You Eat with Your Ears

Posted By: Vic Clevenger NBBQA eNewsletter , NBBQA Latest News ,

Presentations make all the difference when the server brings the plate to your table. We pull out our cell phones and begin to snap pictures of our food as if it was a celebrity we just met. Sitting in a restaurant, I watched a couple discuss how pretty the food looked but the lighting was poor, and the pictures wouldn’t do the dish justice. So, the lady at the table took out her phone turned on the flashlight and the amateur food photojournalist went to work. There was an article a couple years ago which described how diners are spending more time in the restaurants and complaints about food being cold most of which is being attributed to people wanting the perfect food picture for Instagram. The saying, “People eat with their eyes” has been around for many years but has never been apropos than today in our social media world.

You Hear Recommendations

I contend, in many instances, a person eats first, not with their eyes, but with their ears. I was recently contacted by a foodie type person whom I both like and respect who told me I needed to watch Cooked, which is a reality type food show on NETFLIX. This show title never really appealed to me but based on ‘hearing’ their recommendation it moved to my play list. This is kind of what I mean about eating with our ears first. How many of us have walked into a restaurant or ordered a meal simply on the recommendation of someone we know. Even my kids are telling me about places I need to dine when I’m in South Florida. There are foods I wouldn’t have tried (avocado, with a fried egg in it and a sprinkling of cheese) if someone had not told me about them.

You Hear Others

In our family phones are not permitted to be used at the table following the obligatory Instagram photos, of course. The reason is to create an atmosphere of listening to each other’s day or what’s new in one another’s lives. This also extends to visiting with friends whether at our home or out to dinner at a BBQ event, we leave our phones out of sight. Growing up this was what eating was all about, just visiting with people. The kids got to participate by saying how school was going, dad and mom spoke about work or their boss. People listened to one another while slicing the steak or eating the potato salad, they were present in the moment.

You Hear Opportunities

Do you remember the scene in the movie, Pretty Woman, where the main characters had a business meeting of a nice meal in the fancy restaurant? How about the lunch meeting in The Santa Clause where Scott Calvin claimed to have been stung by a bee which resulted in his “swelling”? I think more deals are struck and more meetings had over food than anywhere else, even the famed golf courses. Once we get past “how great this looks” our ears are opened to deals and partnerships. Think about the sponsors you’ve acquired while prepping your BBQ for turn-ins or getting your sauce to market. All of this and more has occurred because you’ve started “eating with your ears” instead of just your eyes.

I know one’s eyes play a large role in how food can taste. On the TV show Food: Fact or Fiction, they put this to the test with a blindfolded person who was asked to take a bite of five separate pieces of cake. Although each was a different color the person could not see this and simply tasted the cake. All five bites she said tasted the same, like a vanilla cake. The blindfold was then removed and she was able to see the cakes she was tasting which resulted in “flavors.” However, it was revealed to her each cake was the exact cakes as before resulting in our eyes determining, to an extent, how we interpret flavors.

In the same way, our meals are elevated to a whole new level when we eat with our ears. We learn about new foods and restaurants to visit. Our families and friends are more engaged with one another as we listen to their stories over a filet mignon or while scarfing down a waffle. Growth in our businesses occurs as well when we meet with a potential business partner. So, you can see now, why I believe we eat with our ears as well as our eyes.