How not to write about food 101

“The gorgeous *** breast looked like ***gasm on a ***. The sight of it was enough to tantalize my ***. The first *** was an explosion of *** in my mouth.”

Now read it again…

“The gorgeous chicken breast looked like foodgasm on a plate. The sight of it was enough to tantalize my tastebuds. The first bite was an explosion of flavours in my mouth.”

What? of course I was talking about food you sick mind! Do you think there are other kind of breasts that can look gorgeous? Huh?

With so much food porn, foodgasm and voluptuous prawns around it’s hard to maintain an asexual relationship with food. But can we not save these adjectives for our husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, partners etc. and enjoy a platonic relation with our meals?

This post is not about how to write about food. A lot of food writers know much more about it than I do. This post is to tell the food writers and bloggers how to not write about food. It’s pretty simple, if your writing makes the dish sound unappetizing you are doing it wrong. Your words should give a clear picture of what’s on your plate and not what’s in the hidden folder of your hard drive. Of-course, unless you aspire to be the next E.L. James. In that case you are doing the right thing.

Let’s start with how the dish looks; no, it never looks like “food porn on a plate”. It can look colourful or vibrant or like “the chilli lamb dimsum glistened under the brightly lit lamps”. Just describing what you see on the plate will make lives simpler. “A grilled chicken breast on a bed of creamy potato mash with grilled vegetables on side” will look like “a grilled chicken breast on a bed of creamy potato mash with grilled vegetables on side”, no matter which angle you see it from.

Never ever drool on your food, never. It’s bad manners and also gross. If you drool on your food I will think twice before joining you for a meal.

Remember, the aroma is steam and steam or smoke don’t run. So they never come wafting towards you. You can say that the aroma wafted from the kitchen. Saying that “we got a whiff of what was cooking in the kitchen which helped whet our appetite” would be apt too. But of-course, if you’re getting a whiff from a commercial kitchen then probably they are not using a good exhaust.

Anyway, let’s get to the eating part. “There was an explosion of flavours in my mouth”; no, they never explode unless you are eating the papdi chaat sphere of Molecular Gastronomy fame or Bertie Bott’s every flavour beans or some other unmentionable things. 

We have four distinct tastebuds for sweet, sour, spicy and bitter and there’s the fifth one (umami) too. You can always say that “the gravy was sweet with a hint of sourness”. Also, food doesn’t have acidity, you do if you are eating wrong kind of food. What food has is a citrus flavour. 

Let’s go back to the first example now and write it a bit differently, “the grilled chicken breast looked appetizing sitting on a bed of creamy potato mash. The perfectly cooked meat was juicy with a subtle flavour of honey-ginger-lemon marinade. However, the grilled vegetables were oily and had gone a bit soggy”.

I hope this post helps you for your next review. Keep it simple cause trust me, simple is good and less is more. Those last three words aren’t relevant here. Don’t know why I wrote them.

P.S. – Don’t have foodgasm or any gasm in a restaurant. Save it for the bedroom. Unless you are Meg Ryan.

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