While doing laundry, I was impaled by the smell of McDonald’s fries. I’m not sure if all the talk of best selling erotica novels had planted an idea seed that just needed that bit of fast food heaven to bud, but a simple thought came to me: The smell of French fries haunts my dreams and inhabits my nightmares. That salty aroma IS lust and suffering. Not bad for tasteless (what a terrible pun) porn disguised as food cravings. I thought about my creation and cross-referenced it with the term “food porn”, used to describe shows on Food Network and such. Since my beautiful sentence was obviously above so vulgar a term as porn, I chose the next most elegant solution: foodrotica. I made my way upstairs and immediately typed foodrotica into the internet because I suspected I wasn’t the first to realize the majesty of this label. I was right. Apparently you can’t invent anything in the twenty-first century. The best you can hope for is that you start doing something and hope Apple doesn’t sue you for patent infringement (easily the weakest joke I’ve ever written).

While I thought the idea of foodrotica humorous, it did get me wondering what it is about food, and food that is bad for us in particular, that lends itself so easily to smut? Make no mistake about it, foodrotica is as much smut as any other type of pornographic material, no matter how high class the name. I can’t speak for anybody else, but fast food is akin to sexual fetishes in the sense that society, in large part, dismisses fast food because of its ultimate objectification of food. For some, food has sacred and/or religious implications, so while the Dollar Menu gets whored out with tantalizing images of melting cheese and burgers leaking grease, it makes sense that we would want to bury our desires for this kind of food from those around us . When I decide to eat at the McDonald’s that happens to oppress me from right beside my apartment, it’s only after weighing the benefits with the potential ridicule I might receive. Is the guy who takes my order every time I go in there judging me for getting a Bic Mac meal? What would his judgement mean if he’s working there? How do I reconcile knowing how horrible the food is for me with how awesome it feels to eat it?

That’s really what’s at the root of the issue, for me and for society as a whole. I love fast food because it feels good. Eating foods so heavy in fat is satisfying in a way that nothing else is. Scarfing down a Double Quarter Pounder, large fries and regular Coke is as self-gratifying as masturbating and we do it for the same basic reason. There are perfectly reasonable reasons to have intercourse, just as there are obvious reasons to eat food. We could do what is best for our bodies and physically work in order to get the food we need to survive, thus guaranteeing an expenditure of energy. We could consume less in general so that we wouldn’t even have to expend that much energy. Human beings crave, so we don’t do any of those things. We want a lot and we don’t want it to be difficult to get. Fast food was the perfect solution, except that it ended up being just a little too revealing. It exposed enough of our inherent gluttony that we’ve now become ashamed to even admit that we eat at fast food places. It’s hard to hide the fact that we do, though, considering they are everywhere and continue to do excellent business. Clearly more of us indulge than would ever be willing to admit.

And this is why foodrotica is the brave new world of porn and food. People can have the freedom to crank out pseudo literature about the orgasmic effect of animal style fries. We can assign some academic category for unhealthy eating behaviors toned up with a bit of sexy. We can still ridicule those who think the love of fast food should be talked about openly and criticize it for it’s perceived effects on youths. And still, all the while, we can pen a little diddy about how the creamy thick mayonnaise that gets lathered onto the burger bun has the sweet Latin tang of chipotle, then proceed to get hungry and aroused at the same time.

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