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Steal This: Balancing Act

They’re everywhere on the Internet today: the oddly satisfying images and videos that emphasize the beauty of symmetry. Maybe you’ve even fell victim to their soothing distraction while updating your social media page only to later realize that it’s been nearly an hour. But what is it about these videos and the idea of symmetry that we find so appealing? 

According to the American scientist Alan Lightman, human brains actually strive to see things symmetrically. “I would claim that symmetry represents order, and we crave order in this strange universe we find ourselves in,” he wrote in The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew. “The search for symmetry, and the emotional pleasure we derive when we find it, must help us make sense of the world around us, just as we find satisfaction in the repetition of the seasons and the reliability of friendships. Symmetry is also economy. Symmetry is simplicity. Symmetry is elegance.”

 

Photo courtesy Pinch Food Design

Embracing symmetry can be a very clean way of presenting your food to guests: group like-colored foods together; create clean lines by placing rectangular or square items in parallel and perpendicular forms; place appetizer spoons or boats in a circular formation on a serving tray; and adorn shelves and walls with the same shaped and sized item. The same concept can also apply to décor. 

Additionally, symmetry’s cousin, repetition, can also be used beautifully in presentation. According to the Culinary Pro: “Strong, clean lines that are vertical, horizontal, or angled, provide neat and logical dimension to the plate. Patterns emerge by repeating these lines, and variety is introduced through intersecting or overlapping lines.” 

“Since we all eat with our eyes, I go for modern food art that’s typically very linear, symmetrical, and intentional,” says Robin Selden, executive chef at Marcia Selden Catering & Events. “I originally went to school for design as did my mother, Marcia, so we are very tuned in to the look and presentation of everything we do.”

Jessie Khaira | Symmetry and repetition 
Photo courtesy Blush Wedding Photography

Marcia Selden Catering & Events | Symmetry, repetition, and reflection
Photo courtesy Paul Bickford Photography 

Marcia Selden Catering & Events | Symmetry, repetition, and reflection
Photo courtesy Paul Bickford Photography 

LUX Catering & Events | Symmetry, repetition, and reflection
Photo courtesy David Daniels

Lisa Dupar Catering | Symmetry, repetition, and reflection
Photo courtesy Matthew Land Studios

Marcia Selden Catering & Events | Symmetry, repetition, and reflection
Photo courtesy Paul Bickford Photography

Marcia Selden Catering & Events | Symmetry, repetition, and reflection
Photo courtesy Paul Bickford Photography

Taste Catering & Event Planning | Symmetry, repetition, and reflection
Photo courtesy Taste Catering & Event Planning

Amber Kispert

Content Producer

Amber is the Content Producer for Catersource. Amber previously worked as a Communications Specialist for LeClair Group and a reporter for the Woodbury Bulletin, both located in Woodbury, Minn.  As a self-described "foodie," Amber loves to experience the world of food and beverages, and is excited to help share the stories of Catersource and the world's caterers.