November 30, 2012 | By Amy O’Connor
Can the simple act of serving vegetables with a meal make you a better cook…and a more interesting and better person?
Yes, according to an intriguing new study by Cornell University researchers, published in the Journal of Public Health Nutrition.
The researchers evaluated public perception through an online survey of 500 women, with an average age of 38 years. In Study 1, people evaluated the personality of a cook who either did or did not include a vegetable in a family dinner. In Study 2, five different meals that either included or did not include a vegetable were rated in terms of the taste of the entree and of the whole meal.
Results: Serving vegetables improved taste expectations for the entrée as well as for the whole meal. In other words, the women who served kale, broccoli or spinach were assumed to be better cooks.
Serving veggies with the meal also enhanced perceptions of the meal preparer. They were evaluated as being more thoughtful and attentive as well as less lazy, boring and self-absorbed.
Nearly 70% of vegetables consumed in the United States are eaten at the family meal, but only 23% of evening meals contain vegetables. If the nutritional value of veggies isn’t enough, maybe cooks will be inspired the “hedonic value” of serving them. In other words, serving veggies makes you cool!