How ’bout a lard sundae for dessert?

By: Nicole Kucharski

Ever get frustrated with food advertisements not living up to your expectations? Burger commercials from fast food leaders such as McDonalds and Burger King present their products as delectable perfections. Already picturing the zesty crunch of green lettuce and juicy taste of rich red tomatoes piled on top of two prime beef patties? I’m right there with you…But how come these images are never true representations of what is just a sloppily smashed together wanna-be?

First and foremost: The advertised Big Mac could never realistically fit into the actual box it is sold in.

Second: Your burger doesn’t have it’s own stylist. No, I’m not kidding. The burger wonders you see taunting you on TV go through long and tedious styling and computer editing processes.

Third: Unlike the burgers featured in ads, the burger you are eating is actual meat (well, sorta). Cooked food glops, slops, and smears, so it’s no wonder that the actual product leaves more to be desired.

Looking beyond food advertisements, let’s take a quick trip to the grocery store. Now, think about those shiny red apples that are gleaming in the fresh food isle. That waxy shine that covers these fruits isn’t thanks to mother nature but to a product called Shellac. Shellac, a product whose primary use is to act as a shiny coating on wood, nails etc., is FDA approved when dissolved in pure ethanol.  Now since this kind of advertising works at the local level, it’s usually so obscure that most consumers would never stop and think that the veggies grown by hard-working farmers could be manufactured for the sole purpose of appearing more appetizing.

Let’s take a moment of silence to let this information sink in. If the food you buy at the local grocer’s can be manipulated behind closed doors, don’t be surprised if the advertisement of your favorite ice cream sunday isn’t just a pile of modeling clay and lard or the fresh flowing milk featured on your box of cereal isn’t, in fact, glue.

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2 Responses to How ’bout a lard sundae for dessert?

  1. valicat says:

    It’s actually called food styling, the art of making food look sexy. Those tomatoes you see in the Subway posters probably have vaseline rubbed on them to make them shinierThat Big Mac they take the picture of is also probably slightly browned, but virtually inedible. The tomatoes and lettuce are pinned in place with toothpicks so they show just enough, and then they squirt a little bit of shiny paint on the edge of the burger, to make it look like there’s just that slight hint of mustard and mayonaise, just enough that it *nearly* is going to drip out. And if you’ve ever noticed, most food styling pictures are taken at eye-level, almost never from above.

    It’s strange, but I kind of have a love/hate thing going on with food styling. It’s like food porn, I just. Super unrealistic but super pleasing on the eyes to my stomach.

    It’s a little sad to know, though, that the food you make will almost never look like a food-styled product.

  2. jillianmckee says:


    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?


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