On Eating First With Our Eyes: How Important Is Presentation At Home?

My friend Claudia was visiting from London a few weeks ago, and we stopped for lunch at Le Rostand, a café across from the Luxembourg Gardens with a nice outdoor terrace. This salad caught her eye, with its complementary colors, thoughtful presentation and attention to detail. "They took the time to skin the tomatoes!" she said with a sigh in her voice. Meanwhile, I was taking mental notes for the next time I invited someone to my house for lunch. If I have learned one thing from the French about cooking, it's that we eat first with our eyes, and offering your loved ones, your friends, or even yourself a pretty plate to whet the appetite is an act of generosity worth the extra few seconds it takes to compose it. Some people find presentation at home too fussy or show-offy, but I think that on the contrary, it helps simple food -- like this salad -- to add up to more than the sum of its parts.

Are you with me, Kitchn readers? Or do you think that presentation should be left to restaurants and magazine spreads?

- Kristin Hohenadel blogging from rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, France. She can be reached at kristin @ apartmenttherapy . com

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