Rotating your plate as it is placed on the table may improve the taste of your food, psychologists claim. People have a subconscious preference for food that points away from them, according to Oxford University experts, to the extent that it can affect the flavour.
An experiment involving 12,000 people, carried out at London’s Science Museum, suggests that most people prefer their meal to be aligned facing away from them, and marginally to the right. The perfect orientation, the scientists discovered, is for food to point at 3.2 degrees clockwise, a tiny fraction to the right of the vertical axis of the plate.
The effect is so pronounced that people actually experience an improved taste when the alignment is correct, the psychologists claim. The results, published in the journal Food Quality and Preference, were obtained after thousands of people took part in an experiment at the Science Museum’s ‘Cravings Exhibition’, which explores the way reward circuits in the brain that determine flavour are altered by outside influences.
Charles Michel, a chef and researcher on food aesthetics at Oxford University, said many people instinctively adjust their plate when it is placed in front of them.‘This everyday action that some of us do might hint at the fact that we all enjoy our food more when it is “oriented” in the best way possible. Indeed, by arranging the food to “look better”, we might be unconsciously enhancing its perceived value, and hence our enjoyment of it.