Taking pictures of food is tricky. First of all, food only lasts so long. You have a few moments with whipped cream or cereal or even soup before it's no longer ready for its closeup. In a short amount of time, you've got to get all the lighting and positioning perfect for it to look right.
Second, some food just doesn't look right in a photo. I think gravy looks weird...and milk. This might be because I remember being told a long time ago that commercials use stuff like glue to act as milk on cereal and now I just see a glass of glue.
Third, food is multi-sensory but photography is not. You have to try for a photo that smells and tastes good. We see these photos all the time, but replicating them is difficult. The photographers that are able to make mouths water are also able to make a living in a fairly specialized niche.
We needed to take some food shots this weekend for a training manual for a local restaurant. It's very much a neighborhood gathering place but it's located in a strip mall and doesn't get much natural light at all. We were working on location with the lighting and background and all but improvised with a piece of white foam-core we luckily had in my backseat (yay crafts!). Here's one of the pics we got:
Does it look like you could sit down and dig in? In hindsight, we should have set it up with a couple pints of Guiness nearby.