On a recent visit to our neighborhood farmers market, I stopped to marvel at the beauty of the late summer heirloom tomatoes. When the vendor noticed me, she quipped, "And they taste good too." When I laughed and said that was probably the more important consideration, she reminded me that we eat with our eyes first.
She was right, of course. We eat with all our senses, and how a meal is presented can be the difference between an exceptional dining experience and a mere fuel stop. It is the reason fine dining establishments employ visual quality control before plates are delivered to the tables. It is why home cooks go the extra mile when preparing to host guests. But I would argue a special attention to presentation is something that shouldn't be reserved for restaurants or entertaining. We all deserve our own best effort - even when dining alone. While not every meal needs an elaborate plating strategy, taking a few extra minutes to set a pretty table and arrange your food artfully can enhance your own appreciation of the food you are about to enjoy.
Give it a try next time you prepare a meal for yourself or your family. Pull out your linen napkins, arrange a few flowers in a vase, and give your eyes the same attention as your tastebuds. Indulge all your senses - and yourself.