Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ask Mary...Presentation is half the battle!

Last night, I had the pleasure of cooking for a wonderful group of people. I cooked in their small, but serviceable, kitchen and found that, with just a little bit of planning, you can really do anything with a limited amount of space and equipment.

As I was garnishing the plates and getting ready to serve, something else occurred to me. It is so important to have a complete set of dishes. I’m often asked how many place settings one should have on hand. Dishes usually come in standard sets of eight or 12, but the reality is that you need as many dishes as you have seats around your table. If you have a limited budget, stick to salad and dinner plates as a start because they are the most essential. You can always add the extra pieces later.

Next, I implore everyone to buy simple, white dishes. White dishes really enhance the attractiveness of your food. And they can be relatively inexpensive. Chefs unilaterally prefer to serve food on white plates. Recently, while visiting a place called Bargain Outlet on Fairfax and Beverly in Los Angeles, I purchased white dishes for around $4 to $6 a piece. Not a huge investment, but what a visual improvement. Presentation is half the battle!

Happy Cooking! Mary

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