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emhahn

3 Most Important Elements of a Plate...

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Why else would a restaurant go through the effort of 'unveiling' all the dishes on a table at once?

For a number of alternative, potential reasons. Examples: (1) to preserve any temperature effects, including during a lengthier walk from the kitchen to the dining room in some places or in connection with dishes being ready at slightly different times (in lieu of salamander, spelling), (2) the simultaneous serving might facilitate diners finishing together and reduce the change of a diner having to wait for another diner (although that happens anyhow), (3) historical habit, in connection with certain types of service, and (4) to concentrate any aroma effects, depending on the dish. :hmmm:

Lack of experience/appreciation with respect to cuisine can lead people to accept the response of other diners, but that's as much a social/socio-cultural phenomenon (e.g., group dynamics, concern about humiliation) than a visual-effects-related one, no?


Edited by cabrales (log)

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Well, if presentation doesn't include whether something is placed on top of another thing, or beside it, then what does it refer to?

A good example would be "a ceramic egg holder depciting spring colors and a little yellow chick." It may change a person's experience of a dish, but it doesn't change the taste of the food.

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Does Andy pour ketchup over his food before tasting it? Just asking. My dad used to.

I'm reminded again of one of my favorite Shaw lines, which I won't quote correctly: where he's talking about a dish at Bid (late, lamented) where your angle of approach could make for some interesting forkfuls. Because I agree that the way the food is plated opens up and closes down various gustatory possibilities. Whether that's best described as a presentational or culinary factor is a question upon which I am agnostic.

Note also that presentation does not necessarily mean "artistic" or "artful" presentation. The blessed Fergus Henderson has a deliberate, wilfully non-fussy approach to plating, which is consistent with the overall conception of his cuisine (as I explained to him in his Q&A :laugh: ).

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I agree that the way the food is plated opens up and closes down various gustatory possibilities.

Me too. The rest is semantics. But you agree that the little yellow chicks on the egg cups don't mean shit, right?

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Steven -- Attempting to focus on an example is not going to relieve you of the necessity of defining what is the 'presentation' that you believe is irrelevant to taste. :laugh:

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Well, if presentation doesn't include whether something is placed on top of another thing, or beside it, then what does it refer to?

A good example would be "a ceramic egg holder depciting spring colors and a little yellow chick." It may change a person's experience of a dish, but it doesn't change the taste of the food.

No, but it makes a great souvenir.

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I agree that the way the food is plated opens up and closes down various gustatory possibilities.

Me too. The rest is semantics. But you agree that the little yellow chicks on the egg cups don't mean shit, right?

I disagree with Steven and agree with cabrales on this one.

Taste can have more to do with just what goes on in the taste buds. I think it can have a strong psychological component to it, and the other senses all play a part. These are strong examples, but to make the point... say for instance one is having a delicious meal, while watching (seeing) something particularly gruesome at the same time. Does that affect the taste? I say yes. Say one is eating something delicious while at the same time hearing someone being tortured. Would that affect the way the food tastes to you, I say yes. Same with smell... if you are eating something delicious while at the same time there is a terrible odor of something rotting next to you, would that affect the way your delicious meal tastes? Yes. Nothing in the food has changed, but ones other senses and what goes on psychologically in your head will affect the way the food tastes.... both positively and negatively.

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No, but it makes a great souvenir.

Only for those diners whose integrity is worth less than the cost/effort of locating a similar eggholder themselves and purchasing it (or of asking the restaurant where the egg-holder can be procured). :hmmm:

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integrity:

Moral soundness; honesty; freedom from corrupting influence or motive; -- used especially with reference to the fulfillment of contracts, the discharge of agencies, trusts, and the like; uprightness; rectitude.

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Taste can have more to do with just what goes on in the taste buds.

Again, semantics. Yes, if taste includes perception of taste, all sorts of things other than actual taste can affect it. But surely you don't think the food is actually changed by these externalities?

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No, but it makes a great souvenir.

Only for those diners whose integrity is worth less than the cost/effort of locating a similar eggholder themselves and purchasing it (or of asking the restaurant where the egg-holder can be procured). :hmmm:

humour

/"hju:m/ (US humor) noun 1 quality of being amusing. 2 expression of humour in literature etc. 3 (in full sense of humour) ability to perceive or express humour. 4 state of mind; mood. 5 each of 4 fluids formerly held to determine physical and mental qualities. verb gratify or indulge (person, taste, etc.). humourless adjective.

·noun 1absurdity, comedy, drollness, facetiousness, incongruity, jocularity, waggishness, wittiness. 2badinage, banter, comedy, irony, jesting, jokes, joking, merriment, quips, raillery, repartee, satire, wit, witticism. 3fun, sense of fun. 4disposition, frame of mind, mood, spirits, state of mind, temper.

Copyright Oxford University Press, 2002

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Freedom: 1. The condition of being free of restraints. 2. Liberty of the person from ... detention or oppression. 3a. Political independence. b. Possession of civil rights; immunity from the arbitrary exercise of authority. 4. Exemption from an unpleasant or onerous condition. 5. The capacity to exercise choice; free will. 6. Ease or facility of movement. 7. Frankness and boldness; lack of modesty or reserve. 8.a. The right to unrestricted use; full access. b. The right of enjoying all the privileges of membership or citizenship.

Syns: freedom, liberty, license. These nouns refer to the power to act, speak or think without externally imposed restraints...

The American Heritage College Dictionary

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Taste can have more to do with just what goes on in the taste buds.

Again, semantics. Yes, if taste includes perception of taste, all sorts of things other than actual taste can affect it. But surely you don't think the food is actually changed by these externalities?

The fact that the food itself has not changed is not relevant to the way the food tastes, because of the psychological component that goes along with it. Unless you are talking scientifically molecule for molecule. But eating and tasting is not a scientific experience, it's a sensual one. And sensual experiences involve all of the senses. :wink:

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Freedom: 1. The condition of being free of restraints. 2. Liberty of the person from ... detention or oppression.  3a. Political independence. b. Possession of civil rights; immunity from the arbitrary exercise of authority. 4. Exemption from an unpleasant or onerous condition. 5. The capacity to exercise choice; free will. 6. Ease or facility of movement. 7. Frankness and boldness; lack of modesty or reserve. 8.a. The right to unrestricted use; full access. b. The right of enjoying all the privileges of membership or citizenship.

Syns: freedom, liberty, license. These nouns refer to the power to act, speak or think without externally imposed restraints...

The American Heritage College Dictionary

Right on! Power to the people! Fight for the freedom to have a sense of humor.

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Unless you are talking scientifically molecule for molecule.

I am, which is why I said "if by taste we are referring to the objective, physical reality of food." If we're referring to something else, fine -- but again I think it's a semantic distinction. If we agree on the definitions (and there seem to be lots of definitions here today) there's no disagreement.

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Actually, it's by no means obvious that the taste of food is a function of the food's physical and chemical properties alone. As with heat, while the disposition of an object's molecules is clearly relevant to its temperature, what feels to hot to one person will feel cold to another. Similarly, the state of an individual's organs of taste and olfaction influence how food will taste to them, and thus one can readily imagine what tastes sweet to one person tasting bitter to another.

We could have a debate about which is the "true" taste; personally, I think that - as with the temperature example - one simply has to stipulate whether one is talking about a disposition of molecules or a sensation experienced by specific individuals. However, to the extent that the state of an individual's organs affects how something tastes to them, then unless we dismiss the possibility of psychology influencing that state, Blue Heron's hypothesis is not obviously false.

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I have eaten meals at wonderful restaurants when I have had a terrible cold more than once. Nose and taste gone - yet from the look of the food you can often still get the sensation of a fine dining experience. Perhaps this is just a function of being able to recall memories of other meals.

Honest I did not steal the egg holder.


Edited by Craig Camp (log)

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