Does Food Color Matter?


Have you ever seen a purple lemon? Have you ever seen a blue steak? Would you eat red broccoli?

We learn from birth on to associate red with cherry, yellow with lemonade, blue with blueberries, and so on. We come to expect certain colors from certain foods.

However, color can fool our taste buds into thinking something tastes like something it is not.

For instance, in one taste test an orange colored drink that was actually cherry flavored was more often identified as being an orange flavored drink. Perception is everything.

In another test as intensity of color increased in a drink the more people liked it. To a point. If something is too intense in color favorability begins to fall.

In other tests people’s ability to identify raspberry and orange flavored drinks correctly was greatly reduced in uncolored drinks. What we see is often what we taste.

Chefs and restaurants spend considerable time and effort to make foods look delicious by adding garnishes of cucumbers or parsley, adding a dash of pimento here and there so food does not look bland.

Over the years we have also come to associate certain colors with certain foods that may not be their natural color. Take butter for instance. Butter in its natural state is often a very light color sometimes nearly white, depending on what the cow was fed. But manufacturers have added a dye for decades and now the light yellow color is what we have come to accept.

Several years ago the Heinz Company experimented with different colored catsups. For several years they marketed both blue and green catsup. I would have thought kids would like those. But Heinz took the catsups off the market because they did not sell well even though they tasted exactly the same as red catsup.

Would you eat a blue steak? Why or why not. Weigh in in the comments section below.

I am going to talk about food and color again on Wednesday but from a different angle. Be sure to drop by Wednesday and read more about color and food.

Featured Recipe      Quick Weeknight Roast Beef Dinner

I usually try to eat fresh foods. Most packaged foods just do not pass the taste test for me, no matter their color.  And then of course there are all the preservatives in convenience foods. 

But sometimes life is just super busy,  and on those days convenience foods are a God-send.  Today’s recipe takes a convenience food and pairs it with lots of fresh vegetables to come up with a quick and easy week night meal.

I got this idea from a recipe in a magazine. Sorry, I do not know which magazine. But that recipe was a bit too bland for me anyway, and only used potatoes and carrots. So I played around with it and came up with this.

This is what you will need for 4 people:

1 -17 ounce package refrigerated cooked roast beef in au jus

1 pound small potatoes

2 large carrots

2 tomatoes

¼ pound green beans

2 cloves garlic

Peel from 1 lemon

3 or 4 sprigs of thyme

2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Olive oil [not pictured]


Here is what you do:

Prep all of your vegetable. Begin by washing them. You will also need to peel the carrots. I do not peel the potatoes.

If the potatoes are not all the same size cut the larger ones in half or in quarters to make them all nearly the same size.

Peel the carrots and cut on the diagonal. I don’t do a very good job cutting on the diagonal. It is that whole 5th grade scissors thingie.

Carrots poorly cut on the diagonal.

Cut the tomatoes into quarters. I used Roma tomatoes. You can use any tomatoes you like.

Cut ends off beans. 

Peel the garlic.

Using a channel zester zest the lemon rind. 

NOTE: A lot of this can be done the night before. You can wash everything. The carrots can be peeled and cut, same for the beans. If potatoes need to be cut I would not do that the night before. I would not cut tomatoes the night before or peel the garlic or zest lemon the night before either.

When all of the vegetables are ready place the meat in a large pan. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

While the meat is cooking, place the potatoes in a microwave safe bowl, drizzle some olive oil (about 1-2 tablespoons) over the potatoes. Add pepper if using. Toss with your fingers to coat all of the potatoes with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for about 3-5 minutes depending on size of the potatoes.

Remove the potatoes and add the carrots to the bowl. Drizzle with bit of oil if necessary and more pepper if you wish. Place in the microwave and on high for about 3 -5 minutes. If these are finished before the meat is ready take the plastic wrap off and set aside.

After the 10 minutes are up check on the meat. You should be able to “cut” it into chunks. I “cut” the meat with a spatula while still in the pan.

Using a garlic press add the garlic to the meat and mix in well. Cover and cook about 5 minutes. When you remove that lid it will smell deliciously of garlic!!!! Oh be still my heart!!

Then add the tomatoes, green beans, and the thyme leaves (peel off with your fingers) cover and cook for about 5 minutes more. Doesn’t that look insanely pretty. The colors are beautiful!! So bright and lively!!

While you are  waiting for the tomatoes and beans to cook, chop the parsley.

When the tomatoes and green beans are warmed through but still crisp tender [You can tell this by the color. The colors will still be bright and vivid.]   add the potatoes and carrots. Cook uncovered for another 5 minutes. Even more pretty colors now!

Last, sprinkle the parsley and lemon peel over the dish and…………

………serve with a  a crusty hunk of bread with butter and a salad. As delicious a meal in under 30 minutes you will ever find! I can’t cut but I am humble. LOL

Bon Appetit!!!!


1 -17 ounce pck roast beef              $4.99

1 pound small potatoes                   $1.50

2 large carrots                               $0.30

2 tomatoes                                    $0.62

¼ pound green beans                     $0.47

2 cloves garlic                                $0.10

Peel from 1 lemon                          $0.33*

3 or 4 sprigs of thyme                     $0.10

2-3 tbspn chopped parsley              $0.04

Olive oil                                         $0.36


Total cost = $8.81

Cost per person = $2.20

*Just using the peel here, so you can use juice later in the week, getting double duty out of this $0.33.

 Quote of the Day

I do the very best I can to look upon life with optimism and hope and looking forward to a better day.

Rosa Parks


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