One thing I’ve noticed on my recent jaunts on Pinterest is that other people’s dishes look so beautiful! Vibrant bursts of color in a simple Israeli salad of chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. The bold red of ripe strawberries that will never show the typical signs of decay, because they have been slow-baked into a delicious snack. The functional presentation of a pork and vegetable melange served in hollowed-out eggplant halves. I’m sure some of the artistry is for the composition of the photos, but it makes me look at my own drab winter plates with envy.
Yesterday, I reclaimed a bit of the art for myself, assembling a plate of leftovers from a function at work. Alongside the stuffed chicken breast half and meatball I had, I loaded up on grilled vegetables–large chunks of yellow and green zucchini and carrots, asparagus, and one of my favorites, grilled eggplant. The brightness of the vegetables were muted a bit by the stripes from their turn on the grill, but it was infinitely more aesthetically pleasing than dumping some steamed broccoli out of a microwaveable bag into a Tupperware container.
Seeing others’ meals, and having a few moments of Zen (word to Jon Stewart) looking at the salads I ate in January make me long for more times when I can stare at a plate with same intense admiration and awe that Matthew Broderick had when looking at the hanging picture in his recent Ferris Bueller-spoofing Superbowl ad.
Being able to behold the beauty of a meal also means not scarfing it down in five minutes flat. My day can hurtle along at warp speed sometimes; I think I need to find better ways to carve out some moments of solitude and focus just on the food. (Sorry, Big Bang Theory and HTC Amaze…)
Another idea I have, from a book that I haven’t finished yet, is to make the meal accoutrements more appealing as well. Marianne Williamson recommends in A Course in Weight Loss to pick out special flatware, plates and glasses for eating your meals, so the experience is more pleasant and memorable, and shows more respect for you meeting your daily nutrition needs, rather than just scarfing down something portable and moving on to putting out the next fire in your life. Others talk about consciously eating; this shoots for the same goal of allowing yourself to fully experience the food.
I tend to ignore doing these things a lot, but I think they would be helpful. This weekend, I think I’ll be envisioning my kitchen as an art studio!
Are you creative with food, or just eating whatever you can get your hands on to keep hunger at bay? If you put some thought into the aesthetics of your food, how do you go about doing that? Drop a line in the comments.