Can artistically presented food actually make it taste better? Turns out it can.

A foodie knows that plating a meal is an art, but a University of Oxford psychological survey took it one step further to study what happens when food actually looks like art. They arranged a plate of salad into an abstract painting to see what impact it had on the meal.

One group had a salad arranged like Kandinsky’s Painting No. 201, another group had the same ingredients served in neat rows, and a third group’s salad was served in a pile at the center of the plate. The results show that the Kandinsky-styled meal performed better in every category that was measured, including making the food taste better.

This study inspired NPR to call for a Fine Art Food Challenge where listeners were asked to submit images of food styled like fine art paintings. Check out the Kandinsky-styled salad and some images submitted to the NPR challenge below.

Kandinsky’s Painting No. 201, on the left, salad on the right.

Other arrangements of Kandinsky salad ingredients that were tested in the experiment

Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait Roots recreated with salmon and mashed potatoes

Gene Davis’ Apricot Ripple recreated with vegetable strips chard-art_custom-7015fdfa8d4c7a1c56b119da2f685efd51c56bc4-s40-c85

Kazimir Malevich’s Black Suprematic Square recreated with blackberriesblackberry-square-copy_wide-80ed247ef5081ef8935c3d2df6dd27fff15d3cba-s40-c85

Jasper Johns’ painting Flag recreated as fruit kebabs



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