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The Food Color Effect

The Food Color Effect

Would you eat purple cheese if it still tasted the same? What about blue macaroni? According to University of Oxford experimental psychologist Charles Spence, odds are you only would in the dark.

After conducting research on multisensory perception for years, he has concluded that vision plays a key role in taste perception. "Half the brain is visual in some sense versus just a few percent for overall taste senses,” Spence told the Guardian. “So in cortical real estate, vision is always going to win."

His beliefs proved true in several of his studies. After handing out Smarties to Oxford University students and asking how each color tasted, students reported that colors tasted similar to certain fruits, even though all U.K. Smarties, except for orange, taste the same. “There’s research showing that if you get the color of a fruit drink right, you can take 11 percent of the sugar out and people will not be able to taste the difference,” Spence explained to BBC Focus Magazine in 2009.

Spence has also duped a notable Spanish wine taster into believing that a red dyed white wine was in fact, red wine. "In the end, though, his struggle seemed to be about which particular red-berry fruit flavor it was that he could detect in the wine,” Spence told the Guardian.

Not only does food coloring affect taste perception, but Spence has also found that dish colors and package designs also have a prominent effect on taste. Spence and fellow researcher, Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, conducted a study on cup color’s effect on the taste of hot chocolate. After serving subjects hot chocolate in orange, red, white, and dark cream colored cups with white interiors, they ultimately found that the “orange and dark-cream colored cups enhanced the chocolate flavor of the drink and consequently improved people’s acceptance of the beverage,” according to Beverage Daily.

The Guardian also reported that Spence has deceived his subjects’ taste buds by switching product packets as well. After changing the packing of salt and vinegar chips, he fooled people into thinking that they were actually cheese and onion flavor.

Spence’s studies have been supported by several others out there including a study in the Journal of Consumer Research, a study conducted at Cornell University, another report on the color of odors, and a German study on the relation between lighting and wine flavor.

Skyler Bouchard is a junior writer for the Daily Meal. Follow her on twitter at @skylerbouchard.

To summarize: Food buffs have 5 major components.

  1. Felyne Skill – Determined by food “color”.
  2. Stat Increase – Determined by food type (meat, fish, etc) + amount.
  3. Health Boost – Determined by ingredient freshness.
  4. Activation Chance – Determined by ingredient freshness.
  5. Stamina Boost – Always present.

You CAN CONTROL WHAT BUFFS YOU GET – but there ARE limitations. Read on.

The Food Color Effect - Recipes

Hi there,
Can this be use for cookie dough?

Support @ Minimalist Baker says

Perhaps! The color may become less vibrant with baking though.

I recently used purple cabbage with some baking soda to dye my frosting using this method after quickly boiling it! It worked great and came out a really beautiful blue. I assume you can not add the backing soda for a purple, as the only reason it was blue was due to the ph change from the baking soda!

Hello.. thank you.. it was so helpful for me. I was tried red velvet cake with beetroot puree instead of food colour. Taste is good but it was turned out like a pudding . Can I able try these food colour by adding it in cake batter? Pls tell me. If it can, tell me that how to add beet juice means directly can I add few drops of beet juice r else I have to mix beet juice with icing sugar? I wanna try a red velvet cake for my brother’s birthday

Dana @ Minimalist Baker says

Hi there! I’d recommend adding it in purée form, such as in this recipe!

I would love recipe suggestions for red velvet cupcakes –no artificial dyes please!
thank you,
Carol in Phoenix

This was so easy! Other recipes require you to cook the beets but this is way faster. I made the Minimalist Baker funfetti cupcake recipe (except without the sprinkles) and of course it was amazing!! None of my friends could believe they were vegan.
I wanted to try dying the icing the color of red wine. I was worried it would taste weird with that much beet juice. I got the icing a pretty deep pink and I still couldn’t taste the beet flavor. I added cocoa to make it more like the color of wine. The amount of beet juice made it runnier, so I just added extra powdered sugar until it thickened up. It tasted really good with a little bit of cocoa! I didn’t get the color quite right but I was still impressed what you can do with beet juice and a little cocoa. Next time, I would just make the icing without the splash of non-dairy milk and would use the beet juice to thin it instead.

2. Experiment With Color and Texture

Mixing and matching the colors and textures of your food adds to its appearance and flavor. Consider using complementary colors for both your ingredients and table décor. Mixing up the textures and colors of the placemats and napkins you use can also complement your food. For example, when serving a dish with a lot of green, consider pairing it with something red, or even serving it next to red napkins. A dinner party is also the perfect opportunity to present interesting flatware and cloth napkins with bold colors and textures.

Brightly colored foods are pleasing to the eye. Choose dishes with ingredients that look nice together and try to avoid foods with the same color scheme. Including bright vegetables in your recipes can add a pop of color to an otherwise dull dish. Today, many vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and cauliflower are even available in a variety of bold colors.

The way you prepare your ingredients also affects their color and makes them look more interesting when plated. Here are some standard cooking techniques and their effect on food’s appearance:

  • Boiling and Steaming: The color of vegetables is greatly enhanced when lightly cooked. Steaming or quickly boiling your vegetables brings out their vivid colors and ensures they will be perfectly cooked rather than mushy and bland.
  • Roasting: Roasting adds warm, vibrant color and delicious flavor to foods such as potatoes, onions, cauliflower and carrots.
  • Searing: Meats and fish benefit from being seared, as this creates a delicious, crispy brown outer layer that looks great when plated.
  • Frying: When correctly executed, frying foods can give them a warm, golden color and add to their texture. However, undercooked or overcooked fried foods, along with those that are not sufficiently drained, can look greasy and unappetizing. For both searing and frying, it is vital to use a quality oil suitable for cooking with high heat.

Foods with bland colors can be made to look more exciting and tasty with the addition of bright, interesting garnishes. For smooth foods, consider garnishing with something that adds texture. Garnishes should always be edible and add to the flavor of the dish. Edible flowers, citrus zest or wedges, infused oil, chopped herbs, cream or sauce and even whole spices are commonly used garnishes. Fresh herbs and infused oils not only add a touch of texture to your dish, but they also enhance the aroma. Be sure to garnish lightly to keep your plate from looking cluttered.

Every aspiring home chef should equip their kitchen with an assortment of high-quality artisan oils. These oils come in many delicious flavors and can be used on their own or as a base for marinades, sauces and vinaigrettes. Oils infused with garlic, pesto, basil and other herbs make a tasty dipping sauce and can also be used on their own for an appetizing drizzle of flavor. They add flavor, color and texture and are also suitable for a variety of cooking methods you may use. You could compare them to an artist’s palette, as the opportunity to experiment with them is almost limitless. Artisan oils can add an entirely new layer of flavors to your dish with just a drizzle.

Interested in getting the latest special offers, newsletters and recipes? Sign up for our Artisan Oil Club!

The Link Between Behavioural Issues And Synthetic Food Colorings

Synthetic food colors have been suspected of triggering behavioral problems in children since the 1970s, and a growing list of new studies show that synthetic dyes cause hyperactivity in sensitive and non-sensitive children.

Many parents can attest that within minutes of their children consuming artificially coloured foods (think: birthday parties, Halloween, Easter) their behaviour becomes erratic, unpredictable and difficult. This behaviour changed is largely caused by the chemicals used to make the dyes.

A 2007 study commissioned by the British Food Standards Agency that linked a mix of food dyes, with increased levels of hyperactivity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and lower IQs in typical/ordinary children.

While those in the natural health and nutrition fields are aware of the dangers of these dyes, it appears a 2007 study in The Lancet, a reputable, mainstream medical journal, brought wider attention to this health concern. Health Canada, the federal government health department in Canada has stated that it has begun to require the labelling of colors in food using the specific name, but that doesn&rsquot get the toxins out of the food.

Knowing what it doesn't make it less dangerous, only avoidable for those who both read the label and know what to look out for. And, I don&rsquot see too many eight-year-olds reading labels. Not many adults do either.

The food industry must be accountable for the ingredients they use and strong disincentives are needed to keep dangerous additives and artificial colors out of the food supply, particularly as many are known carcinogens.

How to make fake blood without corn syrup

How to make fake blood without corn syrup

If you’re averse to the stickiness of a corn syrup-based DIY fake blood recipe, there are alternatives. Such as this one from the YouTube channel VFX Arts.

Perfect fake blood recipe

  • (16 oz) Powdered sugar
  • (1 oz) Red food coloring
  • (1 tb) Cocoa powder
  • (8 oz) Water

First, blend the water and powdered sugar in a blender. Then, add the food coloring and blend again.

Finally, blend in the cocoa powder and you then you’ve got your less sticky, DIY fake blood recipe!

Noochy Licious Recipes as the Easy, Quick, Healthy, and Creative Dish

It is more than easy to find noochy licious recipes online. ‘Nooch’ is a term that refers to nutritional strain of yeast that grows on sugar carrier like sugar cane or molasses. Grown yeast is heated then dried to be made into flakes or powder.

Even though Noochy Licious nutritional yeast doesn’t exactly have the best rep, it’s not actually bad. In fact, it contains great amount of B12 vitamin. Moreover, there are plenty of noochy licious recipes that make benefits of its savory, nutty, and cheesy flavors.

Here is a recipe using nooch that mimics the taste of queso almost perfectly – just the best possible way to enjoy the nutritional ingredient that also works for vegans.


  • 2 tbsp. nooch or nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup or 4 oz of raw cashews
  • 1 small-sized red bell pepper, cleaned, seed removed, and chopped
  • 1 cup or 8 oz chunky salsa
  • Pinch of salt
  • (Optional) Pinch of turmeric powder for coloring purpose

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Process the cashew nuts on high-speed blender. Alternatively, soak them overnight if you’re not using blender.
  2. Put the processed cashews in a bowl that’s already filled with warm water. Put it aside while chopping the bell pepper.
  3. Drain and rinse the cashews. Set all the ingredients inside blender, then blend them until the mixture become creamy and soft textured.
  4. Warm the blended mixture in saucepan. Otherwise, you may just serve it on room temperature with tortilla chips or mix of veggies.

Besides tastes amazing and looks satisfying (if you use turmeric to create cheesy color), this recipe is also very healthy because of its ingredients. As if these aren’t enough, they also really quick to make. It takes maximum 10 minutes to create.

The final dish tastes very similar to the nacho cheese Doritos, especially because the chunky salsa that gives it just the right amount of spice to the overall flavor. It will make you want to create it again and again, and it also a vegan-friendly recipe!

Honestly the best part of all is that this recipe allows you to be creative. Feeling lazy and want it to be simple? Just slather the noochs on top of tortilla chips. Motivated to be healthier? Add some spinach and maybe black beans. Want to be extra? Add enchilada sauce and corn tortillas then bake it for half an hour at 350F. You can easily turn it into whole different noochy licious recipes.

The rainbow swirl buttercream frosting is really easy to achieve. The first step is to choose your food coloring, I used pink, blue and yellow. I used the Wilton Gels, you can get them at Bulk Barn, Michaels, Walmart or Amazon.

I divided the frosting into four bowls: 3 for the colored and 1 for the original.

I have seen a lot of people using multiple piping bags in one piping bag or buying a special piping bag. I’m far too lazy for that. I simply tossed it all in the bag (focusing on the sides) and it turned out well.

That’s it. It’s really simple to do.

I mixed a few colored sugars and sprinkled them on top.

To top off the rainbow swirl buttercream, I used Wilton’s Candy Melts and wrote out the number 4 on parchment paper.

It hardened up quick and they stayed put. I have done this before with just chocolate but once it got to room temperature they would melt. I suggest using candy melts for that reason.

But that’s not all!

It isn’t enough just to know the different styles of food coloring and the techniques of how to apply them, there are other factors that affect the final color you will end up with, even if you are following a specific color recipe.


The original color of your mixture will not always be white due to the presence of butter and/or eggs, which would make it more of a light yellow, think buttercream or cake batter. This means that if you add blue coloring it might end up more on the slightly green side, because blue mixed with yellow turns green. To solve this start by adding some white coloring in order to turn your mix white, and then proceed with adding the desired color.

Acidic ingredients such as lemon juice, vinegar or cream of tartar can also affect your final color, making brown colors in particular look slightly greenish, while violet might appear blue. It’s best to leave these ingredients out of recipes if you can.

Finally, if you’re trying to achieve a really dark color such as black or a very dark brown, it is best to start with a darker base such as chocolate buttercream or cake batter, this way you will need less food coloring.


It is always best to use natural light when coloring. Artificial light, especially yellow, will change the way you see colors and you might end up with a different result to what you were hoping for. But while it is great to have natural light during the decoration process, once you’re done make sure you store your creation (and any left over icing) away from it, as the contact with natural light will cause colors to fade over time.

Resting time

When coloring icing or fondant, it is best to let it rest for 1-2 hours, as the color develops with time. For Buttercream and Fondant, colors will deepen over time as they dry, so it’s better to stop at a shade or two lighter than needed. For Royal icing, colors will lighten as it dries, so it’s better to make it a shade or two darker than needed.


As a general rule, if you don’t know exactly how much food coloring you will need, start by adding your dye one drop at a time, mixing it well, letting it rest and then repeat until you reach the desired color. It is never a good idea to rush and add multiple drops at a time.

And if you want to create your own color, make sure you keep track of the number of drops used for each color so you can recreate it again!

*Did you enjoy the article above? Leave a comment below to let us know :)

These Jamaican Comfort Food Recipes Take Us Back Home

Nothing summons a sense of home quite like the scent of something familiar and delicious cooking on the stove. For those seeking some respite for both body and soul, we’re gathering our favorite Caribbean comfort food recipes. This week, we head to Jamaica for some traditional spicy stews and soups.

Jerk Chicken and Plantain Kebabs

This delectable recipe for jerk chicken and plantain kebabs comes from Guest Chef Mesha Welsh, who was a culinary student at the time of its concoction. We shared the recipe image on social media and it quickly went viral. Now you too can try it at home and tell us what you think. With chicken made with jerk seasoning, ripe plantains, roasted corn, peppers, onions and spices, we think it’ll be a sensory overload!


  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 ripe plantain cut into 1″ slices (replace with a sweet potato if preferred)
  • 1 ear of corn cut into 1″ slices and halved
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into 1″ slices
  • 1 green bell pepper cut into 1″ slices
  • 1 white onion cut into 1″ slices
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs powdered jerk seasoning
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbs garlic powder


  1. Soak bamboo skewers for 30 minutes to an hour to avoid splintering
  2. Cut chicken into 2″ chunks and rinse with vinegar and lemon juice
  3. Add olive oil, powdered jerk seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, and lime juice. Mix together and place in a container or plastic bag then place in the fridge to marinate for about an hour. Add salt after removing from the fridge and combine it.
  4. In an alternating pattern, onto the skewer slide red pepper, chicken, onion, green pepper, chicken, plantain (on the long side), onion, red pepper, chicken, corn (work gently through the soft spot between kernels and cob). Leave about 2 inches at the top and bottom of the skewer.
  5. Repeat for additional skewers.
  6. Squeeze additional lemon juice over the entire kebab to add flavor to corn, plantains, and peppers. Sprinkle black pepper and additional jerk seasoning if desired.
  7. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until plantains is cooked through.
  8. To serve, garnish with bits of chopped parsley and scallions. Enjoy!

Jamaican Pepper Pot Soup

Jamaican Pepper Pot soup is a blend of callaloo (similar to spinach), with okra, ground provisions and optionally, meat stewed in. In this particular recipe, coconut milk is incorporated, which gives the soup a creamier texture. You can choose to make it without coconut milk as well.


  • 1lb salted beef
  • 1lb pigs tail
  • 12 cups of water
  • 1lb callaloo or spinach
  • 12 okra pods, chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, chopped (remove the seeds)
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb yellow yam, cubed (store in water or squeeze lime over it to keep from turning brown)
  • 1/2 lb malanga or coco, cubed (store in water or squeeze lime over it to keep from turning brown)
  • 3 stalks of scallion
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • Flour, salt, and water for spinners


  1. Chop the pig’s tail and salt beef into bite-sized cubes. Place the meat in a large bowl of water and allow it to soak in the fridge overnight. Drain the water from the meat.
  2. Boil 12 cups of water in a large pot then add the meat. Reduce heat and simmer for two hours.
  3. Boil water in a separate pot, add thoroughly washed callaloo, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain callaloo and blend into a puree. Set aside.
  5. After 2 hours, add the okra, scotch bonnet pepper, garlic, onion, yellow yam, and coco to the boiling meat.
  6. Mix flour and a pinch of salt with water until it has the consistency of dough. Pinch off a small amount of the dough, about the size of half a ping pong ball, and roll it in your hands until tapered to make a “spinner”. Repeat until you run out of dough and add spinners to the pot. Continue to simmer for 45 more minutes.
  7. Cut and crush the scallions and add to the pot along with thyme, coconut milk, and callaloo puree. Continue to simmer for 15 more minutes, or longer if the soup needs to thicken.
  8. Add salt and black pepper to taste and serve.


Adapted from Jamaica Travel and Culture

Jamaican Oxtail Stew

Oxtail is one of Jamaica’s most revered soul food dishes. This Jamaican oxtail recipe is well seasoned and cooked for multiple hours until the tender meat falls off the bone.


  • 2lbs of oxtail
  • 1 tin of broad beans
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 scallion
  • 1/2 a scotch bonnet pepper
  • 1/2 lb of carrots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp of allspice
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper


  1. Chop the scallion, scotch bonnet pepper, garlic, onion, tomato, carrot, and thyme
  2. Season the oxtail with scallion, scotch bonnet pepper, garlic, thyme, allspice, salt, and pepper and let marinate for at least 2 hours
  3. Fry the oxtail and seasoning in a tablespoon of oil for about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the water, onion, tomato, and carrot, turn down the heat and simmer the pot until the oxtail has softened (about three hours), stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the beans and simmer for a further 30 minutes

Jamaican Fried Dumplings

Jamaican Fried Dumplings are a popular bread-style side. They are fit to accompany any meal throughout the day, but they’re usually enjoyed with breakfast. The dough is made with flour, baking powder, and butter, and it’s easy to prep and fry up. There are other versions of these called “Bakes” found elsewhere in the Caribbean, but for Jamaicans, it’s all about the fried dumplings.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt (if using salted butter or margarine use 1/2 tsp salt)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter or margarine (cold)
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil


  1. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl
  2. Blend butter into dry ingredients with hands or mixer until crumbly
  3. Add water, a little at a time, to dry ingredients until dough holds together (you may not need all the water). Sprinkle with more flour if the dough is too wet.
  4. Knead dough until smooth do not over knead. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 15 minutes
  5. Shape dough into 8 small balls (enough to fit in palm)
  6. Pour cooking oil into the frying pan until it is high enough to cover your rolled dumplings to half their height.
  7. Set stove to medium heat. Once the oil is hot, place dumplings carefully into the pan
  8. As each side browns continually turn dumplings until all sides are brown and dumplings are light and fluffy. When fully cooked they will be light brown and crispy outside and sound hollow when tapped.
  9. Place on the paper towel to drain any excess oil and serve hot.
  • If you feel like cheating try Grace Johnny Cake Fried Dumpling Mix. Just as delicious and much quicker to the finish line. If you like Jerk Chicken or Pork you may also want to try their Jerk Seasoning along with their easy Festival Mix. Get the recipe for the homemade Jamaican Cornmeal Festival.

Adapted from

Jamaican Rice and Peas

Traditional Jamaican Rice and Peas is a side dish made with white rice, kidney beans, coconut milk, herbs, and spices. It complements every flavorful protein from oxtail to brown stewed chicken.

Watch the video: Learn German Vocabulary. 25 useful Food items in everyday life. Lebensmittel (January 2022).