-High-key, relatively uniform lighting
-Camera tilts for odd angles (something I'm not a huge fan of)
-Either spot-on lifelike white-balance, or a slightly cooler cast
The food I had on hand for this was muffins, which generally don't require much utensil usage. I guess in hindsight I could have used a knife, but oh, well. I used my kit lens, usually at around 35mm focal length I think, and at a wide variety of apertures as experimentation. The counter in my house is corian, so it reflects light from windows nicely, but it's also quite uniform. It gave me a ready-made professional looking background. I set up the muffins in various positions to emphasize texture, etc. and started shooting (foregoing the camera tilt... maybe I'll try it next time).
click to enlarge, or see it on Flickr
Shutter Speed: 0.6 seconds
Focal Length: 34mm
The last thing I did after my regular contrast/sharpness/exposure adjustments in Lightroom was going through the steps from this post to get the white-balance exactly right. I tried it with a blue cast first, but it didn't look so good with brown muffins.
I think I could have gone a bit wider in the aperture, but otherwise I'm pretty satisfied with the shot. Sure, there are things to improve on, but considering I basically set a couple of muffins on the counter and shot a few photos, they turned out pretty good.