Good Food Blog
The visual appeal of the veg boxPosted at 12:12PM, 15 September 2008 by Toby Travis - Food blogger
As any committed vegophile will tell you, a large part of the appeal of a weekly veg-box scheme delivery is in the visuals. A box stuffed with squeaky fresh produce sitting pretty on the kitchen table is an uplifting sight. Some weeks it looks so good I want to slice it down the middle and pickle it in formaldehyde. Harvest festival meets the Turner Prize. But what makes the perfect veg box, from a visual point of view?
Some weeks it looks so good I want to slice it down the middle and pickle it in formaldehyde.
A harmonious combination of colours is essential - a balance of greens, reds, oranges, browns. The palate shifts imperceptibly with the seasons. High summer boxes can be disconcertingly green, winter boxes palely monochrome. Autumn brings the glorious deep oranges of squashes and pumpkins and the purple tints of small globe turnips. A mixed fruit and veg box brings the fresh yellows of lemons and grapefruit into play, contrasting happily with the imperial purple of a red cabbage.
A combination of textures adds to the aesthetics. A wispy cascade of carrot tops falling over a pile of solid, no-nonsense spud. The smooth polished surface of a red pepper reflecting the dull, flaky curve of a muddy onion. A variety of shapes gives structure to the composition. The slender fingers of a bag of green beans, the compact cone of a cabbage, the floppy rosette of an oak-leaf lettuce, the perfect sphere of the tightly layered onion.
OK, so maybe I'm getting carried away here. This is a box of veg, not a Vermeer still life. Our delivery man may be a very nice bloke but he's no Damien Hirst. Which is just as well, as I can't imagine the bad boy of Brit Art getting up early on a Saturday to bring me my veggie fix. Yet it's hard to deny that a pile of gorgeous glowing veg on the kitchen table is a kick up the backside of the culinary imagination. Simply put, it gets the juices flowing. You don't have to be helplessly in love with your spuds to make a good Dauphinoise, but I reckon a bit of blind infatuation helps.