Pleasing To The Eye, But Good for Food?

{Today I’m pleased to share another guest post from Tim, who has written for this blog before on due process and on the grace of taste.}

My wife and I like to watch Food Network shows like Iron Chef and Chopped, where chefs compete to see who makes the best meal.

Judges constantly mention that enjoying food starts with the eyes–an aspect so important that the scoring includes a high proportion of points specifically for presentation (or “plating”) of the food. If something does not look pleasing to the eye, the judges are sure to let the chefs know.
There’s a whole industry dedicated to making food look good. Food stylists work hard to make food look appetizing in magazine advertisements and TV commercials. I remember reading an article on it years ago. The writer revealed that one reason canned soups look so hearty and full of good ingredients in one company’s ads was because a stylist added things like marbles to the bowl of soup; this works well on camera, even though it might not fool anyone looking up close at the bowl in real life. Another trick they revealed concerned meat coming off the barbecue. Those great looking grill marks are from a length of hot steel carefully applied; the meat might even be raw and only painted to look cooked.

Recently, a sharp-eyed McDonald’s customer sent in a question to the corporate office in Canada asking the age-old question:

why do the burgers in the ads look better than the ones in the restaurant? The article video explain, giving good insights into how a food stylist and photographer can work together to make the food look appealing. One refreshing aspect is that McDonald’s insists the stylist and photographer use only the same ingredients that are used in the store. No fake additions allowed!

All of this reminded me of another place where I read about food that appeared pleasing to the eye:

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (Genesis 3:6.)

God had told Eve and Adam they could eat fruit from any tree but that one. They ate it anyway. Some might take this to mean that food appearing pleasing is evil but that can’t be true since this pleasing aspect of the appearance of food preceded the transgression. No, food is supposed to look good.

The real issue is what we do when we look upon food – or anything else God has put in our lives. Do we recognize God’s wonderful blessings in his provision for us? Or do we try to take what God has given for good and use it for something for which it was not intended?

We are not told explicitly what God’s purpose was for putting that tree in the Garden of Eden, but I think it’s safe to say God had one even if we don’t know what it is. (Psalm 33:11, Romans 8:28.) Happily, we do know God’s purpose for the food we eat now:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31.)

It’s like looking at food in magazine ads. Are you seeing the actual food ingredients, properly prepared as if being served for dinner? Or do they promise a hearty meal when what they are really showing is a bowl full of marbles?

It’s like looking at everything else around us, too–do we recognize God’s blessings and enjoy them for his glory, or do we grasp the fakes and frauds thinking that these look more pleasing?

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8. Check out 1 Peter 2:2-3 also.)

Me, I’d rather taste the Real Thing.

Tim is a California native who changed his major three times, colleges four times, and took six years to get a Bachelor’s degree in a subject he’s never been called on to use professionally. Married for over 24 years with two kids now in college, his family is constant evidence of God’s abundant blessings in his life. He and his wife live in Northern California. Tim guest posts on other peoples’ blogs, but is too lazy to get a blog of his own.