Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Less is More

Sorry this took a while.  I got a nasty cold on the boat and only just got around to uploading photos.  At least my worst days were after the cruise was over.

I did get photos of some wonderfully arranged food.  Holland America, for the most part, has reduced the likelihood of illness (the petri dish of shaking hands and pressing elevator buttons not included) by setting out pre-portioned dishes, even at the buffet.  It upset many of my traveling companions that they could not serve themselves, but I appreciated the effort from a food safety point of view.

My lunchtime favorite quickly became the small-plates array.  Any appetizer I had skipped the night before was likely to be there in a slightly altered fashion, as well as creative vegetable dishes.  There was always a charcuterie plate and a cheese arrangement.  Small bowls of grain salads that I later learned were the vegan options were less popular, but still available.
What really struck me was the portion size.  It was appropriate.  You could have two or three small plates and a roll and call it lunch.  Sure, there was a taco bar and a hamburger window.  Someone else was making carvery sandwiches that would put Subway to shame.  And fancy desserts were set out at all times.  Let's not even go into the extensive breakfast options.  (I tried every version of Eggs Benedict they served.)  But what really struck me was the adherence to the three-ounce rule.  Only dinner entrees were large, and even then it was a manageable amount of food.  I ate more in port.  And managed to gain less than two pounds in the week.  Yes, even with two or three desserts a day over the course of four meals (we were late seating, so we had some kind of teatime every day).
There's also a beauty in presenting a few slices of something.  It's almost about the negative space on the plate.  You can decorate with a few leaves or nuts and a light drizzle of sauce.  While this technique is impractical for a large buffet party at home, you can still do some presentation with tasting cups or small plates and just leave the big stuff for self-serve.  I did that with some individual 6-layer dip cups once.
Parisian Benedict: baguette, arugula, prosciutto, poached egg, hollandaise
It may be a few more days before I feel like cooking anything interesting.  Right now, it's mostly canned soup.  I did buy a blueberry pie.  Happy π Day!

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