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Sunday, 13 July 2014

image for Blame it on the size of the plate - but don't try this at home

Well, I'm happy to say that drinking is under control in our household. When I say it's under control, I mean we drink under controlled conditions. And that control, as those of you who've read my previous article know, is the size of the drinking receptacle. I provide the link at the end of this article for those who missed the previous one so that you can also get your drinking under control. And, incidentally, you'll also get some help if you're constipated. Oh yes, very helpful article, that. Do make sure you read it.

So, as I began by saying, drinking is under control, and none of us has problems with constipation anymore. We were set to live happily ever after. If, that is, I hadn't read another article from the same source of my previous article. Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. They're determined to ameliorate the lot of humans as far as eating and drinking is concerned.

This other article I came across is titled, "Plate Size and Color Suggestibility: The Delboeuf Illusion Bias on Serving and Eating Behavior."

Don't let the title intimidate you. The article is going to change your life--for the better, I hope. It sure has changed our life, only I can't honestly say it's for the better. But then that's only my opinion. My kids think this is the best thing to happen to us since the invention of video games.

The article, as is obvious from the title, talks about how the size and color of the plate influences the serving portion which, in turn, affects how much you eat. I can vouch for the serving portion but I think we might actually be eating more now than we did before this grand experiment.

In the previous article it had been the size of the glass. We took to drinking from thimbles, and thereby reduced the amount of wine we poured ourselves. This cut down on our drinking, but only because we were exhausted from having to replenish our thimbles repeatedly. And now, let's get to the other article to do with the plates.

"To conduct this research we set out to test four hypotheses. First, that people would under serve themselves when a given smaller dinnerware and over serve themselves when given larger dinnerware. Second, that reducing the color contrast between dinnerware and the background (tablecloth, place mat or other) would reduce under serving on small plates and over serving on large plates. Third, that making people more attentive and aware of their serving size would reduce under serving on small plates and over serving on large plates. Finally, that educating people about the Delboeuf Illusion would reduce under serving on small plates and over serving on large plates, although not eliminate the effect."

To be very frank, the first point is the only one that makes sense to me. As for the other three points, I don't know what the heck they're talking about. The size of the plates is the only one I experimented with, so that's the only one I'll talk about.

Right away, we dumped all our dinner plates and took to eating out of side plates. It was as simple as that. I guess we were experienced from having worked with the size of the drinking receptacle so reducing the size of the plates came easily to us. But, as with the drinking, we found ourselves going for fifth and sixth helpings instead of just second helpings.

I went back to the Cornell University site to see if there was any help for this problem. And Voila! There was another article, "Serving Bowl Selection Biases the Amount of Food Served." These people are so helpful! They think of everything.

Well, guess what? We dumped our serving bowls. That left us with two choices. Walk over to the kitchen to get extra helpings from the pot. Or bring the pot to the table. The repeated trips to the kitchen were too exhausting. And the walking to and from the kitchen increased our appetite. If we couldn't go to the pots, the pots had to come to us. But this was worse than having large serving bowls.

There was no further article at the Cornell site to solve this problem. But hey, I can be creative and inventive too. I came up with the perfect solution. I sawed off half the dining table. We used cereal bowls as serving bowls. Ate off saucers. And used toothpicks instead of forks.

"Small is beautiful," as they say.

This wasn't the end of it, however. We were so frustrated we were ready to stab each other with our toothpicks. What to do? We had no forks, no dinner plates, no serving bowls. And no dining table to speak of.

The kids came up with their version of the perfect solution--the best thing to happen since the invention of video games. The solution? We took to eating out at restaurants. After all, the kids argued, restaurants never serve big enough portions anyway. So it was the same thing as eating out of small plates.

And I've given up reading articles on the internet--it's too costly.

Blame it on the size of the glass... or the toilet bowl

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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