French Ways to Eat for Pleasure and Good Health: Presentation
Some of us “Eat to Live”, others “Live to Eat,” but whatever category you put yourself in, let’s face it: if food looks unappetizing it will probably taste that way too. Likewise, if your meal looks delicious, high chances your palate will agree with your eyes. Presentation of your meal is as important as taste. Once we appreciate this, just a small touch of color, sauce, texture or herbs will add that extra mark to move your meal from an “Eat to Live” dish to a “Live to Eat” dish.
The French have this concept ingrained in their culture. Pleasure eating in France includes pleasure to the eyes. Eating well also means enjoying a meal that looks good. This is why I have included presentation of a meal as the eighth way on the list of French ways to eat for pleasure and good health. Presentation of food and the meal is a real key part of pleasure eating. Eating food that looks good will help you leave the table with your brain, mouth and eyes satisfied!
From The Village Bistro to The Parisian Gourmet Restaurant , Appearance is an Art
What is striking when traveling and eating in France is this art of food appearance. You could expect this any 4 star restaurant all over the world, but here even the smallest bistro adds this special touch to every plate it serves. Order a simple lunch of “steak haché et frites” (hamburger without the bun and french fries) and what is served is crispy hot fries, a reddened piece of meat (ask for “bien cuit” or “well done” if you don’t like your meat raw), and a salad on the side, glistening with a homemade vinaigrette and slivers of parsley rained on top. Even kids get the royal presentation. They need their food to look appetizing too. Here is a picture of my son’s lunch (he ordered the kid’s meal) served at a small restaurant a couple of month’s ago: yes, the kid’s lunch…hamburger, fries and salad (with drink and dessert) all for about 7 euros (9 dollars) :
Doesn’t that look appetizing? Notice the small amount of red tomato sauce in the top left corner. That is a type of Basque “piperade”, a slightly spicy tomato sauce that kids can enjoy instead of ketchup. Why does this meal look good? Mix of colors: green, yellow, red and brown. Served on a thick square white plate. A shiny homemade vinaigrette on the salad. Even the hamburger looks hand-formed, like it came from a real piece of meat. This is good food that any person from a child to an adult would find delicious to eat!
Easy Ways to Add A Magnificent Presentation to Any Meal
Here are some tips stolen from various eating experiences; from the privilege of eating in wonderful homes of family, friends and all types of restaurants around Europe and the States. These are ways to quickly and simply add a special touch to any dish thus moving your meal from “Eat to Live” to “Live to Eat” food:
- Color At least 2 colors on every plate
- Texture Mixing textures
- Herbs A sprinkle of herbs
- Shine Using oils for look and taste
- Plate Food served on plates with fun shapes and unique colors.
- Lighting Bright enough but not too much
- Sauce If serving a sauce, swirl delicately on side of plate and on food
Using one or two of the above ways for your meals helps to move your food presentation from a regular dish to a simply pleasurable meal. What are your ideas? Do you agree that appearance of the food or how it is served has a large impact on the taste of the meal? There are days that my kids could care less about what their lunch looks like-they are ravenous and just eat. For those other days, whether you are a kid or adult, when your food looks good it will usually taste good. Bon Appetit