Why do restaurants go to to such meticulous lengths to make sure the plate they bring to your table is arranged in just the right way?

Why do they show you the desserts instead of just letting you read about them on a menu? It's because we eat with our eyes.

While most of us understand the smell of frying bacon or brewing coffee will draw us out of the bedroom. Not everyone understands the importance of presentation when serving their favorite dishes. Often the way food looks on the plate has just as much to do with our enjoyment of the dining experience as the actual flavor of the food.

That is an art form that Chef Jill McCoy ,your every Foodie Friday contributor, explained to me this way.

We eat with all of our senses. We are engaged with the flavor and aroma of food but the snap of a fresh vegetable appeals to our ears and the texture of certain foods in our mouths allows for a more pleasant experience too. But, the most important aspect in whetting the appetite is appearance. A well plated meal can satisfy the most picky eater even before they take the first bite.

Today's Foodie Friday Recipe is an illustration of what Jill is talking about. It is a simple salad. For the chef a salad is like a blank canvas. It is the one dish where all the ingredients can find themselves exposed and in the open and where each ingredient not only creates a profile of flavor but a pleasing presentation to the eye.

In this quick and easy, don't- turn-on-the-stove recipe you can see just how beautiful and pleasing this dish is. You get the vibrant green of the arugula and cucumber, the delightful fresh red of the tomato, the intriguing gold of the raspberries, and the crumbled randomness of the feta. It all combines to make an elegant salad that is healthy, beautiful, and so easy even a disc jockey can make it.

Here's a tip that you can take to your own table. Next time you're serving your family or guests instead of just plopping food down on a plate, try arranging the food to a more appealing angle. I know cutting a grilled cheese diagonally will make my kids eat the same sandwich they won't eat if it's cut in rectangles. So this whole presentation thing has got to work. Of course it helps if you are a whiz in the kitchen like our Foodie Friday Femme Fatale Chef Jill.


**Jill McCoy is a former announcer at 97.3 The Dawg who has turned her focus to cooking. She is currently enrolled at a prestigious culinary school in Austin TX. She also works in the kitchen at one of Austin’s finest restaurants. Jill also maintains her own food and lifestyle blog, Salt and Pepper 2 Taste. She is a regular contributor to 97.3 The Dawg every Friday**

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