"real" food photography is a whole different animal than taking photos of what we made or ordered in a restaurant, involves chefs, food stylists, lights, assistants, etc etc. And often the food is not real or edible, i.e. mashed potatoes used for ice cream, acrylic ice cubes, glycerin spray instead of condensation on glass, etc. The photos in MC are a top of the line example and certainly cross over into the art segment of photography as well.
But putting a little effort into snapping pictures of our food is really quick and easy, and yes, works just as well with an iphone. Camera is just a tool, one needs to know what it's capable of and use it well. It's a lot of fun, I often snap a quick iphone picture of food I made or am making, I don't like having my real cameras in the kitchen, I use them when I set up a little studio setting e.g. after a good harvest at the farmers market. I use my phone or a waterproof P&S in the kitchen.
To me it sounds like Meredith likes to set a nice table and just be able to sit down with her fiance after a long day of work, and I think that's great. It's more chaotic in my house, most of time I serve the kids first, then my wife and then myself. They start eating before I even have a crumb on my plate. I tried the serve all and sit down many times before, but the "can I start, I'm soooo hungry" whining got more on my nerves than sitting down when they're already half done, LOL
So sometimes I spend a couple extra seconds on my plate and snap a couple photos, doesn't disrupt and the kids watch what I'm doing (trying to feed them some love of photography with dinner I guess). I don't have room in a closet to have a mini setup ready all the time, great idea though!
Those photos are mostly for me to document what I did and trigger ideas down the road. I rarely cook exactly the same thing twice, and even if it's the same dish I play with stuff and change quantities all the time. Fun to see something I made two years ago.
There are a handful of great (and some not so great) books on this topic, of course geared to the professional or "real" food photography, used in advertisements, magazines, etc. I also have a fun book on food styling that I use for ideas when I set up my mini studio.
It really depends on what the purpose of a foto is too, a quick shot to memorize something great in a restaurant or at home, a shot for a blog (where one might spend a bit longer with light/composing), something arty to print and hang up in the kitchen, etc.
For mini studio setup I use one or two flashes off camera with small softboxes, both either on stands or placed elsewhere to throw the light I want. Or I might work outside in the shade or close to a window. Sometimes I also use a small light table used for drawing to illuminate food from behind or underneath, fun to experiment.
You need decent light and a somewhat capable camera, but you also need to know a bit about composition, play with angles, turn the food this or that way. Can be done very quick and once you get the hang of it and find your couple different approaches you like it gets even faster. Since we're not on a photography forum here, I don't think it makes sense to get too technical and certainly makes no sense to diss phone or P&S cameras, great food photography has been done with anything from pinhole cameras to $40k rigs in million dollar studios. Not sure why things need to get personal here, what's the point of that? People will just leave the thread and it'll die.