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Friday, May 29th, 2009

la comida entra por los ojos

I saw this quote and liked it. In Spanish it means "food enters through the eyes". I think that is true (can't wait for George to get a crack at that statement!). I think food presentation is important. Maybe the best plate of food to the eyes can't make up for the food being terrible but if the plate looks terrible--does it impact our enjoyment?

I went to my library tonight to pick up my reserves (yes, another library tale). When I walked in and recognized the circulation desk attendant, it was nice to see her look up and recognize me. At one time I was occasionally recognized for the quantity of books that sat on the HOLD shelf. Now, I am more frequently recognized for the treats that I bring. I saw her eyes light up when she spied the familiar disposable pan in my hand. She said, "You are Linda Grant, aren't you?" I'm thinking I'm not the only one who shares with my favorite library people (another one was at the counter though I didn't hear what she normally contributes). I said yes and she said, "We just love your treats". I thanked her and told her what I brought and she took it back to the workroom. As she left, another familiar face showed up and I saw her eyes light up as well. She also saw the pan in the first woman's hands. She came out and thanked me as well.

When the first library worker returned with my books and DVDs, she brought a third woman with her. Worker #3 said, "So, you are the infamous Linda Grant!" The infamous part bothered me a bit--that usually denotes famous but not necessarily in a good way. She assured me it was a good thing. She smiled and said, "I told the others to point you out to me the next time you came so I could come meet you and thank you for your treats. I was also told you do not do this professionally but only as a hobby." I laughed and told her that is true. She said, "Your treats always look so professionally displayed--we were sure you did this for a living". We talked a bit about the treats and the packaging. I told her I felt we eat with our eyes first--then with our taste buds.

I do feel presentation is important. Maybe not as important as how it tastes but I believe the pleasure starts when you look at the food. A secondary pleasure may come from the aroma. I think sight and smell are overtures to the taste symphony of food.

As much fun as it is to bake, it's doubly fun to hear people laughing and talking about their pleasure with it. Yes, I'm part of that but more importantly the food takes them on a journey--my part is over. Seeing their smiles and joy and hearing them talk about how much they appreciate the food when it is late at night and their energy is lagging is more fun than the baking for me. Hearing how they carefully dolt out the treats to make sure everyone shares in the treat--that's enjoyable too.

It's great to find a way to bring pleasure to people. May we all find a way to bring pleasure to others and ourselves this weekend. Sadly it isn't another 3-day weekend--that would be even more pleasurable. :)

My beautiful library:

Nice blog, Linda. I agree with your quote about food entering through the eyes. So many times I have sat here at my computer looking at your baked goods with my mouth watering. I firmly believe how we see food dictates, to a large degree, how it will taste to us. That's why a lot of the chefs I see on the Cooking Channel add the little touches at the end when serving their dish - the "kicking it up another notch" to use the phrase from one of those chefs.
stheinz   Saturday, May 30, 2009
Linda, You inspire me. Really, you do. The way you think about all of the people buzzing around you. Most of us don't think about the librarian, post lady, bus driver...etc. I've been thinking a lot about what my legacy will be. I hope I can find a way to incorporate, " Brings happiness to others with random acts of kindness." I know that is in your legacy.

Back to food... I get upset when my meals don't have a variety of color. I love the special touches on a sweet treat. Things like figs and oysters trouble me because they are ugly. haha
Spike   Saturday, May 30, 2009
I agree with Spike, you truly are in inspiration, Linda. You are so generous and kind to those around you. You truly have a light that shines and everyone can see it. Thank you for being you!
K8Day   Saturday, May 30, 2009
How great is that, you have such a talent in your baking and how wonderful that you share it with others! Not a bad way to live!
Moore Crazies   Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Ohhh...no wonder some people don't use dictionaries. They don't know what a library is!
Angi   Thursday, June 4, 2009
HAHA, true, Angi. I imagine there are a lot of people who have never graced the lobby of their library. I will admit I went for years NOT using one. I got in the habit of buying all my books and doing my browsing in bookstores. Dragging around 30 boxes of books for 2 moves has made me rethink that decision and I quit buying (other than an occasional baking book!) and use my library. I think it is a good decision for me. Cheaper, books are seriously getting expensive! Better for the environment, I don't ask for the paper and materials required to create another book. Supportive, I support my library and community. Some days I consider just going there and sitting for a few hours and soaking up the smell (nothing smells quite like a library and library-bound books) and the peace of the place. And I enjoy seeing people enjoy books.
LGrant   Thursday, June 4, 2009
I saw the phrase "you eat first with your eyes" in that bread baking book of Denny's (The Bread Baker's Apprentice). It reminded me when we were growing up how my mom would always put food in a nice bowl on the table for dinner. And I also thought about how we will bring out the good china and silver and platters for holidays. Is that just to show company they are special or do we subconsciously present the food better for our eyes with all this fanfare?
LGrant   Sunday, June 7, 2009
My husband at any time has anywhere from 10-20 things checked out from our library, lots of stuff he reserved from other libraries. I am totally going to make those librarians some treats, they deserve them!
blackrectangle   Monday, June 8, 2009
Amen! And they are very appreciative. Mine told me way back that chocolate rules! I'm not sure if that carries over to other libraries but it's a safe bet! If you need a good recipe, let me know!
LGrant   Monday, June 8, 2009
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