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SOME UNIVERSAL TIPS FOR MENU PLANNING

Updated on April 12, 2010

 

Here are some basic principles to make sure the meal that is planned will be pleasing. The principles are in the form of a question checklist. After a menu is drawn up, these questions must be asked to see whether some important considerations have been overlooked.

1. Do the foods offer contrast in color?

Dishes which are all pale, or all dark, or of the same color must be avoided.

2. Is there variety in texture?

Some of the foods should be soft, smooth or liquid while others should be firm or crunchy.

3. Is there variety in the main ingredients?

• Repetition of a certain kind of meat or vegetable

must be avoided. Likewise, using all dried, canned,

heavy, or long-cooked foods should not be done. Some

. fresh, crisp, bland or briefly cooked food must be included.

4. Is there variety in the sauces or seasonings?

One should not serve the same kind of sauce with more than one dish. There must be no repetition of dominant flavors of vinegars, garlic, soy sauce, ginger or other distinctive seasoners. Some dishes should be pungently seasoned, others blandly.

5. Is there too much last-minute cooking?

It is especially important that much work shortly before guests arrive or while they are being served be avoided. Lack of experience at a certain type of cooking, may require more time than one imagines for seemingly easy tasks.

6. Have you planned too many dishes, or two many complicated or new dishes?

Meals must be kept simple. More than one or two dishes that require cooking techniques new to the cook must not be tried. Everything that can be done ahead of time must be done. An early start is advisable and last minute preparations must be altogether avoided.

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