“Le coup de l’assiette”
luh kood laa-seeETT. Click below to hear this.*
The plate trick.
In English, this calls to mind jugglers and magicians. In French, it conjures up marital spats with broken plates crashing around one’s ears. That’s because of the word coup, whose primary meaning is a blow or hit. But le coup lives in so many expressions that it practically needs a different translation for each one.
In this case, it’s a trick, because the plate is being used to create an optical illusion. French blogger Olavia wrote recently about the trick of putting your food on a smaller plate to make it look as if you have more food than you really do. You can find her post at this link.
She includes a link to the full news story, as reported in Le Point, about an American study that found it’s not only plate size that matters. The greater the contrast in color between the food itself and the plate and the tablecloth, the less we tend to eat. The whole idea is to give the food center stage, while making the background disappear. That’s le coup de l’assiette! And if you want to jump directly to that story, find it here.
*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file: