The Art of the Lunchbox #4

The Colour of Flavour

Something that seems to scare people when I try to persuade them to make their own lunch is knowing what will go together. ‘But how’, said a friend, ‘am I to know that squash, feta, pomegranate and pesto will all be nice.’ However, I believe this to be an unwarranted fear people suffer, as we’ve all eaten enough to generaly know what works together. I’d hope you wouldn’t go making a salad of egg, Dairy Milk and sardines. Although, her questioning did get me thinking about flavour, and I realised a lot of the time I’m looking at the colour of my food.

Colour tells you an awful lot about your diet. For example, if you’re eating a diet that’s predominantly one colour – let’s take beige – I could guess it wouldn’t be a healthy one as you simply aren’t going to get all the nutrients you need from one coloured food group. A rich and varied colour palette reflects a rich and varied diet. Of course when I talk about the colour of foods I am referring to whole and unprocessed foods – it doesn’t count to have a plate full of Party Rings, mint jelly and chocolate ice cream. I often look at my Instagram and check it’s colourful enough. I may think, ‘mmm I haven’t had any brown food for a while best have chicken or rice tomorrow’, or ‘what could I eat that’s pink – beetroot!’ The one colour though that must be constant is GREEN, and I do my best to make sure it features in all of what I eat.

So, where does this leave us in terms of flavour. Well, say I’m staring into my fridge and I pull out a couple of carrots, deciding that the base of my lunchbox will be roasted carrot, I’m then thinking what goes with orange? I spy half a packet of pomegranate – pink and orange, yes – maybe something white would make those two ingredients pop – ah I have some flacked almonds in the cupboard, and oh look there’s some kale which will also work perfectly with my colour combinations (green you’ll find goes with everything). And sure enough, everything tasted good together because everything looked good together.

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You obviously can’t just isolate the colour when looking at food. If choosing herbs and spices I will work with smell, and taste is ultimately the most important. But what I find is thinking in colour guides me towards more interesting flavour combinations, and often kicks into my innate understandings of flavour.

I realise pomegranate has featured a lot in this post… clearly the pink jewel!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. It’s like your designing a dish based on composition. Not a bad thing at all – I’m a foodie and graphic designer so I think I unconsciously do the same.

    Pomegranates are beautiful! Love the corn, edamame and peas in this dish too.

    This post would make a great addition to Our Growing Edge, a monthly blog link up just for new food adventures. It’s a fun way to share your new food experiences with other foodies. This month’s theme is WORK DAY EATING which includes any recipe or food experience suitable for the work day such as lunch ideas, snacks or easy meals.

    More info including how to submit your link here:


    1. Imani Thompson says:

      Thank you, I will be sure to submit!


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