The Tale of Raunchy Appetizers

A gripping adventure, begun yesterday in my posting “Invitation to the groaning phallic board”, which was temporarily abandoned due to illness. The final chapter in the story of this raunchy appetizer board:

(#1) From a Facebook ad for a wooden appetizer board in the outline shape of the male genitals (head with frenulum and urethral cleft, gently bent shaft, and testicles) — highly stylized, highly schematic, but with these quite specific details; shown here with the compartments filled with appetizers of various sorts, and with accompanying bowls of other appetizers

The photo appears to be a scam come-on, created either by photographic manipulation or by the crafting of a single wooden model for advertising purposes.

My interest was in both the appetizer board (so called) and in the foodstuffs — the appetizers (though they sometimes go by other names) — that fill such boards. On appetizer boards in general, and then

some reflection on the modes of phallicity, extending my thoughts in two earlier postings, “Enhanced phallicity” of 12/10/21 (about things that are not merely phallic by nature, but (also) deliberately designed to resemble penises in some detail) and “Plush life” of 9/11/22 (about four modes of phallicity). What, in this world, are we to make of the raunchy appetizer board?

More boards and more stuff. In all innocence, I went a-googling, to see what the world of appetizer boards was like, and what the world of foodstuffs on those boards was like.

First thing: the term appetizer board seems to be still current, but no longer fashionable. Instead, the firms making and selling the things have picked up the term charcuterie board — originally used just for displays of cured meats, like salami and prosciutto — and extended it (no doubt because of the cachet of the French terminology) to serve as a name for (in the words of one web reference) “those fancy food boards”, covering also cheeses (both soft and hard), crackers, spreads and dips, jams and honey, relishes, vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, olives, and dried fruits. As in this display from the Easy Appetizers site:

(#2) A gigantic charcuterie platter / board (including salami roses); as far as I can tell, charcuterie boards always include actual charcuterie — so that the name can be seen as focusing on the principal or central component of the display (appetizer boards sometimes include some cured meats, as the one in #1 does, but often do not)

Background lexicographic note: OED2 on charcuterie (not limited to cured meats; etymologically, the term just means ‘cooked flesh / meat’):

Cold cuts of meat, esp. pork, ham, sausages, etc. Also, a shop that sells goods of this kind.

Then, the shapes of the boards and the materials they’re made from. The board in #2 is a large rectangular wooden tray, with handles. But there’s a whole world out there of handsome serving boards in various (sometimes whimsical) shapes and an assortment of materials, including some beautiful woods: acacia wood, walnut, teak, olivewood, mango wood, cherry, maple, rosewood. From items sold by Crate & Barrel:

— a Matteo acacia wood paddle serving board:

(#3) With cheese, crackers, cured meat, olives, cornichons, etc.

—  an assortment of Tondo acacia serving boards, in round, rectangular, and paddle shapes:

(#4) In natural finish; they also come in white-washed and black (ebonized) versions

But shapes, oh, you can get lots of shapes. For example, from Dennehey Design, Texas-shaped rosewood charcuterie & cheese serving boards:

(#5) Each one individually carved, apparently; it’s not a notably useful shape, but I find it immensely entertaining

From other sources: state-shaped boards (for all of the lower 48), mushroom-shaped boards; olivewood boards that follow the shape of the wood, whale shape, leaf shape, flower shape, feather shape, pig shape, guitar shape, fish shape (leaves and fishes are naturally pretty good shapes for this purpose).

And then, besides all those woods: boards of marble, lucite, bamboo, epoxy resin, and petrified wood.

But phallicity, doctor, what about phallicity? Surprisingly, all the phallic boards I’ve been able to find are just the board in #1 again. A design that’s highly stylized, highly schematic — but with telling details that make it look like the wooden outline of a very real gigantic penis. There’s nothing subtle here. (The board in the photo is nicely executed, so it’s both admirable and somewhat shocking, and therefore genuinely funny.)

Previously on this blog:

— in my 2/10/21 posting “Enhanced phallicity”,

[about] things that are not merely phallic by nature, but (also) deliberately designed to resemble penises in some detail; they are doubly phallic. The neck and head of a brontosaurus, or of a giraffe; an elephant’s trunk; a banana.

In the world of double phallicity, it’s not just objects of the natural world; plenty of phallic artifacts can be similarly enhanced: salt and pepper shakers, chandeliers, lollipops, all can be — and have been —  engineered to resemble male genitalia in some detail.

Meanwhile, phallic artifacts — notably, tower buildings and rockets — can have their phallicity upped to some degree, without any intention on the part of the designers to simulate a glans penis or testicles or whatever (but sometimes it happens anyway, to public amusement).

— in my 9/11/22 posting “Plush life”, about four modes of phallicity:

phallic symbol: an object, whether natural or artifactual, that resembles a penis; a phallic symbol exists as a material object independent of the associations people make from it to a penis.

phallic representation: an artistic creation depicting a penis.

phallic design: an abstract design evoking a penis, as in a male triad (created for this purpose) or the Head Sport logo (intended to call to mind a ski tip, but inadvertently resembling a penis); phallic designs are then like both phallic symbols and phallic representations.

phallic simulacrum: a designed object serving some independent function — as a dildo, as a pillow, as a figure in imaginative play, as food, as soap — but in the form of, or incorporating the form of, a penis.

All four modes are matters of degree. In the right context, any extended, longish, relatively thin object can be understood as a phallic symbol: any tall building, a merely extended finger, even a paddle-shaped appetizer board (as in #3). Low, but detectable, degrees of phallicity.

The raunchy appetizer board in #1 is, on the other hand, both a phallic design and a phallic simulacrum (so is reminiscent of the doubly phallic objects above), and is very high in phallicity, thanks to its anatomical details. A large wooden male triad, with compartments for foodstuffs, but with a straight shaft and a merely rounded end, would still be a phallic design and a phallic simulacrum, but would be much less aggressively penis-like. I’m surprised that no one seems to have created such an object, which would be merely racy rather than (entertainingly) raunchy.

One Response to “The Tale of Raunchy Appetizers”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    Indeed, the Texas-shaped board seems wildly impractical. One shaped like Colorado or Wyoming would be more useful but a good deal less interesting.

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