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Pet Peeves I

There's a term that cooks use that's been floating around a lot more lately: Dysfunctional garnish. The term is already skewed because it implies that the garnish in question has no function, no purpose. A less prejudiced term is non-edible garnish. It seems cool to beat up on things on the plate that aren't meant to be eaten, because the diner might be put in the embarassing position of putting something in their mouth that isn't edible.

But, uhhhhh, isn't it GARNISH?? To me, it's a bit silly that people have to be told not to eat twigs of rosemary and paper liners and such.

Part of it also seems to be a Western bias. Namely, Japanese cuisine has probably the most aesthetically fetishized food presentation of any culture. All sorts of seasonal leaves, flowers, and other natural products in beautiful ways. Of course, it has to make sense with what's being served. Japanese chefs use items with a profound connection to the dish that is being garnished. It seems more appropriate to me to put a beautiful and meaningful garnish on the plate than a sprig of curly parsley that has no significance to the dish, yet is technically edible.

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