Sunday, November 7, 2010

It has to have curb appeal

I take my lunch to work, sometimes I even carry breakfast with me to work as well.  First I get "Let's see what Melissa has today' crowd as I enter the lounge area who look my lunch over with the expertise of experienced foodies.  They say one of two things "I don't see how you eat that" or "Do you really eat like that all the time?"  My choice.  My food. And 9 times of 10, yes I do eat like this all the time.

The floor crew later in the day get to experience my entree choices in all its colorful glory.  I get the following statements in one form or another "I can't eat like that."  Why not?  and "Wow!  That's a pretty lunch!"

Pretty?  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and presentation is everything when it comes to food.  It's something akin to selling a home.  If it has curb appeal it will sell. The same for food: If it appeals to your tastebuds then the food is sold. 

Your basic fried chicken dinner.  Smells good doesn't it?  It doesn't have a great deal of curb appeal, not a great deal of color under it or around it, unless you want to count that sea of white plate covered in gravy with matching white bowl.  You'll probably still eat it, but wish it wasn't so boring.

 Watermelon Feta Salad presented in a red bowl with a sea of green under it accented with black white and red ingredients.  That's how you create curb appeal for food.

If you're not sure how to create curb appeal for your food start with your dishes.  Really, not many people pay attention to what the food is on but how it is presented, but if you start out with something colorful and still serve boring food, the color is there.  If you're stuck with a plain white plate (because they go with everything right? ) then it's time to learn curb appeal and fast!

Green perks everything up in a heart beat.  Either put the food on a bed of baby spinach, or add a big sprig of parsely on the side.  Orange slices under the sprig of parsley or lemon wedges along side it amp up the color.

Need more color?

Try serving multi colored pasta instead of plain old elbow noodles. Purple potatoes instead of plain white potatoes.  The taste is the same, they're just a funny color. Brown and wild rice instead of plain old white rice. See where I'm going here? Variety is the spice of life and when food gets boring it's time to liven things up a bit!

Dress up a plain salad with whole or sliced radishes, baby carrots, and pitted black olives toss some herbed feta cheese over it, serve your dressing on the side because dressing covers up the pretty salad. Toss some unsalted sunflower seeds on the salad for a little extra crunch.

Multi colored sweet pepper rounds dress up sliced meat, chicken breasts, and salads.

Having traditional southern fare of  fried taters, pinto beans, greens and cornbread or poor man's dinner as I call it, (best dinner on earth as far as I'm concerned!)  Carmelize thinly sliced onions and spoon generously over the greens.  Add some diced sweet red peppers and drained black beans into the cornbread mix then cook it. Mix sweet potato fries with your white potatoes and bake them instead of frying them sprinkle with course ground pepper and sea salt.  Add drained black beans and drained white beans to your red pintos.  There you have a more eye appealing palate of food.

A coloful snack in our home consists of  roasted red pepper hummus (orangey red in color) and green sugar snap peas or garlic hummus (pale white) and baby carrots.

Even cereal and milk can be made more appealing by adding blueberries  or strawberries or rasperries. Not bananas they're not colorful, good for you, but not colorful.

Experiment.  Look at food magazines and websites.  Attend cooking shows.  Learn to make your food more appealing.  You won't have as many left overs and you'll find yourself buying more colorful  fruits and vegetables just to make your foods more appealing/pretty.  There's nothing more satsifying than hearing someone excalim "WOW! Your food is always so pretty and colorful!" 

Then watch it disappear. 

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