purple-gray blob near those overcooked bones is unlikely to stimulate your taste buds much, eh?

What you’re looking at, if your head isn’t face down in a toilet bowl, is Polenta di Neccio and Ossi di Maiale. You can say Polenta con ossi and the good folks of the Garfagnana territory of Tuscany will understand. Polenta with bones.

What you have is a polenta made from chestnut flower, plopped unceremoniously beside a heaping helping of long-simmered pork bones. True cucina povera, except there’s a whole lot more of it than you would have gotten as a poor person.

It’s a dish devised by people who valued flavor and nutrition over pretty because they were clever with the cheap bits and weren’t so bored with life they felt a need to “crank it up a notch”.

Let me tell you about the bones.

When my neighbor Armando slaughters his pig in December, he uses a great deal of it to make various cured meats like his prize winning salami. Then the butcher cuts the prime cuts for the family to eat right away. Then the bones and feet go in a big barrel with lots of salt and are stored under the house with the vino he’s made. When they want something for a winter meal, they just go under the house and get out a foot or two and some bones, wash off the salt, and boil them up until you can suck the meat off the bone.

Ok, the whole dish is very primal. Under-the-house dirty. Ugly.

A bit like the best sex, no?

But not to worry, the chestnut trees in Tuscany are dying. Chestnut blight. Endothia parasitica, first seen in 1938, is ravaging the countryside.

And pork is going industrial. The odd bits will go in your wieners, ground so fine you won’t know what they are.

So, don’t worry, there will be pretty food that won’t challenge your sensibilities. It will be around for a long time. You will be happy. I will be sad. That’s the way the world spins (if you let it).


The Flip Side of Food Porn originally appeared on WanderingItaly.com , updated: Sep 25, 2018 © .

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