Published 12/27/07: I finally successfully employed a down-and-dirty lighting technique I learned in college from my then-VICO222 teacher Randy Piland, once a photographer/photo-editor at The Tennessean, now faculty at Elon College.
Randy taught us that as a general rule, food looks most appetizing back-lit. He also told us that a neat way to make it look juicier is to bounce your light into a piece of crumpled aluminum foil, turning it into hundreds of mini-directional flashes. It results in highlights that are just a little more specular.
I'm finding it also really worked well for another food shoot I had recently. George's Steakhouse is rather famous as a favorite eatery for firefighters who are in town to purchase new fire-trucks from nearby Pierce. They're not fancy... they're self-proclaimed meat and potatoes. While that might mean good food, it sometimes mean less than elaborate presentation. The same lighting trick turned a hunk of cow, into slightly tantalizing juiciness (published 1/10).