All I have is a Canon PowerShot A590, a digital point-n-shoot from Target for $179 (make sure to get at least a 1G memory card for it). But the real feature the camera has for food photography is a macro function, allowing me to get in close and the camera focuses close. The macro function takes a little practice to use, but it works well.
Make sure you have white and possibly black dishes to plate on, and a white surface to shoot against. These colors make things pretty, and the white surface will allow your camera to get a decent white balance.
Lighting? I ain’t gots none. That’s all sunlight, natural light, best stuff in the world. I even turn off the camera’s flash unless I’m in a restaurant, such as in this shot. But even then, I used the macro function.
Finally, if you have access to at least PhotoShop CS2 through CS4 there are a ton of functions in there to correct color, punch things up, saturate hues, pull things out of shadows … find yourself something useful (Paint Shop Pro is even ok for this) to process your pics with.
Over on Steamy Kitchen’s About Page, Jaden talks about how she does it. I’ve learned a lot just going through her stuff and trying to duplicate what I see in her blog.