It has long been said that we eat with our eyes first and our mouths second. And while this isn’t technically true, as your eyes literally cannot eat at all, it’s obvious that the message is clear – we’re much more willing to eat attractive food.
Let’s face it: a cheeseburger glistening with grease and adorned with bacon is attractive. It’s far more appealing to the eye than a bowl of brown rice with chick peas. Ice cream loaded down with caramel sauce and sprinkles bests a banana any day of the week in the looks department.
And whether this is induced through advertising or a natural reaction our bodies have to the more sinful offerings, one thing is for certain – people are not going to eat food that doesn’t visually appeal to them.
Knowing how to make food look more attractive is how these big companies sell. And knowing how to make food more appealing is how you can overcome your distaste for healthy ingredients and start to get on track by living a better lifestyle.
As you’ll see in most highbrow restaurants, the plating of a dish is one of the most crucial aspects of its success or failure. There are a few reasons restaurants do this. One, of course, is to earn high marks for attractive appeal. But the other is more sinister: restaurants use fancy plating to detract from the smaller portion size.
This is a trick you can work on at home as a means to more than one end.
Picking up colorful plates with various shapes (think oval, square, triangle, etc, instead of simply circle) can help make any dish look that much better when served on it. And a great plate design will actually make smaller portions seem like bigger portions, and you’ll eat less food.
Not to say that fruits and veggies aren’t tasty by themselves, but for most of us they’re simply secondary to the main course – meat. For a more appealing take on fruits and vegetables, try slicing them into fancy patterns.
You can find plenty of books out there that show you how a simple paring knife and some practice can turn cherry tomatoes into flowers, watermelon into artful sculptures, and even how to turn basic lettuce into a mouth-watering edible plate garnish.
As proven by billions of dollars worth of annual advertising, there’s something about grill marks that make us attracted to food. Whether it’s the signal that this food is fresh and tasty, or whether it’s just the fact we know grilling = browning and browning (the Maillard reaction) = flavor, grill marks are a sure-fire way to make food look attractive.
Now, you don’t have to purchase a huge grill for this. A simple and inexpensive griddle insert for your home stove can turn things like apples, peaches, pineapples, melons, lettuce/cabbage, etc, into great-looking treats with a few grill marks and a huge punch of that grilled flavor.
These three tips simply cover the basics on how to make your food look more appealing. How it’s presented when it’s finished will tell the tale. But for the best results, pay attention to how you’re slicing your food, how you’re cooking it and how you’re plating it.