Presentation Matters

Did you ever hear the adage, ‘You eat with your eyes first”?  Well, it’s true.  And I believe you should present your food the best way you can – even when you’re only cooking for yourself.  In fact, I believe it affects how satisfied you feel after eating. No, I have not done any formal studies, I have no statistically significant sample size or control group.  But I can tell you it sure made a difference for me today.

I worked this morning at the Kitchen Shoppe and was driving home by 11:45 a.m.  Of course, lunch was on my mind.  I was thinking about what to make that would be A) nutritious, B) satisfying and C) quick since I had an appointment to get to by 2:00 p.m.

A  I will be honest and tell you that tuna from a can is a go-to lunch option for me when I’m eating at home.  But it isn’t always the most satisfying thing because I don’t normally get too creative with it.  But when I do, I feel like I’ve had a great meal.  Today I thought about what was available in my kitchen and my garden to go with the tuna.  I thought, “Hmmmm, how about a tuna stuffed tomato?”  But I just did that over the weekend (and it looked beautiful when I did – see left).  I thought about a tuna sandwich, but we’re having pizza for dinner and I didn’t want the carbs.  So I thought, “Salad.”

Now if you ask my mom, she will tell you that I can throw together a pretty kick-a$$ salad with meager ingredients, but I didn’t have a lot of time.  So I opted for some leftovers – both ingredients and the idea were leftover from last night.

I put some pre-washed spinach in the bottom of a shallow bowl.  I shaved some celery on my mandolin and sprinkled it over the spinach.  I cored a honey crisp apple and also sliced it with the mandolin on a thicker setting than the one I used for the spinach.  I drizzled some leftover dressing into the apple core and down the outside of the apple, topped the whole thing with some candied walnuts and added a scoop of tuna to the side.

Although my salad looked beautiful and was delicious, I can honestly tell you I would not typically eat tuna and an apple for lunch.  As much as I love apples, you won’t often find me just biting into one – normally they have to be sliced or diced and often part of a whole rather than the whole itself.  But because the dish looked so beautiful, I felt satisfied and I felt like I had a great meal.

You be the judge….which would you rather eat,

A) Apple & Tuna

OR

B)

Sliced Apple Salad

On the food network tv series, Chopped, the chefs’ dishes are judged on creativity, taste, and PRESENTATION.  And those judges are hard to satisfy!!! Presentation DOES matter.

Remember this the next time you prepare a meal – whether it’s for a crowd or just for yourself.  Make it look as appealing as you possibly can.  A meal doesn’t have to be prepared by a chef to be beautiful.  Think about colors and textures – not only of the food, but of the vessel in which or on which it is served.  Take a little time to arrange the food on the plate in a pleasing way rather than simply plopping a serving onto your plate.  It can make the difference between eating and dining!

What do you think?  Do you eat with your eyes first?

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