Neuroscience, be thy food stylist

5 Feb

Warning: major science and literature nerd post:
Did you know that a great deal of what we “taste” has to do with how the food looks and smells? Tis true. That’s why in blind taste tests people cannot tell the difference between red and white wine. That’s why parmesan cheese and vomit, which contain the same odor compounds are confused in blind smell tests.
Maybe I shouldn’t mention vomit on a food blog.

I really like to push the envelope though.

What we taste has as much to do with the context we experience it in as it does the actual make-up of the food.
In “Proust Was a Neuroscientist” author Jonah Lehrer discusses how Escoffier knew this long before brain research confirmed it, that’s why he insisted his food be served in very exacting ways.

All this doesn’t bode well for the fact that I say my food often is “gruel-ish”, i.e. not attractive.

So I tried to make something pretty.

A parfait.

And I need to try again because as you can see from the main photo I was not so successful in creating the perfect stripes of chocolate oats and cherry soft-serve. On it’s own the cherry soft serve was a gorgeous color though:


This delicious dish came from Oh She Glows- a chocolate-cherry-oat parfait. Or a chocolate cherry bomb, as Angela, mistress of the site calls it.

I only made two minor adjustments which were to use chocolate almond milk instead of regular, and MRM Veggie Protein in chocolate rather than the Amazing Grass Amazing Meal Chocolate Protein Powder she recommends. Cause two amazings in one powder is too amazing for me.

I like to stick with wicked awesome.

And I love the MRM stuff. They’re not sponsoring me to say that though if they want to send me some free veggie protein as a thank you for hyping them…geez I’m a shameless actor in search of free food.

This is a half-recipe. I didn’t know if I’d like it so…commitment issues.

Chocolate Cherry Oat Parfait(barely adapted from Oh She Glows
1/4 c. Oats
1/2 c. Chocolate Almond milk
1Tbsp. Chocolate protein powder
1/4 tsp. vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. chia seeds
Mix these together and put in the fridge, at least an hour.
In food processor blend:
1/2 frozen banana
1/4 c. Frozen dark sweet cherries
Splash almond milk
Blend, a lot. For a long time. It’ll be worth it. I thought I might not like it but I lurrrrved it.
Layer with oat mixture. Ooh and ahhh. Gobble.

4 Responses to “Neuroscience, be thy food stylist”

  1. Nadiya @ Milk and Honey February 7, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    I love how parfaits are healthy yet have that “guilty” look to them. Looks delicious!

    • Ellen February 7, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

      It is! And easy:) I hope you get a chance to give it a go!

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. Sabrina at MyMiBoSo February 9, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Oh this is SOOOO gruel-y!


  1. Gateway: Waffle Week! « Scrumptious Gruel - March 11, 2012

    […] looks of food can be highly influential on how we perceive their taste. Check out my science-y post here for more on […]

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