Next time you’re waiting in an unbearably long line at the supermarket, take a look at some of the popular cooking magazines on the stands near the check-out counter.
Skip the fabulous recipes (if you can bear to) and flip through to the photos of food. Ask yourself what they mostly have in common. Answer: A white plate. I’d say about 90% of the food showcased in any food magazine today is most often displayed on a white plate.
A white plate serves as a canvas for a chef, or food stylist. The food colors pop out the same way the first paint on an artist’s white canvas does. After all, part of the appeal of food is making it look so good on the plate that your salivary glands get all worked up and make you feel like ripping the page out of the magazine and eating it as you innocently stand on line trying to buy a head of broccoli, tomatoes and a chicken breast.
And let’s not forget about the overall decor of the plate. I would categorize that as “make-up,” or as one of my favorite chefs of all time, Anthony Bourdain, calls it, ‘the indispensable chefs’ shtick.’ Drizzled sauce on top of the food decorates the overall plate’s contents so much that the simplest food looks as though it came straight out of the kitchen of the most current, upscale, hot-spot in town.
So go home, steam that head of broccoli, roast those tomatoes, and grill that chicken, slice everything up and serve on one of those spectacular white plates (which you can usually buy at any discount store for only a few bucks each).
While you’re at the discount store, buy yourself a plastic squeeze bottle and fill it with some room temperature hoisin sauce (a Chinese dipping sauce). A little make-up goes a long way, as you’ll soon see. Simply squeeze the hoisin “make-up” back and forth quickly over the entire plate of food to create “lines” that cover everything at about one quarter inch increments. VOILA, a culinary masterpiece!
As I said, anything, and I mean ANYTHING looks better when served on a white plate (refer to photo on left).
The Big Tine
*Squeeze bottle idea was borrowed from KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL, ADVENTURES IN THE CULINARY UNDERBELLY, Anthony Bourdain, copyright 2000, Bloomsbury Publishers.