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meal presentation

just curious if anyone else spends much time preparing their food and presenting it beautifully? I mean, I don't feel I'm missing or depriving myself of anything when my food looks like something I'd get at a 5 star restaurant.

Eg. Breakfast this morning started out as scrambled eggs with peppers, onions, beef, cheese, and some spices. However, scrambled eggs never looks so appetizing to me. However, slice a tomato and spread it out along side the eggs on my plate, put two buttered ry vitas on the other side, sprig of parsely and two chives on top, and ta-da, it looks fab. So of course my mind has already suggested to my tastebuds this is going to be delectable.

Even when I take a lunch to work, I refuse to eat from tupperware containers- I eat off a plate. Period.

I absolutley think food is something to be enjoyed, but I think the point is to enjoy the good food, and ignore the rest of the junk that is passed off as food...

Wed. May 17, 2:22pm

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Right on.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006, 4:45 PM

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So true! I too am all about presentation, but should eat off of a plate at work-great suggestion. I remember one time I had a lean cuisine for lunch and decided to put it on a plate. I realized it was more food than I thought and enjoyed it so much more. Also, when I lived alone, I always took time to make my plate look like I was in a restaurant, even though it was just me. Love it :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006, 5:02 PM

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yup, enjoyment really is in the head. "Salad with chicken breast" doesn't sound half as good as leaf lettuce with grated carrots, diced tomatoes, sliced onion, minced peppers, and baby spinach with marinated and grilled chicken with almond oil/turmeric/parsley/chili/cayenne dressing"

Deprivation is in the mind. You're not depriving yourself of those cheetos, you're enjoying the amazing meal you created. I'd rather make a meal than micro one any day...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006, 11:29 PM

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and cheetos are disgusting anyway :)

Thursday, May 18, 2006, 12:30 AM

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Thursday, May 18, 2006, 12:45 AM

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I've definitely noticd this too. I never used to pay much attention to presentation and there are plenty of times when I still don't, but for many dishes I make the effort to make the food look as good as it tastes.

Terrific subject!

Thursday, May 18, 2006, 12:52 AM

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Anyone know a good book on "Food Presentation"?

Thursday, May 18, 2006, 1:06 AM

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Well - I don't know of a bok, but here are a few things I do...

1. Garnish - if you grow herbs some fresh cut chives, parsley, basil, mint or a sprig of rosemary looks lovely. Edible flowers include violets, nasturtium, roses and begonias (there are plenty more, but make sure they are pesticide free). Almost any veggie or fruit can be sliced or julienned into elegance - just reserve a bit of whatever you're preparing and add to the top when done or add a contrasting color or tangy flavor for just a bit of emphasis.

2. Served on a bed of.... sauteed swiss chard or spinach are two of my faves - they make a deep green bed that really acentuates fish or poultry. Pasta or rice works well and you can spred it out to make a smaller serving look like much more than it is (once you start eating you won't miss the extra). I also like coarsely chopped tomatoe tossed briefly in a pan with balsamic and basil marinade (doesn't take a lot, the tomatoes are natually juicy).

3. Dishes - a dish can go far in making something look either elegant or insignifigant. Nothing looks more incredible that a slice of chocolate tart with rasberry sauce on a elegant bone-white plate, and a chopped salad in a rustic, old-world bowl looks much heartier than it would in a plain bowl. However nothing looks more pathetic than a 1/2 cup of rice in the bottom of an oversived 'cereal' bowl even if it's more than enough to satisfy! Try to match the dish to the serving and you will be surprised by how your often your eyes tell your stomach you should still be hungry. A scoop of rasberry sorbet in a small, frosted metal sunday dish with a ginger snap and a sprig of mint looks and tastes like the refreshing treat it is.

You can get a variety of nice, inexpensive and fun dishes at places like Tues Morning, Ross and Goodwill. I love to have a few of this and a few of that and mix 'n match for company :-) Plus if something gets broken it doesn't ruin my 'set'.

I think quite a few cookboks have sections on presentation, but I haven't specifically looked for a book on that subject. Generally I just try to emulate my favorite restaurants.

Thursday, May 18, 2006, 5:06 PM

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also go for color- make sure you have color on your plate. 2 great reasons: color looks good, and color usually means more veggies :) Eg. while I like eating sweet potatoes, I wouldn't serve them with a side of carrots. I won't have apsaragus and peas on the same plate. Vegetable medleys are great too. Especially when it's bbq season now- yay for kabobs.

Put veggies in rice or in pasta. I love minced peppers and a little wild rice mixed in with my brown. So pretty. If you're using a white sauce on pasta, use some spinach pasta.

Thursday, May 18, 2006, 9:31 PM

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