They say we first judge with our eyes, and we scrutinize by appearance—this is true for both food and fashion. Like one’s ensemble, the plate presentation must be coordinated to include fit, color, balance, and good taste. Fitting within the rim of a plate or around a woman’s waist makes for positive eye appeal. Color dictates the persona of the food presented or the person selecting the components of their outfit. Balance makes all things equal—the right ingredients, like the right ensemble, are matched when a perfect balance is achieved. And, lastly, good taste is the defining moment for food and fashion. Each month we will take you on a journey discussing fashionable foods, plate presentation, and good taste with self-trained Executive Chef Bernadette Pirone – lovingly known as Mrs. P. to the Stroudsmoor Family and Friends. Her mantra is to “ensure our guests begin the dining experience at first sight and end it completely satisfied.”
When fitting clothing, one considers the shape of their body. Garments that are too tight focus on the imperfections in our figure; similarly, having so much food on the plate causes contamination of the flavors and an unbalanced meal. Mrs. P. adheres to a philosophy of the plate triad – protein, starch, and vegetable. The fashion fit triad is foundation first; alter if needed, and always be mindful of one’s best feature.
- Protein – the central element or foundation of the food triad should be the focal point of the plate, allowing ample space for starch and vegetable. Always portioned to please the appetite and never overshadow the other ingredients.
- Starch – the flavor of the starch altars or enhances the protein (i.e., fish with rice, beef with baked or roasted potato, turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy, of course, etc.) Take risks and complement the protein with an opposing starch – sometimes, an exciting change is a perfect alteration.
- Vegetable – freshness, color, and flavor are all considerations when selecting the appropriate vegetable. Best to choose a seasonal favorite, with color that pops on the plate and flavor to enhance your protein.
Mrs. P.'s best-featured vegetables for each season:
- Summer a variety of garden squashes
- Fall acorn squash or Brussels sprouts,
- Winter field carrots or broccoli
- Spring asparagus or cauliflower
The purpose of the vegetable is to catch the eye and cleanse the palate, so it is best steamed or baked, adding a soupçon of seasoning. As in fashion, food is trendy, so experiment with the numerous vegetables available at your local farmer’s market. You can’t go wrong when you use good taste.
- Foundation First – undergarments are the foundation for dressing. They are the base of the outfit and enhance the figure and the style of the garment. One’s bra is the window to the soul of the ensemble, and the sous-vêtement is support for the fit of the outfit like the protein supports the plate.
- Altar if needed – when purchasing the garment in the best size for your figure, some areas may still require alteration. Altar, don’t fold your clothing – turning up sleeves or cuffing pants breaks the eye and makes the garment appear unfit. Making alterations to clothing complements the figure like the starch complements the protein.
- Best Feature – oversized is trendy; too tight is a fashion faux pas. If you have the perfect 24″ waistline, show it off; don’t hide it under excess yardage. If your long legs are your best feature, then highlight them with a natural hose. Like the vegetable on the plate, the best feature of your figure will make the ensemble POP and show you have good taste!
The triad of fit in food vs. fashion is the foundation of dressing and dining. Remember to use these three steps with your plate and your figure, and you will always have good taste.