Does the Color of Food Effect Taste?

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Rows of beautifully colored vegetables line the wall, and I can imagine a wonderful meal.

I do not eat the red, my daughter tells me. Since when did she give up on eating a tomato? The green, yellow, white, and brown go down well.Red will not do. Later, we are walking by the vegetable aisle in a grocery store, and she is excited to taste the fruits and vegetables offered as samples. I see these bright, fresh colors thinking of meals from chefs. I noticed that meals with a monotone scheme do not go down well in the family. The meal could taste great, but they do not eat as readily when there is a meal of many hues. This leaves me considering meals from the winter garden.

     I survey my vegetables, and I see shades of green. There are dark greens, light green, and silver greens. The lighter green of a cabbage leaf makes a foil for the dark green of the parsley. The rich green of certain leaves heighten against the white of the rice. However, we still deal with green. White does come into play with the radishes and the end of the green onions. The one plant that is offering me an alternative is the Swiss chard. Brilliant red or yellow stems cooked on their own added more color. I cannot wait for the beets.
   The cold front has caused richer flavors with the winter vegetables. I am finding that I have to remember the color contrast in the meal. This is not always a simple task. I thought about using turmeric to rice to bring that ocher to the dinner table. Paprika sprinkled over rice or potatoes splashes red. Spices do help, but they do not show up well against the greens of some vegetables. I guess that the effort needs to be the thought of the plate as a canvas. I am beginning to make more sauces.
    I bought a Cold Mountain Yellow Miso at Whole Foods. The flavor of this miso popped in my mouth. I stirred a teaspoon of miso with a dollop of yogurt to be a sauce over pork cutlets. (The cutlets were soaked in salted water that had cumin seeds; this was a good flavor for the pork). This was set against the brown of the beans, and dark green leaves of the chard. The cutlets were served over a bed of turmeric rice. The family was delighted. The flavors were well balanced, but I think the colors drew the children into eating.
    Sauces may be an answer. I think that I should make a simple sauce of herbs blended with oil. More sauces with yogurt as a base. I made yogurt cheese by draining the whey in a coffee filter and sieve. This cheese made a thicker base for a sauce. Spice can help color them, yet I wish that I had more choices for color with the vegetables. Dianthus flowers are edible, so this can be something to use. I have to look at edible flowers that grow during the winter months for next years garden. We will see. The ultimate goal is not to cook so fast. Everyone wants to eat early, so planning is the key. 

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This site came out of my desire to write about my love of gardening, but also to connect it to my knowledge derived from home inspections. That is why I tied it to the home inspection site.If you have questions, you can email them to me (frank at For home inspections, call 713.781.6090.
Happy gardening, Frank


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