TASTING WITH THE EYES...dressing it up for the holidays!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Posted by Deeba PAB

Colour & looks, basically presentation, play a crucial role in the taste and perception of food. Alongside flavor and texture, color & presentation are considered by to be a major quality factor of food. In fact, the combination just might play the most important role. “If you don’t have the color right, I think you can forget about the other two,” says Jack Francis, food scientist at the University of Massachusetts. “If it isn’t the color you expect it to be, you don’t like it." In his book Fast Food Nation, journalist Eric Schlosser mentions a study conducted in the 1970s that found the color of food had a great effect on people’s appetites. Presentation as a whole changes the way the mind perceives food, & affects our association with food.

Let's dress stuff up...
It's the holiday season & here are a few fun & simple ideas to make food look special. I find these special touches exciting & therapeutic...they seem to give food & 'mood' an instant lift!
Things you can keep/make in advance:
  • Chocolate leaves/scrolls/shavings/strings
  • Chocolate designs piped out & set on parchment paper, & stored in a cool place
  • Crystallise edible flowers & leaves
  • Coffee beans, jelly beans, Smarties/MnM's
  • Silver leaves, metallic edible silver/golden dragees
  • Slivered pistachio & almonds, roasted sunflower seeds, sesame seeds etc
  • Themed sprinkles
  • Coloured/sanding sugar
  • Marzipan

Things to keep in mind:

  • Use the colour wheel if you need help to tie in a holiday theme.
  • A dusting of cocoa/powdered sugar/cinnamon powder are a beautiful way to cover flaws.
  • Put different chocolates in baggies/ziplocs (dark, milk, white) microwave in 30 second intervals. Once melted uniformly, just snip off an end, & drizzle different colours.
  • While the chocolate is still wet, you can sprinkle slivered almonds/pistachios, or 100's & 1000's etc.
  • A simple icing for sugar cookies is adding just enough water/extract/lime juice to powdered sugar to get a thick flowing consistency. Colour this (in different bowls if you want different colours), & pipe this on to the cookies. While the icing is wet, you can add dragees/sprinkles to it. I find that sugar cookies take to this sort of icing the best. Leave overnight on racks to dry. If they are not 100% crisp the next day, pop them into a medium oven for 2-3 minutes.
  • If you want to tie in colours, add some colour to the white melted chocolate & either spread out on a cold surface & flake; or drizzle over out of a snipped baggie.
  • If you choose to garnish with fresh fruit/leaves, don't do it more than 2 hours in advance.
  • A swirl of cream gives soup or even a caramel custard a new look. Add fresh coriander (for savoury) or fresh mint...just a tiny sprig makes a difference!
  • If you are gifting home-made stuff, try & colour coordinate the packing too. The possibilities are endless...

Have a good & colourful holiday season...

This Post was written by Deeba

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That is an absolutely beautiful, colorful and helpful article for the coming holidays Deeba! so many wonderful ideas to choose from! thanks so much girl:) I've worked with chocolate, sprinkles and candied flowers before, and I'm ready to try some new things this year!:)

Mansi said...
November 11, 2008 at 7:13:00 PM GMT+1  

Oh Deeba! I really love this article. I too so believe you eat with your eyes first! A lovely article!

Meeta K. Wolff said...
November 19, 2008 at 10:09:00 PM GMT+1  

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