Pretty Food Tastes Better

Sharpen your plating skills to make your food taste better.

Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

They say we eat with our eyes first, which is why we love posting and looking at those Instagram shots of beautiful food. It turns out those pretty plates could influence whether you like the food’s flavor, suggests a report in the June 2014 issue of the journal Appetite.

To measure this effect, researchers from Montclair State University in New Jersey served restaurant diners a meal of sautéed chicken breast with herb sauce, brown rice pilaf, and sautéed green beans with toasted almonds on a round white china plate. The meal was presented in two different arrangements; both were neat but one presentation was judged as more attractive.

Who garnered the more likes? The pretty plate, of course. It turns out the visual presentation of a dish is just as important as its flavor.

So the next time you find yourself getting bored with yet another chicken breast for dinner, take a few minutes to set the table to make the meal feel special. Put down a placemat, fold a napkin, use a pretty dish and arrange your food so it looks delicious!