You’ve likely heard the adage that we eat with our eyes. If not, know this – it’s true, and there’s scientific fact to back it up. The visual impact of your party food recipes can greatly impact your guests enjoyment of what they’re eating.
The concept of visuals playing a role in our food attraction dates back to the days when early man first developed better vision and memory. That, combined with walking upright allowed people to survey the available food sources, select safe and tasty foods based on color, and to remember and associate positive experiences with certain foods.
Things haven’t changed much. Today, people enter a party, scan the table and look for familiar, or appealing party food recipes. Those recipes have been created based on the knowledge of certain flavors and colors that signal not only safe, but tasty foods that beckon to diners everywhere.
Researchers in Switzerland conducted testing using electro-gustometry (EGM) and electro- electroencephalography (EEG) to introduce certain flavors and then read people’s brains after viewing photos of various foods. The results showed that after viewing pictures of high-calorie foods, people’s perception of tastes delivered on their tongue via EGM were more enjoyable than perceptions of the same tastes after looking at photos of lower calorie foods.
So, does that mean we should all be serving party food recipes loaded with calories? Not necessarily. But there is something to be said for making healthier, lower calorie dishes that look like their higher calorie counter-parts. Yes, we are advocating tricking your guests in order to receive rave reviews.
It doesn’t stop there. Color also works in food much as it does in decorating, or in art. Bright, beautiful colors in food are more appealing than a greyish-brown mass of slop, no matter how tasty the slop may be. First impressions count. Complimentary colors signal something positive in people’s brains. Close your eyes and picture a plate of green, red, orange, and purple fresh-looking food. You’re mouth is watering, right?
The art of display
Presentation of your party food recipes enhances the visual impact of the food itself. The hospitality industry teaches courses on the plating of food, and among the recommendations is that food is cooked and cut correctly, the edges of the plate be clean and presentable, and that artistic flare be used.
So select visually pleasing party food recipes, consider color, and by all means get creative with presentation. Use garnishes, shapes, and arrangement to draw in your guests and give them the culinary experience their brains, eyes, tongue, and stomach craves.