Color Expert Louis Cheskin wrote about an interesting story in his Color for Profit (1951) to describe a butcher who painted the wall cream to make the shop appear neater and who hoped that the brightly-colored room can make customers buy more meat. However, to the butcher’s surprise, more customers tended to feel that his meat product is not as fresh as before, and unfortunately, his business went down thereafter.
Prior to explain the reason why the change of the wall color resulted in a tragic ending, it is necessary to observe how the visual system converts different wavelengths into a perception of color. “The process begins with three kinds of cones. Later, cells in the visual path code this wavelength information in terms of pairs of opposites – red versus green, yellow versus blue, and white versus black.”(James W. Kalat, 2010, Page 104) This opponent-process theory of color vision best explains the negative afterimages, that is, experiences of one color after the removal of another. (James W. Kalat, 2010, Page 105) Therefore, in the story, after the customers stared cream colored (which is similar to yellowish-white) wall for a while, they got a blue-violet afterimage. When they saw the meat with this kind of afterimage remained in their eyes, the seemingly blue-violet meat left them an impression that it had gone rotten.
After knowing why this happens, I come up another question: why does color of food matter so much? The answer lies in the interpretation of one’s color perception. Let me tell you another story. Once a cold struck me, I found any cuisine tasteless. However, some dishes miraculously rescued my appetite. What kind of? You may think of French goose liver, Canine Caviar or even a plate of Gong Bao Chicken. No, not any luxurious course, but a range of appetitive dishes that show one character in common – they enjoy a combination of bright colors.
It is pointed out by a Japanese psychologist in her best-seller that the relation between appetite and color is somehow subjective, which depends on what kind of color experience one has. If he/she tries a certain colored food that tastes badly, he/she will probably dislike other food with that color. (Harada Reini, 2009) Take the example of most Asian people. They do cook various kinds of meat, seafood, vegetables and sometimes fruits. Multiple ingredients are