Saturday, November 18, 2017
Cooking

From the food editor: Here's why it might be better to photograph your food before eating it

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The next time you see someone Instagramming their meal at the next booth over, don't scoff. They might be onto something.

Research published recently in the Journal of Consumer Marketing says that taking a picture of your food before you eat it can make the food taste better.

The research included three studies, the first of which ended up showing that participants who took a picture of their food — in this case, red velvet cake — thought it was tastier than those who didn't. Another study explored that effect on healthy foods, and was able to show that when participants were made aware other people were eating healthy stuff and then took a picture of it, they considered the healthy food more tasty.

As someone who does this often, I don't think it's the actual photograph that's important here. I think it's that the act of pausing, snapping a pic, then eating your food allows you to appreciate it a bit more. When you take a picture of something, you notice it — its composition, its textures, its colors.

And, in the case of those results about healthy food mentioned above, it seems like posting that photo of our healthy plate on social media and seeing others do the same might also make us think what we are eating tastes better.

The lesson here is that, with or without an iPhone camera, take some time to look at your plate of food the next time you sit down to eat.

This can be especially important at restaurants that take the time to make their dishes look as good as they taste. But it's also important to do at home, after you've spent an hour putting a meal together. After you plate the meal, pause before scarfing it down and appreciate what you've created, how it looks, how it smells.

Try it before you sit down to eat this week's recipe, which combines some simple yet potent flavors. Chicken legs (or thighs) are coated in a chunky mixture of cashews, garlic and other seasonings then broiled until crispy and served with fresh herbs and lime wedges. It's a feast for all of the senses.

Contact Michelle Stark at [email protected] or (727) 893-8829. Follow @mstark17.

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