Sunday, February 3, 2008

Caron Guest Blogs on Sensational Color

Color maven Kate Smith recently asked me to guest blog on her sensational web site, Sensational Color. Flattered, I, of course, agreed to do it, but what to write about?

Inspiration for a topic hit while I was making dinner later that week, waiting for the shrimp I had just tossed into a simmering pot of tomato sauce to turn from steel gray to pink, at which point I'd know the dish was ready to eat. Aha. Color teaches us how to cook; it gives us direction in the kitchen.

Here's the piece.

How does color influence you when it comes to food? Click on the comments link below.

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  1. Whenever I make what I call a "confetti salad," I'm delighted with how beautiful it is, and how fresh ingredients are lovelier than anything packaged or processed. The salad is simply fresh greens topped with the following, diced or chopped: red, orange and yellow bell peppers, feta cheese (which is white), pecans, honeycrisp apple (red) and edamame (bright green). Quantities of these vary each time I make the salad. I toss it with a balsamic vinagrette.

  2. When cooking, I'm constantly influenced by color...I think about what foods will look good next to each other, I love using a bit of turmeric in my rice when serving it next to bright greens such as spinach, kale or mustard greens. I think about how things will look served on my red plates. My vintage oval Fiestaware plates beg for meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas or red-sauced enchiladas. Plain salads cry out for "pomegranate gems." I have watched newlyweds or engaged couples picking out china at Crate & Barrel, wondering if they've considered how food will look on the dull green or brown dishes they're choosing. I look at plating at restaurants and see how a squiggle of bright orange mango sauce or green pesto can brighten a dull fish plate. Color plays a huge role in appetite as well, have you ever tried an experiment with food coloring? Try getting an adult to consume blue-tinged cottage cheese or purple rice. Experts even weigh in on the color of a kitchen's paint influence on appetite, saying that yellow increases one's appetite. Maybe I should paint my kitchen black.