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Does anyone here embellish / "plate" their food?


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Not with everything, but with some things I do. Sometimes, I'll arrange things in designs, drizzle sauce in spirals, add garnish, etc. I've served my family plenty of dishes that look like you'd get them in expensive restaurants. I've also just slapped a scoop of this & a slice of that onto plates. It really depends on what we're having & how I'm feeling. I do it just because I enjoy it, though. I love cooking/baking, and have been doing it since I was about 6. Making it look nice is something I enjoy doing when I have the time & energy.

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Yes, I usually plate - not always, but if I've made something decent instead of just tossing out some leftovers and a salad or something. Food just looks better if it's well presented instead of put on a plate like a tray all separate.

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I do. I buy up cute little dishes when I see them cheap and mix and match them with our plain plates. I usually have a main plate with the meat, then the vegetables arranded around that, a salad bowl/plate, and some sort of little container with fruit in it for dessert. I try to make it all look pretty. We used to eat family style, but this way there are no leftovers to deal with and everyone has the right portions.

 

Some really quick ideas are to save back a bit of an ingredient to garnish the top, to slice a lemon for the side of any fish dish, to line up or otherwise arrange vegetables, to add a bit of grated cheese on top, and to divide a portion of a marinade out before using it and thicken it up for a sauce drizzled prettily over the top.

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Scoop.

 

Honestly, most days, 'be grateful to be fed' tends to be my thinking.

 

Usually by the time supper is ready, I'm hurting too much to want to eat, so yeah, just getting through til the meal is prepped is an accomplishment.

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Not with everything, but with some things I do. Sometimes, I'll arrange things in designs, drizzle sauce in spirals, add garnish, etc. I've served my family plenty of dishes that look like you'd get them in expensive restaurants. I've also just slapped a scoop of this & a slice of that onto plates. It really depends on what we're having & how I'm feeling. I do it just because I enjoy it, though. I love cooking/baking, and have been doing it since I was about 6. Making it look nice is something I enjoy doing when I have the time & energy.

 

:iagree:

 

IF I'm relaxed and enjoying myself, I'll plate it. If I'm tired and want it all over, it's slapped on. :001_smile:

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I take the cooking pots/pans straight to the table and those get passed around and everyone serves themselves. It's a lot easier than having to get up every time someone wants seconds! For children, allowing them to serve themselves teaches them portion control. We don't allow them to skip something they don't prefer, so they'll just try a little bit. For things they like, they are learning to make sure they don't get too much, since there are several other people who want to eat too! I do think doing it this way has been very helpful for when we are at potlucks at church. My dc typically eat everything they get for themselves. I see other children with loaded-up plates, and they end up throwing most of it away.

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I remember this one time we went to a high-end plated restaurant. The food was served on micro sized dishes; each dish held just about a tablespoon of food.

 

You bought a "tasting" package, and they would bring it out, take two bites total, and then write up on a little card your thoughts about it. Came with this freaky notebook menu telling you what was on each dish, it was served by "number".

 

At the very end, the chef came out to get thoughts about it; the majority of it was Japanese food, took like two hours to get through the entire meal.

 

Really was the most fabulous looking stuff I ever saw. The garnishes were insane.

 

I'm thinking I'll pop in at the dollar store today and get some little squeeze bottles and study up on my side sauces. I was watching a video earlier today and it had all this cool plate sauce bases made from dessert toppings; much like the stuff you'd get from Hersey in the ice cream aisle. I thought that was a neat idea.

 

Somewhere in the pantry I have a bunch of freaky sliver tools and a piping kit. I'll dig those out too.

 

It's going to be a very creative couple of weeks here. :D

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We generally pass around and scoop, but I have passed off dished that I wasn't sure how they would be received by either fancy presentation in serving dishes or plating. My ds took a culinary class last year, and I had him plate some of the dishes he made for us.

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I try to plate dh's food attractively when I have time; which admittedly isn't often. He appreciates when I do.

 

Sometimes when I have the time, I make the boys lunches in the shape of faces. They've always loved coming to the table and seeing that. Not sure where I got the idea, but I've done it since they were toddlers and I still do sometimes. It's just a fun thing we do. I arrange their food so it looks like some silly face, sometimes with hair, or ears, etc. Works especially well when they're eating something with a dip/condiment.

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Go check out the French Laundry Menu for an example of one of these. It's 270 dollars for a basic tasting, and you can "upgrade" it as you go.

 

Half the charm of this stuff is that the people who serve you actually sit at your table and talk about the food with you if you want. It's like major food snob experience. The wait staff behaves as you'd expect English Butlers to do, they hide in the shadows and use hand signals for when you are eating to afford you privacy if that's the way you want it done.

 

You can very easily knock it out to 500 per person if you do a wine list with it also. It's pretty romantic stuff.

 

http://www.tkrg.org/upload/fl_menu.pdf

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:001_huh:

 

I don't think I've ever had the honor.

 

You did mark in the margins of the recipe book this little adventure, right?

 

I once put an Arby's sandwich in the microwave and sparked it like crazy by mistake, but never a full blown fire/explosion. What was the dish?

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I want to hear that story, too.

 

We're normally scoop 'n' go people (last night's jambalaya was a prime example), but if I fix a nice meal and have the time, I'll plate. I absolutely love making sauces; I'm not as good with garnishes, especially right now since I don't have a garden to get fresh herbs. Still, there are times a little parsley or basil or dill can transform an entire plate!

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I plate everything up nicely in the kitchen. Honestly, it really helps me with portion control not to have big bowls of food staring me in the face. When I plate, I try to make it look nice. I love food (too much, I suppose) and I really like a nicely cooked meal to look nice on the plate, too. It is disappointing to me to see nice food just slapped onto a plate. Even if it's just spaghetti, I think it's nice to make it look good.

 

That said... whatever floats your boat, YMMV, yada yada, and the usual disclaimers.

Edited by Audrey
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Somewhere in between slop it on and Food Network standards. We watched Food Network Star last night, and one dish was so awful looking that I told my dd I wouldn't serve anything looking like that.

 

It's really important to me that my food look nice (typically in serving bowls, not pans), and that it gets to the table all hot at the same time. Silly priorities, I know . . .

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You know, make it like a work of art, chef style. Or it is just passed around and scooped?

 

I have some weird stuff to do this week, and am wondering if plating it might add just enough distraction to bypass what might be a weak dish.

 

Lol at the thought of "plating" my food. My husband would do it. I just don't care.

 

Funny comic this morning in the paper:

 

Wife: Honey, am I the woman of your dreams?

 

Husband: Yes. Since I was a little boy, I dreamed of marrying a woman with a bad temper who's a terrible cook.

 

Wife: You're on the couch tonight, buddy.

 

(I laughed. I'm the woman of this comic character's dreams too)

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You know, make it like a work of art, chef style. Or it is just passed around and scooped?

 

I have some weird stuff to do this week, and am wondering if plating it might add just enough distraction to bypass what might be a weak dish.

 

Only in my dreams.......along with my perfectly set table with perfectly mannered children, soft dinner music in the background, eating by candlelight......only in my dreams.

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:lol:

 

I usally eat dinner on the floor, holding a squirming a 8 month old, while coaxing the 3 year to take one more bite.

 

Other nights, when things are hectic, I eat dinner standing at the kitchen counter while rocking the baby and giving bites to the 3 year old when he cruises by-he's not a big eater.

 

I don't plate, in other words!

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I usually do. DH likes it because he always thinks he can eat more than he can, and he says I know exactly how hungry he is :D

 

I usually plate the kids food during the week.

 

On Sundays I make a big family meal and the food gets passed/scooped at the table. But during the week I often short order cook and make several things (I like to cook) as we all have likes/dislikes/intolerances. That and if I can just serve off the stove or whatever, it means less dishes.

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Only in my dreams.......along with my perfectly set table with perfectly mannered children, soft dinner music in the background, eating by candlelight......only in my dreams.

 

I've often thought it would be nice to feed my kids, put them to bed and then have dinner alone with DH. But more in theory than in practice, because I think family dinner time is super important. Not to mention the whole cooking/heating up two rounds of dinner and then two rounds of clean up :lol:

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Neither. We tend to go with the traditional English/American style, where the plates are served by father or mother from the head of the table. (To save space at the table, we keep the serving dishes on a side cart with a warming tray.) Although we might pass the serving dishes around for second helpings of side dishes.

 

Exceptions to this would be soup or certain desserts, such as berries and whipped cream. In those cases, I'd be more likely to put out the individual servings and garnish them in the kitchen.

 

I always thought that the elaborate "plating" was something restaurants did to try to compensate or cover up for their impersonal, assembly-line service. It doesn't seem to hold a candle to genuine personal service at the dining table, whether from the head of the household, or (in times past, for those who had one) a servant. One is one-way; the other is relational.

 

To put it another way: restaurants are institutions for those who are unable or unwilling to homedine. Why try to be "restaurant-at-homers?" ;););)

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To put it another way: restaurants are institutions for those who are unable or unwilling to homedine. Why try to be "restaurant-at-homers?" ;););)

 

It's not an issue of trying to be 'restaurant at home.' I put time & energy into preparing healthy, delicious meals for my family. I prefer for the food to look nice, not just slopped on the plate. 'Plating' isn't about making up for lack of personal touch. It's about making the food look as appealing as it tastes. Eating a meal is about many things - the look of the food, the smell of the food, the taste of the food, the atmosphere, the company. It is an experience. Preparing a meal is also about more than just the finished product. I am proud of the food I serve my family. I want it to look as fantastic as it tastes.

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I've often thought it would be nice to feed my kids, put them to bed and then have dinner alone with DH. But more in theory than in practice, because I think family dinner time is super important. Not to mention the whole cooking/heating up two rounds of dinner and then two rounds of clean up :lol:

 

I have a friend who does this at least 2 nights a week. She swears by it as the cheaper solution to paying for a baby sitter and a date night out. I can see that, though I don't think it would work for us.

 

It's when she pulls out the shrimp, steak, fondue pot, or some good beer. They play music, light candles, cook together and eat an unhurried meal.

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While it doesn't always look like a work of art, we often plate our food when we have guests. Sometimes the meals are rather simple, other times they are more complicated. It's amazing what spaghetti w/meatballs can look like with fresh grated Parmesan and a garnish of chopped fresh basil. Serve some Italian bread cut at an angle and it comes out looking rather nice.

 

Also, if I'm not using cloth napkins, I use these high quality paper dinner napkins for an added "touch of class" when I have guests.

 

The most important thing is to serve the food with love & an offer of true fellowship, it can make a frozen pizza and kool-aid look and taste like a gourmet meal!

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Mostly I plate at first. Not all fancy with swirls of dressing, but I like the colors set nicely on the plate. My family has commented on how pretty it often looks, especially my dh and youngest dc. If anyone has seconds, they fend for themselves. But yes, I often put the greens there, the veggies here, etc. I like it to look pretty first time out. :auto: I sometimes use different dinner ages, depending the cors of the food. ;) at times.

 

I wouldt do it if didn't enjoy doing it, of course. It's somthing I do for me just because I like to. I don't care about candles, although when the kids were little they like to take turns lighting a little beeswax candle for the dinner table. Our meals are very animated, not stuffy 'perfect'. My kids are now older. I'd never leave a crying baby to 'plate' food, believe me.

Edited by LibraryLover
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It's not an issue of trying to be 'restaurant at home.' I put time & energy into preparing healthy, delicious meals for my family. I prefer for the food to look nice, not just slopped on the plate.

But choosing foods that look good together has always been part of menu planning. And putting them on the plate attractively has always been part of "serving."

 

"Plating" is more of a recent term that originated in the restaurant industry to describe a self-conscious art or design activity, like this:

 

http://www.chefgui.com/2011/09/02/15-tips-to-plate-your-food-correctly/

 

At least, that was my impression of what the OP was getting at.

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But choosing foods that look good together has always been part of menu planning. And putting them on the plate attractively has always been part of "serving."

 

"Plating" is more of a recent term that originated in the restaurant industry to describe a self-conscious art or design activity, like this:

 

http://www.chefgui.com/2011/09/02/15-tips-to-plate-your-food-correctly/

 

At least, that was my impression of what the OP was getting at.

 

While the term 'Plating' may be modern, the concept of presentation being important isn't. Just look at the feasts held by nobles in the Middle Ages. The adornment of cooked birds with their own feathers, sewing the back half of one animal to the front half of another, etc. This was done strictly for presentation.

 

Presentation is important. What your food looks like is just as important as how it tastes. Personally, I don't plan menus based on how the foods will look together. I choose foods based on how they will taste together. How they look will depend entirely on how I prepare & plate them. In fact, I don't know anyone who plans menus based on how the foods will look next to each other. Some foods may look great together, but the flavors may not be at all complementary. I also disagree that making the food look attractive is always a part of serving. I've seen plenty of food that was just dropped on the plate, even in restaurants. Two plates, with the exact same foods, can look totally different if someone spent a little time on the presentation of one of them.

 

I happen to enjoy making the food look as nice (and artistic) as I can. It's fun. It's relaxing. I don't really care what terminology you use for it.

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See, for me, it wouldn't be fun or relaxing. Rather, one more thing to add to the list for me to get done, when by that point in the day I'm doing the best I can to stay standing...Not every day, thank heavens, but too many.

 

I'm just happy everyone gets fed. :D

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I don't generally plate the food in the artistic sense, though it does look pretty that way! I sometimes plate the food, rather than serve family style, if that works best for that meal. For family style passing, I do have some pretty serving dishes and serving spoons that I use. We also have really nice plates and bowls that we use for a particularly nice meal (not necessarily a specific celebration, but just a nice meal).

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While the term 'Plating' may be modern, the concept of presentation being important isn't.

Of course it's always been a consideration. But the idea of putting together "artistic" individual portions (plates) in the kitchen is recent. It started with Nouvelle Cuisine, which, by definition, was a departure from the classical way of doing things.

 

Before that, when people talked about the presentation of the food, they were talking about common serving dishes (platters, bowls, etc.) that were presented at the table, or on the sideboard. In other words, there was an aesthetic emphasis on the shared aspect of the meal. And then the actual serving onto separate plates was done at or beside the table, in the diner's presence, with some communication involved (whether through words, gesture, or facial expression). It's a different dynamic.

 

-----

ETA: When I said above that presentation of food on the plate is a part of serving, I meant just that. In the same way, presentation of linens, etc., is a part of setting the table. It doesn't mean that people always do these things equally carefully, or well. :)

Edited by Eleanor
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You know, make it like a work of art, chef style. Or it is just passed around and scooped?

 

I have some weird stuff to do this week, and am wondering if plating it might add just enough distraction to bypass what might be a weak dish.

 

 

:smilielol5::smilielol5::smilielol5:

 

Oh, wait you were serious. Sorry.

 

 

:smilielol5::smilielol5::smilielol5:

 

Honey, I don't barely have enough time or energy to even *make* the food let alone try to make it look like a pretty work of art.

 

If you decide to try it, take pictures for us. I'd love to see what it looks like.

 

:001_smile:

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