Shall we Scrap the Silly Smear?

CLICK ABOVE TO PLAY MUSIC

Music – “The Frim Fram Sauce [Clean]” from The Wartime Years – Wartime Memories [Clean] by Nat King Cole. Released: 2011

Most of us would agree that we eat with the eyes and every good cook and chef knows this. An appetizing presentation on one’s plate goes a long way to stimulating the taste buds and makes one just want to dig in. However, I have one pet peeve (well, actually, more than one, but the rest don’t belong here in a blog about cookbooks and cooking!)

In so many of the more recently published cookbooks in my collection, the food photography is outstanding. There’s nothing like a gorgeous full-page photograph of a succulent dish, glistening, redolent with colour and laid out in a pleasing design to pull your eye (and your stomach) in. But (and here comes my pet peeve), I am so tired of seeing plates of beautiful food ruined with the seemingly ever-present, and evidently ever-popular “smear” of sauce!  It seems that almost every chef on The Food Network, The Cooking Channel and the rest of the food-related cooking shows utilizes the “smear” and it’s so pervasive, it’s become downright boring.

Various "smears" (Photo Credit: www.beyondthedough.ca)

Various “smears” (Photo Credit: http://www.beyondthe  dough.ca)

 

 

 

According to Chef Daniel Wilson of the Australian restaurant, Huxtable”, the sauce ‘smear‘ is a common technique. He explains: “To do one, place a spoonful of thickish sauce or purée on one side of the plate. Then turn the spoon over and place the back of the spoon into the middle of the sauce, then drag to the other side of the plate, or curve it like a comma in a quick but controlled manner.”

You call this a sauce?! (Photo Credit: www.afrotoast.wordpress.com)

You call this a sauce?! (Photo Credit: http://www.afrotoast. wordpress.com)

Not very appetizing, if you ask me! (Photo Credit: www.youtube.com)

Not very appetizing, if you ask me! (Photo Credit: http://www.youtube.com)

An "interrupted" smear (Photo Credit: www.lennardy.com)

An “interrupted” smear (Photo Credit: http://www.lennardy.com)

The "swoosh" smear (Photo Credit: www.blog.etundra.com)

The “swoosh” smear (Photo Credit: http://www.blog. etundra.com)

Whatever this is, it looks like it skidded across the plate (Photo Credit: www.theterrytable.com)

Whatever this is, it looks like it skidded across the plate (Photo Credit: http://www.theterrytable.com)

 

 

 

I have seen photographs of foods with plating sauces in lines (parallel or intersecting), droplets (randomly or in a specific pattern), pools, pulls (supposed to look like a shooting star), brushing or painting, foams, etc. For my taste, however, if you’re going to give me a sauce, then GIVE ME A SAUCE, not a measly “smear” on the plate! I want something I can dip into, pour over or smother my food in. I do not want a trace of what might have been, a glancing brush across my plate of something that is barely there.

Skidding strawberries (Photo Credit: www.eatwell101.com)

Skidding strawberries (Photo Credit: http://www.eatwell101.com)

"The Tadpole" smear (how tasteful) (Photo Credit: www.forums.egullet.org)

“The Tadpole” smear (how tasteful) (Photo Credit: http://www.forums. egullet.org)

 

Ladle on the sauce! (Photo Credit: www.en.wikipedia.org)

Ladle on the sauce! (Photo Credit: http://www.en. wikipedia.org)

Now, THIS is sauce! (Photo Credit: www.food.com)

Now, THIS is sauce! (Photo Credit: http://www.food.com)

 

 

 

Dish it up and forget the "smear"! (Photo Credit: www.shutterstock.com)

Dish it up and forget the “smear”! (Photo Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com)

No smears on this chicken! (Photo Credit: www.plateexpectations.org)

No smears on this chicken! (Photo Credit: http://www.plate  expectations.org)

This must be the minimalist approach to flan (Photo Credit: www.exilekiss.blogspot.com)

This must be the minimalist approach to flan and “smears” (Photo Credit: http://www.exilekiss. blogspot.com)

I’m not sure when the “smear” became so popular, or who popularized it, but frankly, I think it has overstayed its welcome and has been done to death. So, please chefs, can we scrap the “smear”?

 

 


My EatYourBooks cookbook collection

Advertisements

About vintagecookbookery

Cookbook lover and collector with a burgeoning collection of cookbooks. Reading and researching food trends, history of cooking techniques and technological advances in cooking, what we eat and why and cookbooks as reflectors of cultures is a fascination for me. As of November 7th, 2013, I hold the current Guinness World Record title for the largest collection of cookbooks: 2,970 at the official count on July 14th, 2013 (applaud now, thank you very much!) The current (unofficial) number is now 6,037. What next? More shelves!
This entry was posted in Collecting, Collections, Cookbooks, Cooking, Cooking and Social History, Eating, Food Fads, Food Trends, Guinness World Records, New Mexico, Vintage Cookbooks and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s