Baking with Your Kids: Tips for Teaching Food Presentation

Welcome to Week Two of Baking with Your Kids!  My collection of posts is part of the Homeschool Hopscotch hosted by iHomeschool Network.

Today’s post is all about food presentation!

I wanted to include this because I think it’s something worth teaching your kids.  Of course this isn’t something that will need to be done all the time, but knowing how to present a dish that is appealing to all the senses is a great skill!

It’s also something that isn’t necessarily easy.  I remember when I first worked in a professional kitchen.  I saw the awesome plating going on, and when I tried emulate with my stuff {I made pastries and cakes}, I got so frustrated.

So here are a few tips you can use to teach your child the art of food presentation!

Teaching the Art of Food Presentation

  • Realize there is no right way.  I’m a perfectionist, so this is a hard one for me.  Really, though, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  If your child feels very proud about what they’ve done, then it’s a great presentation.
  • Teach the “why” behind it.  Of course there’s the obvious reason:  we like to eat pretty food.  But presenting a dish that has been beautifully arranged shows that you gave some thought to what you were giving that person.  It’s a way to show your love and appreciation for another person.
  • Think about color and size.  This is one of the simplest ways to learn how to plate better food.  Mix colors side-by-side, play around with different portion sizes, experiment until you’ve gotten the hang of it.
  • Baked goods are easier.  I have no real, solid, fact-based information to back me up, but I’ve found this to be the case.  There’s just something about baked goods that makes them so darn easy to make pretty.  A single cupcake with a pillow of icing on top is gorgeous.  A slice of pie with a scoop of ice cream and some caramel sauce drizzled on top is pretty.
  • Practice, practice, practice.  This is a fun one because, well, in order to practice, you need food.  And then who gets to eat it?  Yes, you and your kids.  Or, if there’s just too much, you can share it with others.  They’ll *heart* you for that.
  • Throw a party to celebrate.  When you feel that you guys have really nailed your food presentation, throw a party!  It doesn’t have to be anything major, just a little celebration with a few pretty display pieces to showcase what you’ve learned.

A Recipe to Help You Practice

Since I think baked goods are the easiest to practice on, I’m giving you guys my award-winning lemon cupcake recipe!

Just like the white cake, this recipe has been a favorite of many brides and has gotten me a few ribbons at county and state fairs.

To frost these, use my standard buttercream frosting, but add lots and lots and lots of lemon zest to it.  Well, lots and lots and lots if you love tart lemon taste.

If you don’t, just add lots.

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