Food: Is it fuel or art?

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It’s the reason people spend money at restaurants and grocery stores. It stops stomachs from grumbling and it’s the focus of meals three times a day.

Food is the fuel that allows people to live, but some say food is an art that provides a canvas for creative expression.

Heather Kessler, owner of Edible Arrangements in Provo, said people come to her for a creative way to present food. Edible Arrangements specializes in innovative ways to present fruit, most often in a bouquet.

Edible Arrangments presents food beautiful bouquets, making food more attractive to the eye. (Photo by Chris Bunker)
Edible Arrangments presents food beautiful bouquets, making food more attractive to the eye. (Photo by Chris Bunker)

“People get tired of the same old, same old,” Kessler said. “When you can do something with a ‘wow factor,’ something different, something unique, people are drawn to it.”

Kessler’s business caters many weddings. She said the reason brides come to her is because they want something that will not only taste good, but look good.

“You eat with your eyes first,” Kessler said. “The visual appearance makes food taste better.”

Katie Brande lives in Provo and attends UVU. She said she believes that presentation is just as important as palatability when it comes to food.

“Sight plays a critical role in what you eat,”  Brande said. “I won’t eat anything that doesn’t look good. I’ve never had seafood before because it looks gross.”

The idea that food tastes better when it looks better is why some people think of food as art. But others believe that the actual cooking process is what makes food creative.

Martha Graves went to BYU for a little over two years. She lives in Salt Lake with a new baby and a three-year-old. She said her toddler is very particular about his food. Not only does the food need to look good, but her son needs to be involved in the creative process or he won’t eat. Graves said she likes to invent new ways of preparing the food to excite her son.

“We dye pasta all sorts of colors to try to get all the colors of the rainbow in one meal,” Graves said. “I also do deconstructed meals because he likes to create the final product himself.”

Cherie Hansen taught cooking and food classes in Arizona for a year. She said the relationship one has with food determines one’s ability to be creative with its ingredients.

“If our relationship with food is positive and healthy, we are willing to get creative while incorporating its main function,” Hansen said. “If our relationship with food is not healthy, we tend to be less concerned with both the functional and creative aspects and more on how the food is making me feel.”

While some believe that food is an art, others insist that food is just the calories needed to keep going day by day.

David Draper, a marketing major from Texas, said presentation doesn’t play a role in his meals.

“If it tastes good, who cares what it looks like,” Draper said. “I’d be pretty hungry if I only ate food that looked like the Mona Lisa.” 

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