Chew on this

Serving food on heavier plates influences taste perceptions

 

srarback@hotmail.com

“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.”

Chef Paul Prudhomme

“But it can make the food taste a lot better.”

Sheah Rarback

Eating is a sensory experience that includes more than our sense of taste, sight and smell. The lips and tongue are among the most sensitive areas of the body so it makes sense that touch would be an important part of the eating experience.

Researchers in Spain examined this intriguing topic and published their findings last month in the Journal of Sensory Studies.

Previous research has demonstrated that the weight of an object or container influences perception. Coffee and creamer served in heavy glass was rated as better tasting than the same coffee in Styrofoam.

Heavier plates are also associated with more positive rating of food. Heavier wine and perfume bottles are associated with quality.

For this experiment, subjects sampled vanilla yogurt. Two different teaspoons were used. One was a stainless steel spoon weighting 19.2 grams. The other was a plastic spoon with a polished metallic finish, weighing 4.9 grams.

They looked similar although not identical. Subjects were given the same yogurt with the two different teaspoons. They thought it was two different types of yogurt. The type of spoon used to taste the yogurt significantly influenced taste perception. Participants rated the yogurt eaten with the stainless steel spoon as higher quality and better tasting.

Results from other studies show that food on pink or white plates tastes sweeter than dark plates, and sweet popcorn tastes saltier in a colored bowl.

This is about the easiest way to have people perceive your cooking as tastier. Serve it on heavy china with the good silver ware. But this is about more than taste. Setting a table and displaying the food is part of mindful dining. Using all the senses leads to greater enjoyment.

Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @sheahrarback.

Read more Health stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Nikki Smith 7, works out during Ricky Dickerson's fitness class on Monday July 14, 2014 at Memorial West Hospital, a boot camp for kids to help them stay active and healthy.

    Healthy kids

    Music, games make kids’ exercise fun

    Hospitals are getting kids on a healthy track through exercise and educating them about food choices.

  •  
The Knight Plaza where the outdoor seating doubles as planters at the Perez Art Museum Miami.

    HIV/AIDS FUNDRAISERS

    Thirtieth anniversary White Party 2014 to be Nov. 29 at Perez Art Museum Miami

    White Party, the annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser for Care Resource, moves this November to Miami’s new art museum on the bay.

  • Ask Nancy

    Ask Nancy: My mother won’t listen to her doctors

    Q. My sister and I are constantly taking my 86-year-old mother to the doctor for her real and/or imagined problems and the doctor will make suggestions or prescribe treatments. She either disagrees with what the doctor says and requests to see a different doctor, or decides that she doesn’t want to do the treatment or take the medicine. How do we get her to comply with what the doctors prescribe?

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category