Monday 24 June 2013

A Question Of Style

Style. An almost esoteric word, filled with mystery. What is style?

Of course, there are many definitions due to the fact that the word is used as an adjective to describe something else. Food styling for photographic purposes, for instance. Very technical.

Dress style. Fashion. I am sure most of us understand the meaning of that word.

Style of play in sports. Style of work ethic. Now there is a boiling pot of stories!

Behaviour style. The psychological angle. How we behave under various conditions. How we react to certain stimuli.

But the word can also be used to describe the way we treat each other. French hospitality, for instance. Or the traditional way us South Africans treat visitors, especially the way that one gets treated in some of the rural areas. The warm heart of Africa.

The warm heart, even in France. But you need to understand the culture.

One of the aspects of French style reportedly works like this: You get invited into the French host's home. You treat the lady of the house with decorum and respect. You enjoy the dinner that she prepared and you enjoy the company of your hosts. Then you go off to bed for a good night's rest. When you get to the breakfast table in the morning, you will get feedback on whether the lady of the house enjoyed your company or not. You see this in the breakfast that is served.

If she likes you and would welcome you back on another visit, you may get a fluffy omelet, made by splitting the yolks and whisking the whites to a fluff, then folding in the beaten yolks. Filled with a decent helping of grated cheese, all very neatly melted. Along with other delicious bits prepared with love and dedication, including a cup of coffee made with freshly ground beans.

If she did not like you, you may just get a hurried scrambled egg and a piece of burnt toast. And ersatz coffee. Perhaps even instant powdered coffee. With a shining coffee machine standing idle right behind her. Get the message?

Perhaps we as food bloggers pay more attention to aspects of food and style than other people. Perhaps we are more attuned to the finer nuances of behaviour. Especially pertaining to food. Nevertheless, most people can see the difference between food prepared with love and dedication, versus a negligently slapped-up breakfast.  It shows in the presentation, the aroma, and the flavour.

This is a plea for taking the preparation of food to heart. It reflects more about your own frame of reference than you may think. Take care in what you are doing to your visitors.  Your style shows through in many more ways than you imagine. And it is worth your while to just sit down every now and then for a minute and reflect upon your next actions, instead of just barging ahead like a bull in a china shop.

It may just make the world of difference to your own experience of life in general.

Authored by Johan Zietsman

Last updated on 2013-06-24

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