Friday, December 9, 2011

Simple Food, Beautiful Presentation

This is a topic that I often struggle with. A reader asked about  how I try to make something look beautiful on the table. I must give my mom credit, she has always presented food nicely even when it was just the family - no pots or pans on the table, table properly set etc. Here are a few tips I've learned over the years:

1) Choose the appropriate size of bowl or serving dish.

2) Use herbs to garnish - they are gorgeous and edible. Oh and I'm not talking about the diner piece of curly parsley on the side of the plate. :)

3) Think about the colors on the table and the colors of the food. I would put carrots in a white dish so the orange color pops but I would avoid putting mashed potatoes in white if possible.

4) Think outside the box - don't be limited by your bowls and plates. You can often stack, combine, or find different uses for what you already have.

5) Look for clearance or second hand dinnerware, serving pieces, and table clothes. It's always rewarding to find great deals that make your table beautiful.

6) Arrange the food. Take a minute and look at the dish - garnish, mound, fix.

7) When preparing a buffet, try to use various heights of dishes. You can easily but books or boxes underneath a cloth to raise regular dishes or you can use pedestal dishes.

In the first picture, I like the subtle color of the plate with the bright vegetables. In the second picture, even though the rice is white, the lentils really pop. I like the square dish and the way that the rice extended beyond the lentils - it frames the dish.

This square bowl is one of my favorites! The components of the salad look so pretty being towards the top.

While this isn't my favorite photo, it does show the different heights and the different ways I use dishes. I like to use simple dishes so the food is really the star. Most of the dishes on the table are dishes that we use everyday as well as for entertaining.

***Stay tuned - next week is devoted to Christmas goodies - especially chocolate! We will have new recipes for you every day!***

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