Do You Eat With Your Eyes? - Skunk's Junk Blog at - 113866

Skunk's Junk

Do You Eat With Your Eyes? 
Jul. 17, 2009 5:25 pm 
Updated: Jul. 23, 2009 6:35 pm
Presentation is important to me and I think to a lot of people in our society today.  I like to see things presented well.  I like to see people who present themselves in a way that shows they care about themselves and therefore, others. I like to pass homes and neighborhoods that look well cared for, it shows someone who lives there cares.  If we didn't care how we presented ourselves to others, we wouldn't bother with hygiene and grooming.  My husband cannot stand to let our cars get dirty.  Why?  I think her wants to project to others that he cares about their presentation, ie,himself.  (Not that we don't sometimes have dirty cars, he just doesn't like them that way.) 

I am a very visual type of person.  Color, form, shape interest me.  When I cook and prepare something for people to eat, I like to present in an appetizing manner.  I will spend more time thinking about how it is going to look when finished than about what I am cooking sometimes.  I think about the colors of the foods. . . hmmm, no can't have that yellow corn with that mac & cheese, too much yellow or broccoli would be good tonight but I already have green beans, too much green.  See what I mean.  I have two sets of dishes for everyday; one is white because most things look good on that except white recipes, like fettuccine,  for those I have a set of dark green.  Oh, and I have Spode Christmas dished that I have to use from Thanksgiving to New Years that I can mix and match with both the others. . . .I think I must have a touch of OCD.  If I could afford it and had room, I'd have more,  I see so many I like.  And serving dishes, way too many.

However, I do think that we eat with our eyes first.  If it doesn't look good, we may not try it.  I know that on more than one occasion I've told people, "It doesn't look very good, but it taste good", try it.  Or seen the face on one of my grandchildren when I gave the something they've never had.
Why? Because we know that they are judging the dish first.  I've been to many a pot luck or dinner on the grounds that some dishes went fast and others were not touched, unless the food was running out.  I don't know when or how I got this way.  I know for sure that my grandmother and mother did not worry about "presentation."  Well, maybe just a little if the biscuits burned or something like that.

Last year my huband and I went to Alaska on a Royal Carribean Cruise.  I brought back almost as many pictures of the food (maybe more) on the ship as I did pictures of the glaciers!  The presentation was unbelieveable.  The last night we were given a look at the things the staff can do with food.  (I'm looking for them and I'll post some when their located.) Awesome!! I'd love to learn some of their tricks.  Of course, most of it  would not be used in everyday cooking, however, for special occasions you would "wow" people.

I have bought myself some books on garnishes and food styling.  I've also bought some of those gadgets that you use to curl carrots or carve watermelons into vases, and so on, but I've not yet found a good reason to use them.  Now, I do. I have my daughters baby shower coming up in August.  I want to do most of the food myself.  And, of course, I want to "wow" the ladies.  It has to not only taste great but look great, too.  Oh, for this I also have a set of bunny dishes in pastel that I am using on the buffet.  Since I don't have much time to practice, tell me what are some of the favorites that you use when you are garnishing.  I have a few TNT but I'm sure that you have some you could share with us.  I have looked on AR, however, there is very little on Food Presentation or Food Styling.
Jul. 17, 2009 5:48 pm
Skunkee I have the same disorder where dishes are concerned. I have my mothers avacado green stoneware, which somehow is fashionable again, white dishes, and Christmas china also. I always used the Christmas stuff when I have set the Thanksgiving table because to me it's the official "kick off to the Christmas season". As far as garnishing and decorating can never go wrong with candles and flowers, Are you serving a punch? How about an ice ring with either edible flowers or fruit in it? Do you have some kind of theme? If you do, let us know and we'll be able to offer up some better suggestions rather than just a generic answer.
Jul. 17, 2009 6:49 pm
Yeah, flowers are always good. Nasturtiums, which are edilbe are great. I also use pansies (or Little Johnny Jump-ups) on plates. Sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme or even lavender are good for sprucing up a buffet. We keep a salt shaker filled with paprika on hand, put put a few shakes of that around the edge of a white plate for color.
Jul. 17, 2009 8:27 pm
Hi Skunkee! I love "pretty" food, too. I honestly feel like it just tastes better! People eat with their eyes first, whether they know it or not, and I actually learned that phrase when I worked in fast food, if you can believe that! LOL. I am a fan of simple garnishing myself. Just a few flowers for the table, or as far as dishes go, a sprig of rosemary is beautiful to me. I love your paprika idea! I also love to have a buffet set up in levels, it is easier to get to and a more interesting look. I'm sure your shower will turn out amazing!
Jul. 17, 2009 9:55 pm
I do agree with you Skunkee, If it's not pretty, I look around for garnish, even if it's celery tops and tomatoes.To make it look pretty. I know Carlos will eat it, I just want him to enjoy it first with his eye's! Can't wait to see Alaska through your camera!! Thanks for sharing! Patty
Jul. 18, 2009 5:57 am
Can't tell you how many times I finish cooking the meal, plate it and go "Dang, that's ugly" Tastes good, but the excitement is gone. Posted a beautiful carved watermelon in my pics yesterday (no, I didn't do it) Wish I had that kind of talent! Check it out.
Jul. 18, 2009 7:55 am
As Booschmoo said, use different levels for visual interest. In addition to flowers on the buffet table perhaps also add teddy bears, bunnies and blocks. Baby pictures of the parents to be in silver frames could also be fun. Adds a talking point as to what the new baby might look like.
Jul. 18, 2009 7:57 am
I saw the watermelon Chris is talking about! I would love to make one of those! I need more practice, though! I like simple garnishes as a general rule. If the food doesn't look like it's worth eating, then a garnish may not help! I agree that color, texture, and smell certainly all go into letting me decide if I want to try something. I like edible flowers as garnishes, but have never successfully made the sugared violets (or mint leaves). I think it makes a dessert look sloppy when a sauce is poured on in an op art arrangement! Presentation goes a long way toward making something look like you went the extra mile to make a dish special!
Jul. 18, 2009 3:34 pm
I do the same thing you do when planning a meal. It must be color balanced as well as nutritional and tasty. I've been told by various family members that I am way beyond OCD. I also tend to judge a restaurant as much on presentation as taste....I love edible flowers for garnishes, I usually try to color coordinate them with my table linens and decorations....To me it is a way of saying "I love you."
Jul. 20, 2009 6:12 pm
Try using an apple peeler on a bar of chocolate for some nice chocolate shavings - these look (and taste) great on just about any dessert, and is cheap to make to boot! ps - you may want to warm the chocolate bar in the microwave for <30 seconds before attempting to peel off some shavings, just be careful not to melt it!
Jul. 20, 2009 6:47 pm
The watermelon vase made me think about something an aunt did once. She cut off the end of a watermelon and used a melon baller to empty the contents, at the same time getting the melon balls for the occasion. Once the melon was empty, she rinsed out the inside and set the melon to the side. She made up some raw dough and put it aside for a few minutes. She rolled out the dough into stings about the thickness of a thumb. She made a small ring in the center of the plate and set the hollowed watermelon on its end on the dough. She used more rolled dough around the bottom of the dough to build it up and hold the melon upright. She then cut the opening on the top into a jagged tooth pattern just to dress it up a little. This part I'm not sure about: she either inserted a glass vase inside the melon or filled the melon with water. She then placed a bouquet of vividly colorful flowers in the melon. The dough base was used to hold greenery, carnations, and similar sturdy cut flowers in place to cover the bottom. This was the center piece used for summer parties and wedding and baby showers.
Jul. 20, 2009 8:31 pm
Yes, I eat with my eyes. It's like falling in love. That visually attraction comes first. Of course if it does not taste good, we won't go back for seconds. As for the colors of the food, if the colors coordinate, it is usually a balanced meal. Some red, green, yellow, (vegetable) white(starch) brown (protein)
Jul. 20, 2009 8:33 pm
and Skunkee, you can never have too many serving dishes! :)
Jul. 22, 2009 3:57 pm
I hosted a baby shower for a friend (on a tight budget nonetheless), a few years ago, and some of my ideas to pass along... 1. for the table, I did daisy's, and I used little clear gerber baby bottles as the vase - it was so cute. To dress up the bottle a bit, I bought blue gingham ribbon (she was having a boy) from a hobby store and tied them in bows around the bottles. 2. We had a luncheon, and we wanted simple fingerfoods, so we made chicken salad sandwiches on croissants, and we sliced up various fruits and put them on kabob sticks for easy serving. I know we had other side dishes as well, I just can't remember them. 3. For the cake, I made a triple layer cake I frosted white, and then I baked 2 cupcakes and placed them on the top of the cake. I hollowed out the tops of the cupcakes and then decorated them fancily with frosting to make them look like baby booties sitting on top of the cake. It turned out really adorable - I wish I had a picture to share. 4. I didn't have a lot of money for favors, so I bought white and light blue jelly beans, and placed them in a cellophane bag tied with blue gingham ribbon to hand out to the guests to thank them for coming.
Jul. 23, 2009 6:35 pm
I saw the cutest idea for watermelon at a baby shower once. You carve a watermelon into a little baby carriage and use halved grapefruit for the wheels. Also on the tables put little bowls of pastel colored m&m's for guests to snack on.
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I'm a Southen Girl, born and raised in GA. I've been married to the same man for 40 years. We met when I was 15, eloped when I was 16 and had a baby when I was 17. Despite the fact that we were teenagers when we married we beat the odds and stayed married. We have 2 other children and 6 grandchildren.
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