How vegetables with a meal makes you a better cook

Credit: Morguefile

Cooks who add vegetables to their family’s plates aren’t just adding nutrition. A new finding shows serving up a plate of veggies with your main dish can change how you’re perceived as a person and as a cook.

Trying to get Americans to boost their vegetable intake has been a public health challenge.

Researchers Brian Wansink, Misturu Shimzu and Adam Brumberg at Cornell University wanted to see if serving up pasta, steak or chicken with vegetables changed eaters’ perception of a meal or of the cook.

The study was done in two phases and included a series of 22 interviews among 500 American mothers with two or more children under the age of 18.

The participants were asked to evaluate meals with and without veggies in addition to their perception of the cooks who served the dinner meals.

Ratings for meals – and the cooks too - were higher with vegetables on the plate.

Meals with veggies were more likely to be described as ‘tasty’. The cook was more likely to be perceived as ‘loving’ or ‘thoughtful’ as opposed to other descriptors like ‘selfish’ or ‘neglectful’.

The study found vegetables at meal time add taste and nutrition and they also convey a positive perception of the cook.

The researchers say they also learned something about children’s vegetable preferences from the study. Younger children preferred corn and carrots, while older children like broccoli.

Though vegetables aren’t a central focus of a meal, the researchers say they can definitely enhance meal pleasure in addition to turning you into a thoughtful, loving cook and a kitchen ‘hero’. Serving up vegetables makes people think you're a better cook and a better person too.

November 27, 2012