I know, I know, mums tasked with the job of cooking for biggish families every single day of their lives are probably rolling their eyes so hard right now they’re almost coming loose. It is indeed somewhat of a different story with children and perhaps even hubby, but presentation often proves that we do indeed eat with our eyes too.
It’s not so much about how the food looks in isolation, on a singular plate for example, but rather about how it looks when presented with the suggestion that it’s for a group of people who are going to enjoy it as part of a social ritual or event. If you walk into a buffet for example, not much effort is made to have the food looking like it was prepared by a gourmet chef, but there are some subtle visual cues which make it look like food you want to eat.
That mashed potato-well which has a bit of mash on the side, indicative of someone else having gone before you and put some on their plate, suggests that you should follow suit. The same goes for the beef pot which has a bit of gravy splattered down the side, seemingly crying out to meet the inner workings of the digestive system contained in someone’s gut!
You see this kind of psychological leverage used at restaurants as well, where on the menu they’d feature the biggest portions available to suggest that the bigger (and pricier) you go with what you order, the better experience you’ll have.
Presentation with regards to food is not always about how the food itself looks though. For example, there are some dining establishments which add a bit of ambience to the scene with some music perhaps, while others might put out fresh flowers or have the walls painted. All of these immediate environmental ornaments serve to add to the presentation of the food you’re going to eat and in some funny way it all adds up to make some kind of difference.
As much as we do indeed eat with our eyes as well, ultimately it is indeed about the taste. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your taste buds will outright reject food that doesn’t taste too good because some of the food we eat that doesn’t taste good is the healthiest of all foods. Think veggies, especially when you’re still a kid and your taste buds are still trying to find their place in the world.
However, it does make the whole experience that much more pleasurable if you make just as much effort with the presentation of the food as you do with the taste of the food. Thinking about something like those birthday gift baskets for her, all the tasty goodies contained almost look too good on the eye to be eaten. When she actually goes on to dig in then the whole experience is completed by the fact that it indulges more than one of her senses at the same time.