New Twist on the Blueplate Special

The IdeaFestival was born in Lexington, Kentucky, and the first three were held there before Louisville became the host in 2006. Lexington’s the epicenter of fervent fan support for the University of Kentucky’s sports programs, and everyone in central Kentucky, fan or not, knows the school’s color is a vibrant blue. The place is steeped in blue: clothing, home furnishings, flags, dog sweaters, really bad art, and every marketable thing from key fobs to door mats. If it’s blue, somebody will buy it.

Except blue food. Decades of Big Blue madness and the fiercely inventive marketing that feeds—and feeds off—the phenomenon have still not yielded much more in the way of blue foods than sickly sheetcakes and cupcakes slathered with icing made blue with food coloring. And even the most rabid fan sees blue icing for what it is—a dubious novelty, not a culinary achievement.

Fact is, nobody likes blue food. You can argue that blue corn and its progeny: blue corn chips, tortillas and cornbread, can be tasty, but in my experience, the “blue” in blue corn leans more toward the purple end of the spectrum. Blue corn ain’t really blue, and that’s what helps make it edible. Our eyes see blue food in a very bad light.

Now a Japanese company is capitalizing on the universal aversion to blue foods with blue-tinted sunglasses it’s marketing as a weight loss tool.

Some don’t believe giving a blue tint to the foods on their plates will cause them to eat less, but to me Yumetai’s blue glasses are just more proof of vision’s strong link to victuals. What we see colors our experience of what we want to eat, and how we taste it.

On April 17, the IdeaFestival is going to explore that link further, by severing it.

We’re going to remove sight as a factor in the dining experience, and see how the absence flavors the experience.

Want to know what happens to your sense of a fine meal when you’re not allowed to view any part of it? Come join us at Asiatique just over a week from now, and we’ll see.

David Mudd