Is presentation really important

@Myrrdin (3601)
Canada
March 22, 2007 1:04pm CST
When preparing a meal do you care if it looks pretty? Why or why not? Personally I could never be a chef I can't stand all the emphasis placed on making the meal look beautiful. To me cooking is more about tastes than how it looks. Now I am not saying that I put a bunch of grey mush down as a meal, but I am not going to go out of my way to make a meal look beautiful when I could just put it on the plate and let the flavours speak for themselves.
10 people like this
39 responses
@JennyLeah (190)
• United States
23 Mar 07
Well, studies have shown that when you eat, you actually use all 5 of your senses. Taste is the most obvious of the bunch, but how things taste rely heavily on how they smell. When you have a really bad head cold and can barely breathe, food just isn't as appetizing, is it? It's also well known that if you hold your nose as you're about to take a bite of food, the taste is considerably more bland than when you don't. You can test this yourself if you're unsure. Further to that, your enjoyment of a meal depends in part on the feel of it in your mouth. Is it greasy and slimy? Then it probably doesn't taste as good, does it? What about crisp and flaky and melt in your mouth? Good, right? The least obvious sense that you're using when you sit down to a meal is your sense of hearing. But think about it a little bit and it's not too far out there. The crunch of a crisp piece of lettuce in a salad is appealing. The sizzle of the plate when you're having fajitas in a restaurant adds to your enjoyment. And how do you suppose you'd feel about a carrot that you could hear squish when you bit into it rather than crunch? Finally, we do eat with our eyes. Just starting with the colors alone, if a strawberry's turned black, how do you think it's going to taste? And when apples turn brown, even though we KNOW they don't taste any different once they start to oxidize, we just don't want them anymore, do we? Which brings us to presentation. It's natural to prefer eating foods that look nice. No one will deny that this can be hard work sometimes, and even - occasionally - superfluous. If you're only preparing a meal for your family, then in terms of presentation, simple and straightforward isn't necessarily less pretty than say an elaborate plate at a five-star restaurant. A plate of spaghetti doesn't really need a lot of dressing up to look pretty. Or good. But I bet more often than not, the natural inclination is to serve it as a plateful of noodles with the sauce on top, rather than all mixed up. Why? Because it looks nicer and more appetizing that way. It still tastes the same, but on an entirely subconscious level, you're paying attention to presentation. If you were real fussed about it, you might sprinkle some shredded parmesan cheese on top and edge the plate with some basil or oregano and a small tomato dice, but that's going an extra mile because it already looks pretty. So yeah, I guess to me, presentation matters. In general, I don't make a fuss of it. For holidays or parties I might put a little bit more work into it, like hollowing out a loaf of sourdough for a salad instead of using a bowl and toasting up the innards of the bread as croutons instead of taking those out of a box. But for everyday it's whatever most easily suits the food, which usually is attractive in its own right. For a London Broil, I'll slice the meat on the bias because it's easier to chew and put it on a platter so people can serve themselves - that it's pretty is a happy coincidence. In the spaghetti example above, I ladle the sauce directly onto the noodles on the plate. It's easier on me and looks nicer too. For tacos, I set all the different elements in plates or bowls of their own with serving spoons. It looks nice on the table, and people can serve themselves for the convenience factor. If I were serving tacos for a party or whatever, I'd probably go the extra mile and put a colorful runner down on a buffet table and use brightly colored bowls instead - same general look, a little bit dressed up, and decidedly more enjoyable on some level. The flavors always speak for themselves. It's entirely psychological the way the other senses affect a meal. But I can't and won't deny the impact they have on the overall enjoyment of a good meal.
@Talha22 (384)
• Pakistan
23 Mar 07
well answer i really appriciate your thoughts and your way of writing. I am gonna rate you post
1 person likes this
@Talha22 (384)
• Pakistan
23 Mar 07
well i want to ask how much time does it take to write such a small article
1 person likes this
@Myrrdin (3601)
• Canada
23 Mar 07
Wow, quite a response, definately worthy of the best response. Well thought out and excellent points. I do tend to put a little more thought into presentation when I am cooking for a dinner party then when I cook for my daughter, but none the less I don't spend alot of time and thought even then.
• United States
23 Mar 07
I enjoy it when my meal is not only apetising but also looks nice I dont just want a plate of stuff laid in front of me to me presentation is important but then thats just my oppinion and every one has one!
2 people like this
@lightningMD (5932)
• United States
23 Mar 07
i love to cook..but more wholesome foods than fancy...i love trying new recipes especially deserts...i really dont care for the expensive fancy fare....
2 people like this
• United States
22 Mar 07
I wish I could place a meal down without looking good. I have so many picky eaters in my family if I don't make it look pretty they won't touch it, not to say that I place garnish on the plate but I do try to pick meals that look good when finished. The funniest meal I ever made was a family favorite of mine called Baked Tamale Pie, kind of casserole dish, I presented to my family and no one wanted to eat saying that they never heard of Tamales having cornbread or corn in it, needless to say they smelled the food and then took a bite, well by the end of the evening it was all gone and they were begging for more. So it is not always on how it is presented by the taste is very important too~!
1 person likes this
@Myrrdin (3601)
• Canada
22 Mar 07
Oh I made baked tamale pie, it went over like a lead balloon at my house though.... I loved it, my daughter decided she didn't and my wife didn't bother eating it either.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Mar 07
My family loved the Tamale Pie so much they asked for more a few days later and it has become a favorite of there, although the presentation on this one is less than desireable for most.
1 person likes this
• India
23 Mar 07
Yes ofcourse coz its a normal human tendency to get attracted to something that looks good ...... hmmmm a good garnish can make an average meal ever so delicious
1 person likes this
@Myrrdin (3601)
• Canada
23 Mar 07
But how does a good garnish do that exactly? A sprig of parsley does not alter the flavour of a properly made spaghetti sauce one bit.
@mschiqui (1284)
• Philippines
23 Mar 07
For me, presentation does matter..Cause it can help to invite eaters to eat...If they see that it is beautifully prepared then, they will crave for it to eat already..So good presentation plus good taste, makes a very delightful meal.
• India
23 Mar 07
yaa that's right..good presentation plus good taste, makes a delightful meal... I love to make food which is good in taste as well as look..
1 person likes this
@brimia (6584)
• United States
22 Mar 07
When I eat out I like it to look appetizing but certainly not too pretty to eat. When I cook at home, I don't care what it looks like.
1 person likes this
@Talha22 (384)
• Pakistan
23 Mar 07
then i may think that you imagination are not creative you dont think of creating new things you keep on following old techniqes and ideas please dont mind as i have guessed your personality from your answer.
1 person likes this
@KarenO52 (2951)
• United States
23 Mar 07
I really don't care if it looks pretty, and my family doesn't either. What matters is the taste. Most of the time, the food turns out looking good anyway without really trying. I've always thought it was kind of funny when we go to a fancy restaurant where they decorate the plate by putting a squigle of sauce and layering things and then putting a decorative dollop of something on top. It tastes ok, but nothing special.
1 person likes this
@franxexces (1096)
• Philippines
23 Mar 07
Although the taste is what matters the most the presentation is also important since what is appealing to the senses is also appealing to the taste. When your presentaion is good people would be attracted to the food especially when it's for sale or when you watch cooking shows you would try following the recipe if you find the meal attractive. If your presentation is not that good people will not patronize the food you prepare taht much. Oh except when they're really hungry.
1 person likes this
@asad898 (56)
• Pakistan
23 Mar 07
yeah , if aint pretty than its aint worth eating
1 person likes this
@anne_143god (5390)
• Philippines
23 Mar 07
For me the presentation is also important in preparing a food for it makes a food more delicious and attractive so if I'm preparing a food I want it to be looks good. Ofcourse it also should be tasted good also.
• India
23 Mar 07
Well presentation is not very important but it adds to the unconventional flavour to the dish.If presentation is good then you feel good about the dish whether it is good or bad in taste.I think sometimes a bad cook might get away like that.Its just psychological.If the meal is good in taste than it is surely gonna be eaten in plenty but if it has a presentation attached to it,then its awesome. Well its like this....If you know about a particular topic very well but you are not able to explain it to others or rather present in a way that others could understand.then your study is of no use....i think you got my point.Being a good cook is good but not enough.So presentation is also important.
1 person likes this
@lingli_78 (12844)
• Australia
23 Mar 07
not at all... i care more about the taste rather than how i present the food... luckily, my hubby also think the same way as i do... so, i never bother to decorate my food... anyway, the food will go down into our stomach in a matter of minutes and we won't see them again... so, what's the use of wasting so much time to decorate them??? am i right???
1 person likes this
• Bulgaria
23 Mar 07
Yes , I always care how the meal looks like, because by the way it looks it can awaken the apetite to others. It's a 'must' to look delicious. My father and brother loves my meals because I always prepare them to look fabilous and extremely delicious. Now the flavoures will speak later. It's the same thing as 'why should we look good?'. It's obvious! Remember this and try it. It will make a difference - as I always say.
• India
23 Mar 07
Presentation is not important in cooking. But this is importan tin other things. But the food should be tasty not the presentation.
1 person likes this
@anup12 (4180)
• India
23 Mar 07
Yes I think it is important in the way you present it and it becomes importnat also.
1 person likes this
• New Zealand
23 Mar 07
Ha!Ilove eating and cooking too but when it comes to serving i am at a complete loss.What the heck the taste aroma speaks all.I even hate to pile up food on plate i bring the pan on the table but that dosent happen that way always. One must see how i pile up my food as i have rice with a liquid i just mix it and it looks like a porridge.How people hate to sit next to me at home ha i dont care i do what i think is best.
@joy1982 (226)
• Philippines
23 Mar 07
yes the presentation adds the attraction of the people who will eat.. like for example if you can see food thats not look pretty and you dont like the color or anything the person who will eat thinks that it might not be delicious so i will not eat that especially when you dont know the name of the food..
1 person likes this
23 Mar 07
ya presentation is really important and if we present well then we must get some +ve view from the viewer
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Mar 07
I think presentation is important. For me it makes the meal more appetizing. I know it taste the same either way but I like my plate to look pretty.
1 person likes this