Sunday, January 18, 2009

Some notes on cooking

Presentation makes a huge difference. Eating a meal that looks beautiful will leave you much more satisfied and much less inclined to over-eat. things that matter a lot for presentation are good knifework (cut things consistently), good stove skills (most people have these--just don't mash up the food while cooking it), and good serving skills. Having a set of nice bowls that are interesting shapes (I like square bowls and plates) makes the food look way nicer. Food should have enough room to breathe in its bowl or plate; there should be some room on the outside of it, uncontaminated by the sauce. You can be creative with presentation in simple ways. For instance, I acquired a set of frosted colored bowls that are great for serving fruit. Mango looks particularly nice with the blue bowl; strawberries look very good with the light green bowl.

In a similar vein, the bowls you choose determine how you eat. I like serving the food in larger bowls and plates and having small (some would say tiny) bowls and plates for each person: this helps me eat slowly and eat a reasonable amount of food while feeling like I've had a feast.

Of course, the cooking matters a lot, too. :) I have found it important to be attentive to detail (wash vegetables thoroughly; throw out parts of things that are less fresh; be careful with knifework) and to err on the side of too few ingredients rather than too many when uncertain about a recipe.

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