Food on a plate

The organization of food on your plate is an essential component of good diet, healthy habits and a sound process.

Well, maybe it’s not quite essential for a good diet. And as habits go, we cannot say with any finality whether this habit is healthy or not. But we can talk about process!

I knew it! Something near and dear to my heart! Process optimization! A healthy process is a streamlined process that is usable, flexible and scalable!

Oops! I slipped into “career mode” there for a second, didn’t I? Hmm. Let’s go back to what we were talking about. Actually, to be pedantic, we were not actually talking. I was writing and you, well, were not there when I was writing. You came along later, to read and wonder while muttering softly under your breath, “What the hell is that idiot on about, now?”

Be honest! You enjoy this kinda thing, don’t you?


Yes. Indeed. This is a light, frothy piece of frivolous nonsense. However, what we are about to uncover is a fundamental, critical and thought-provoking concept. The concept of Plate Organization. Or in other words, provided here simply to elongate your agony at having to read this, How To Organize Food On A Plate and Why You Should. Also incorporated into this will be Why Do You Organize It That Way!

Food, as we know is an essential component of a good diet, in fact, it is a component of a diet. So clearly, it is essential. Without food there is no diet. By food I mean drink as well as food, liquid and solid, and the gooey mess that are things such as yogurt.

Having established all that to my satisfaction, if not yours, we can move on then to the Hypotheses.

Food On A Plate Should Be Organized

This organization is essential to an enjoyment of the meal, optimization of the eating process. Above all, it will be pleasing to the eye (mine, both of them, thus ‘eyes’).

But, you’re spluttering, why does it matter?

It does. Have you ever read about how a table setting should be, uh.. set? Forks go on the left, largest out, smallest in. Knives and spoons go on the right, largest out, smallest in. Relative to the plate, mes amis! Oof! Why? Because we work our way in from the outside and we are a right-handed society, lefties be damned! As a partial and occasional lefty, I sympathize. (I’m keeping the righty/lefty thing back for future use!) Wine glasses are also organized, in some way or the other. Look it up yourself! Lazybones! Ask Unca Googoo!

So! If the table setting is organized, shouldn’t the food, on the plate be organized? In some sort of sympathetic synergy?

It should? Great! You’re correct and are thus allowed to be a friend. You may kiss my ring finger, because I don’t wear a ring or anyother joolery for that matter!

It should not? I shall ignore you.

You don’t care? See, you’re the kind of person who is the root cause of all that is wrong in this world, the uncaring centrist, who fights not for right, thus enabling the wrong.

The correct answer, the only answer is that it matters. Greatly!

Sample Layouts

Now, in the interests of brevity…. did I hear a snicker, there? Would you like to share the joke with us? Come on let’s hear it! Oh, now it’s not funny. Well, shall we get on then?

I am providing some samples here, based on a randomly picked roti-based diet. I picked this because rotis are round, (didn’t you read that treatise on round rotis? Well, click this then!). This rotundity and the rotundity of the plate offer some interesting puzzles for us to solve.

Say, we have three curries and one roti to organize on a round plate. We shall add extras later, pickles, salads etc, I mean. For now, let’s say we have a daal, liquid. Next, a gravy based chicken curry, and finally, a “dry” or gravyless curry, in this case okra! Oh hang on, be back in a minute or so! <Takes 5 slow and deep breaths, stares at socks> Ok! We’re back!

Now, how do we set up our plate? Here are some options.

Layout B1

Note the the untidy placement of the chicken curry. It is spreading to the edges, and possibly leaking towards the roti. Note the okra is in the middle overshadowed by the bowl of daal. The bowl itself is also overhanging the edges of the plate design.

Coming to the placement of the roti. It is an abomination!

Edges are sticking out over the edge of the plate. The fold nearest the diner, thus, necessitating a forward movement of the hand as it breaks the roti from the edges. More than likely, the diner needs two hands to tear the roti! Clearly inefficient, dangerous in that it may cause a sudden upset of the daal, at worst, or the other curries, at best.

Layout B2

Now there’s this option. I have to say, I have seen this layout a few times.

I find this completely and utterly inefficient. Maximum force applied is at the top of the plate, away from the body, and leaning over food that can spill, cause stains and is likely to be hot. About the only thing working for this is the fold of the roti is away from diner. This does make it easier to tear off a piece with one hand. This is, however, countered by the fact that your sleeve is in the bowl of daal, while you are doing so.


Layout P1

This diner is, seemingly, an experienced and practiced eater of rotis.

Witness the placement of the roti. Fold away, so tearing off a piece with one hand while the other hand props open the book being read at the same time at the required page, is easily accomplished. So far so good!

Clearly, though, and the book being read at the same time gives further grist to the mill, the diner is untidy, and/or distracted. Otherwise, the okra and the chicken curry would have alternated places on the plate. Also note the placements interfering with the patterns on the plate. Almost there, but just about good enough. Functional, just about usable, and aesthetically unacceptable!

Layout P2

Ah! Here we have a discerning diner! One practised in the art of process optimization. Notice the neat method applied, everything within the decorative border, roti placed the “right” way up. All is neatness and efficiency!

This is a diner who reads, a reader who dines, a diner who has read the classics of Victorian tidiness and has progressed to the online perusal and appreciation of the modern classics, such as SloWord.


The placement of food on your plate is crucial to your enjoyment of the written word. The layout should be such that a set of mechanical motions of one hand should be enough to transport food in the correct quantities and compositions from the plate to your mouth, without the need to remove your eyes and mind from the essential business of enjoying the fine writing on display at SloWord, or Dickens, Hardy, or dare I say, Shakepeare.

Neat and optimised processes are the very life blood of a dilletante’s life, remember!

Now the Homework!

Remember, about a few million years ago, at the top of this essay, or insanity, we had noted that we would worry about the placement of the pickles and the salad at the end?

Well, we are exhausted so we’re leaving it to you to answer!

So: tell us the correct placement of the pickles and salad on the plate!

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. babsje

    Very enjoyable reading, and your post has made me hungry. I have only one minor quibble: the portion size of the daal is too small!

    1. SloWord

      Hahaha! Thanks! I gotta say, I have been busy writing those reviews because I set out to do so, so haven’t had much time to visit your site. I know, I’ve been there before and you have some really lovely photographs!