Why is it that presentation is so important? Because if we like the way food looks on a plate, we tend to enjoy it more. It’s about the art of appearance. Why do you think there are so many cooking shows? Thousands of recipe blogs? Where would Pinterest be without food posts? Think about it – if we put vegetables and meat and starch on our plates and the colour was all the same, why bother putting your fork in it? Dogs may eat kibble and their own barf, but people don’t. Mind you, that ‘get disgusted by food’ approach might work as a diet plan – only serve things that make you want to puke. I wonder if I could make a gazillion dollars and then hire my own gourmet chef?
I find that the less I eat during a meal, the more flavour I want. That four ounces of grilled chicken better taste of garlic and smoke and deep-down goodness. I can manage a baked potato without sour cream, but don’t take away my teaspoon of butter and the sprinkle of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Ditto for a bowl of steamed broccoli. I know that air-popped popcorn is virtuous. I fill a Pyrex bowl with a handful or bulk popcorn, slip on a plastic lid and fire up the microwave for five minutes. But if you think I’m chowing down on that bowl of dry kernels, you’d be wrong. I can pass on the glass of wine with dinner but dammit, I’m melting a tablespoon of butter and drizzling it on that big bowl of popcorn with sea salt.
After four months, I’ve become accustomed to smaller portions, less wine, more vegetables and fruit, fruit, fruit. I’m a baker, though, so I still make muffins from scratch – mini banana, chocolate chip – and cookies. My limit is two now instead of three or four. That’s a step in the right direction. I’m quasi virtuous most of the time so that I don’t get all grumpy and pissed off at having to go without.
Giving up every taste pleasure – yes, especially fat – would be self-defeating. Bacon still rules. Chocolate is a food group. I’m getting to know my triggers as well as my limits. Total deprivation would be like pouring nitroglycerine on my diet plans. Remember the song, “Food, Glorious Food”? There’s a reason for that. Bon appetit!