Monday, June 20, 2011

Eye Drooling

Have you ever ordered something at a restaurant just because the picture of it on the menu convinced you it would be the most fabulous thing you’d ever closed your lips around?  Have you ever made a dinner that just looked amazing on your plate, regardless of what it tasted like?  (Though hopefully it tasted good as well.)

The other day I made lunch and I commented to my husband that the plate full of food looked nice, regardless of what it tasted like.  I said it looked “appetizing”.  He argued with me that it looked “appealing”.  I countered that the two were synonyms.  He clarified that regardless of how tasty it seemed, the colors themselves were actually attractive and appealing. 

I think most of us just dump our food on our plates and chow down, rarely considering the “art” of plating a dish.  We tend to not even consider the flavors in our mouth when we chew either.  We just insert, swallow, repeat. 

How sad to miss all that God has given us in this area!  He created so many foods and flavors to entice us.  And we are too distracted to pay attention to this.

But when a simple meal of varied colors and textures comes together on my plate, I sometimes have the rare presence of mind to take the moment and appreciate these small pleasures. 

All it took was a piece of flounder topped with mandarin oranges (see recipe here: but I had flounder that day so I substituted that for the tilapia), a side of gluten-free garlic primavera risotto (Jake LOVES: as well as frozen peas (with a little light butter). 

Visually pleasing and tasty as well.  (I should note that the first time Jake & I tried this fish recipe, we were a bit “iffy” about it.  Cooked mandarin oranges have a bit of a mushy texture.  But I quickly came to really like the mix of flavors and overcame the texture of the oranges.)  As usual, I should have taken a picture!

I would say that some of the food on our Mexico vacation fit this idea of visually appealing, especially the dishes at the French restaurant.  They took care with plating, like a 5 star eatery should. 

I definitely think visual appeal makes the meal better.  I think more about the foods I pair together when I prepare meals now.  There have been times that I’ve made all “gold” meals (chicken coated in cornmeal, side of chicken rice mix and corn!) and awhile back I had a very “green” meal (fish topped with avocado, green beans and broccoli).  Even if the food tastes good, I don’t enjoy those meals as much.  (Carrots would have been much better than the broccoli on that plate!)

What’s your favorite “visually appealing” meal?  Or least?!  Is there something that never really looks appealing but always tastes good?  Vice versa?  (I always used to think oyster soup looked appealing – like potato soup – but have tried it enough to know that it’s simply NOT.)

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