Food Porn

Having just received the following e-mail message, I read it aloud for everyone in the computer lab to enjoy:

‘Hi Lianne, I am going to get a penis at 11:30. Want to come along?’

‘Of course,’ I immediately reply. ‘How much does that sort of thing cost in Cortona?’ It is high time that I splashed out for quality penis, having spent the past 27 nights alone, tucked into a narrow convent bed. ‘God damned auto correct!’ my friend replies. She had initially typed pedi, being in dire need of a pedicure after stomping around Italy for the better part of May. ‘In that case, I will pass,’ I confirm, finding the foot scrub invitation less tempting than the initial offer. Porco miseria!

Woman cutting pork that is not miserable at the Cortona market.

Grande Porchetta at the mercato di Cortona.

I realize, carissima readers, that you can only be disappointed with my story, thinking ‘so much for the porn, or rather lack thereof. I may as well stop reading now.’ Wait!’ I plead, ‘don’t go, for I have a few other things to offer, and I consider them somewhat pornographic, aesthetically if not literally.’ Given my recent lack of pedicure treatments, I have redirected my excess energy stores toward such activities as cooking. Naturally since living in Tuscany, I have become quite passionate about fava beans, vin santo, eerily green olive oil (best in December but I am not that picky), and cinghiale—that’s wild boar to you non-FFG facebook fans. It is easy to eat clean, healthy food with a certain degree of moderation here. All of the produce for sale in the randomly opened and then suddenly closed shops is organic, glowing, and delicious. Warning: non toccare! Don’t even fucking think about touching it yourself, much less prodding it for freshness. Please leave that to the experts. In any case, I have found that the best way to prepare food here is to avoid messing too much with its pre-existing perfection. Add a little salt, a little garlic, and mangia bene.

Me at the Saturday morning Cortona market.

I will now include gratuitous photographs of some of the fantastic food that I have either prepared, eaten, or seen being eaten, all for your viewing pleasure. After all, pleasure and food go hand in hand, right? Or at least they used to according to Ken Albala, author of Eating Right in the Renaissance, 2002. Within standard humoural theory—bodies are composed of differing quantities of black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood—healthy foods are nourishing because they are easily assimilated and thus directly incorporated into the body, becoming part of one’s visible identity. These healthy foods will also taste good. Hot and moist food will appeal most, for instance, to someone with a sanguine body replete with blood (like me), whereas a person with a phlegmatic temperament will find most delectable the hot, dry foods liable to correct their cold and somewhat unfortunate temperament. Hippocrates or one of his many followers affirmed that when deciding between two foods, you should choose the one that tastes better over the one that is technically speaking better for you but disagreeable. Dieticians, physicians, and other medical practitioners advised clients to consume what pleased them, without advocating dietary anarchy. During the early modern period, health and pleasure went hand in hand. When did this wonderful situation change? Well, around the middle of the sixteenth century in Europe, nutritional authorities began to demand that people eat what was good for them, not necessarily what tasted good. From then on, the body’s urges and preferences were to a large degree considered something to be overcome rather than acknowledged. Achieving health required, and still requires, personal sacrifice as well as the negotiation of bodily desires. A superior physical status has became something to be earned, linked with the moral qualities of discipline, self-control, and denial.

I think that it is high time we returned to a more straightforward conflation of food and pleasure, don’t you? To that end I am following the current foodie trend of posting pictures in a pornographic mode, that is, with close ups that focus on moist detail, zooming in far closer than is really necessary, offering up an alluring glimpse of that which you do not currently have but might well be having later.

It’s been a while; cut me some slack.

Whenever I am visiting another country, I make an effort to learn about the local ingredients and traditional recipes. While in Cortona, I have made soup from farrow, an ancient grain that is like barley but with an earthier taste. After noticing bright orange flowers in all the shops the other day, I asked one vendor how to cook them, receiving a list of instructions in Italian, which I more or less understood. After opening the flowers pictured below and checking them for bugs, I added a spoonful of ricotta cheese mixed with fresh chopped basil to each one. Then I twisted the flowers shut before dipping them in a vague mixture of ‘some egg and flour.’ Yesterday I lightly fried the coated flowers for my current guests, MW and DO, to enjoy for breakfast. Feast your sinful greedy eyes on the pictures below, cretini!

Breakfast is served by FFG. Note the farrow on display at the front right of the plate.

Bean and egg salad made by DO.

Last night, the three of us returned from the shops and open-air market with bags of scented produce and chicken breasts, which we grilled on an ingenious machine that I found in the cupboard. No batter, topping or oil required. Not even Pam. Take note Fitbabe! Where can I buy one of these shiny silver heat rod trays?

Despite my efforts to eat clean during my trip, I must admit, darling followers, that I have fallen off the wagon a few times, having the most delicious gelato served to me by a man-scaped young man down in the piazza, and purchasing panforte, a Sienese speciality while in my second favourite medieval town. Though dense, chewy and spiced like a British Christmas cake, panforte is more subtle and sophisticated, with hints of citrus and crunchy nuts throughout. I will most definitely be recreating this dolce when I return to Canada, though the traditional method requires a coating of unblessed communion wafers. Where on earth can I get those? Down at the Hosts ‘N’ More shop on Jasper Ave perhaps?

I am planning to host a large dinner party a few weeks after my glorious reunion with Muffalo and my LSP. Maybe it would be best held on the rooftop patio of MW and DO? In any case, this meal will begin with some lovely bread and cheese, fine olive oil and vinegar for dipping, followed by the flowers described above, a primi of handmade ravioli, and hopefully a secondi of wild boar, along with contorni of spinach or greens cooked with pine nuts, delicately seasoned fava beans, and porcini mushrooms, topped off with a salad composed of delightfully bitter arugala and fresh tomatoes. For dessert there will be, of course, cantucci dipped in the vin santo that I just purchased from its maker, a few kinds of panforte, lots of coffee, wine and fizzy water.

Get ready i miei amici: You will soon receive an invitation to Tuscan Epic: Part I. If you are on my recently updated top ten friends list, that is.

Collared greens with walnuts (made by FFG), grilled chicken (made by MW), and tomato mushroom sauce (made by DO).

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged by feministfiguregirl. Bookmark the permalink.

About feministfiguregirl

I am a 50-year-old professor named Lianne McTavish who receives as much satisfaction from working out at the gym as from publishing my academic research. I decided to combine my two primary identities (scholar/gym rat) to create "Feminist Figure Girl," a fictional character who both analyzes and participates in bodybuilding. I competed in my first figure show in June of 2011, and then wrote a book inspired by the process, published by SUNY Press in February 2015. In this blog I will write about and consider my ongoing research on the body, while regularly making fun of myself. I recommend that you start reading my first post from August 2010 (available on the home page), instead of backwards from the most recent one, in order to get the full FFG effect.

9 thoughts on “Food Porn

  1. You can get most Italian food necessities, including pan forte stuff, at the Italian Centre. My fridge is bare – I am forcing water and coffee. But after surviving the Sistine Chapel (I believe I had the actual experience of one of the levels of hell in that space) I am totally happy to be back in spacious, quiet, underpopulated Alberta 🙂 Will send flickr info to share with class soon –

    aesp

    • Thanks! Yes the Sistine can be incredibly unpleasant. Hope you enjoyed the Raphael frescoes as you dashed toward it. I am going back to gaze at the Fra Angelico tomorrow before heading back to Rome.

  2. I’m eating clean as hell right now and I deeply thank you for this food porn. I think. Sometimes I suspect food porn is a catalyst for the muscle tic that has developed in my left posterior delt. Sometimes I think my body has come up with suppressed, passive-aggressive ways of protesting the clean diet. Sometimes…

      • I WAS thinking about training for figure competition but decided to compete in the 114 pound weight class in powerlifting. My training has since shifted and I LOVE doing it.

      • That is the coolest decision ever! If you want to write a guest blog about power lifting, please let me know! I did six weeks of ‘power lifting’ (sort of) during my contest prep, and I freakin’ loved it. I have too many impairments to pursue it…

      • THAT would be amazing. I may contact you about this in the future. My first meet is in July; training is going pretty well so far, I’m actually slightly more concerned about competition anxiety/psychological issues related to doing this in front of a lot of people as opposed to the physical aspect of it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s