What Makes Food Appealing to People?

When stimulated by the sight, smell, or thought of food, the brain sends signals to the salivary glands and they, in turn, start working overtime, thinking that we are preparing to consume food.

Sometimes as we pass kitchens and smell those delicious aromas or see those professional chefs on TV wearing their elegant and stylish Chef Shirts, Chef aprons, and coats and preparing delicious-looking dishes, our brain starts working on it and we salivate. At times, people can even feel hungry during this time, desiring something to eat as they watch the food being cooked on TV, etc.

So, what factors make food appealing to us?

  • Appearance (of course!) – A dish looks more appealing to us when there is a contrast of colors on it, as opposed to a dish that looks dull and drab and colorless. Irrespective of whether the colorless dish is delicious or not, if there is no visual appeal, then we lack the desire to eat it. This is why many dishes like pasta come with brightly colored sauces that create a deliciously appealing look to them. Another thing is to add colorful vegetables. Vegetables should be cooked in such a manner as to maintain their bright colors, as overcooked, soggy vegetables are a deterrent when it comes to food appeal, hence Chefs always try to cook them in a way that retains their visual appeal. When it comes to meats, fish and certain other types of food should be seared to give it more appeal, and when frying food, it should be carefully done so as not to overdo it. Using a food thermometer is a good way of getting your food done just right. This method of making food visually appealing is even recommended for children who are fussy about eating their vegetables and things and has been known to be very successful.
  • Plating – The way that food is plated also plays a significant role in how appealing it is. White plates provide a good contrast as opposed to colored plates, and many Chefs use different techniques in their plating to make a dish attractive and delicious. One such method is to stack food in such a way as to gain height or to arrange an uneven number of elements on the dish as this seems to be more appetizing. Garnishing is also very important.
  • Aroma – The aroma of food is another stimulant that makes it appealing to people. You may have noticed that fried food usually seems more appetizing than boiled food, that is because frying food in the oil gives out a delicious aroma that appeals to your senses, stimulating brain signals that are then delivered to the salivary glands making you salivate and drool when you smell delicious food. This is one of the reasons that bacon is such a favorite among many people.
  • Flavor – Every person has 9,000 tastebuds that are sensitive to different tastes such as bitter, sweet, saltiness, and sourness. However, in order to ascertain the taste of food, it should go hand in hand with the aroma. Both these senses together make what we eat deliciously, and keeps us coming back for more.
  • Temperature – Different food types offer more appeal at different temperatures. Spicy food such as soups, appetizers, and mains for example is more appealing when it is served hot, while desserts are more attractive when they are cold, as we have perceived them to be more delicious at a cold temperature than a hot one.
  • Size matters – While very large portions could act as a deterrent, small-sized portions are more attractive and appealing when it comes to food. This is why there is so much appeal for fine dining dishes among the population.

It must be said that at a restaurant, the ambiance also makes a big impact on the appeal of its food. When people see professional-looking servers and chefs all decked up in their stylish kitchen shirts, white coats, and Chef aprons, the place and the food they serve tend to have more appeal to customers.

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