Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Uma crise económica não tem apenas aspectos negativos. É em tempos de crise que os governos (dos estados e das empresas) são coagidos a tomar medidas de emagrecimento das suas estruturas e a procurar processos mais eficientes de produção e gestão. Acontece, parece, o mesmo com as pessoas, individualmente consideradas.
Nos EUA, o crescimento percentual do número de obesos tem sido exponencial. No Estado da Geórgia, por exemplo, onde crescem as maiores searas de milho, o número de obesos passou nos últimos 10 anos de 9,5% da população para 21%. Causas: Haverá várias mas ninguém sabe ao certo qual a mais influente na generalização da obesidade . A alimentação em excesso será, certamente, responsável em muitos casos.
Neste caso, a crise económica promete dar uma ajuda: Vendo os preços dos géneros alimentares a crescer mais do que, há muito tempo, era habitual, estão os restaurantes a reduzir as quantidades servidas de modo a minimizar o impacto do aumento dos ingredientes nos preços das ementas. Para iludir a redução das quantidades nos pratos a apresentação dos mesmos está adoptar a estética culinária francesa, tendencialmente petite.
A bem da linha. Ainda que alguns passem a perder o jantar em dog bag.

Objects on Your Plate May Be Smaller Than They Appear
In the last year, a few dozen chefs have come here to the test kitchen of Rastelli Foods, a wholesaler based near Philadelphia, in search of tips about how to trim portions -- preferably in ways that diners won't notice.
Like many in this business, Rastelli has developed an impressive bag of tricks, and one recent morning staff consultant John Roehm is sharing a few of them with the owner of Conley Ward's Steakhouse, a restaurant in
Wilmington, Del. Roehm focuses on the chops, which will soon be downsized in subtle ways, but he's got an idea about the shrimp cocktail, too.
"What you do is skewer the shrimp before you boil them," Roehm says. "It straightens them out so that when you serve them, they look bigger. Now you can buy a smaller, less expensive shrimp."
Pinched by soaring food costs on the one hand and a recession-fearing public on the other, the restaurant industry is getting crafty. Chefs are tinkering with recipes, swapping out expensive ingredients for cheaper ones. Managers are using behavioral science research to rejigger menus -- putting high-profit items in the top right-hand corner, for instance, where diners tend to look first.
And many restaurants are putting the great American portion -- a monstrosity by the standards of international cuisine -- on a diet, as surreptitiously as possible. Lots of restaurants are buying smaller plates to make the reduced servings look just as large, or lighter silverware so that even if there are fewer bites per serving, each bite feels heavier than usual on the fork. A la carte portions of high-priced dishes -- steaks, for example -- are getting pared back and surrounded by low-cost starches and vegetables.
"We've advised a lot of clients to switch from an eight-ounce filet to two three-ounce filets," says Rastelli Foods owner Ray Rastelli, who sells to 6,000 restaurants in the
New Jersey, New York and Delaware area. "They reduce their cost by 25 percent and they change the plate presentation, adding some strategically placed accouterments. It looks like more food and it actually costs less."
Some restaurants aren't bothering with the sleight of hand. At Lucky Devils in
Hollywood, the toasted pecan shake recently went from 18 ounces to 12 ounces, though the price didn't budge. At the Plumsted Grill in Cream Ridge, N.J., the filet mignon recently went from a 10-ounce to an eight-ounce portion.

No comments: