Don’t blend in…blend out


Ask an evolutionary biologist about stripes and they will wax poetic about tigers, zebras and angelfish.  In their view, these animals gained vertical striations for camouflage. To disappear into the environment. When we admire their physical beauty, it’s usually separate from where they prowl or hide.

Chile Relleno from El Chile in Austin, TX

Chile relleno from El Chile in Austin, TX

From a designers perspective, these natural patterns deliver appeal to clothes, drapes and rugs. Our brains delight in change.  A departure from the homogeneous.

Smart chefs have picked up on this trick. Sauces loaded into squeeze bottles, get painted onto dishes.  It may be a little more control than Jackson Pollock. However when they drip, we drool.

Mushroom pizza from Umami Mia

Mushroom pizza from Umami Mia

The line cooks at El Chile crisscross the deep, ruddy guajillo sauce  which blankets the chile relleno with jet stream of sour cream.

Umami Mia amps up their mushroom pizza with a hoisin swirl.

Heart Attack roll by Izumi

Heart Attack roll by Izumi

Izumi, as any fine sushi restaurant, double sauces some of their rolls. In the case of the Heart Attach roll, the spicy mustard sauce is broken up by the inky dark eel sauce. Wet on wet causes blending like a melting candle.

This time the camouflage hides the heart of a lion. The Texas tradition of cream cheese stuffed into roasted jalapenos gets a make-over. A cowboy in a kimono. Crab joints the cream cheese on the inside.  The mass is tempura battered and fried. The final assembly sliced, sauced and embellished with fish roe.

So if dinner looks dull, zap it with some linework. Zebratize with some sauce and watch their eyes widen and hear their stomachs growl.  You see that’s the other part of evolution. We hunger for what stands out.

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