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One way to make food more interesting is to serve it in (or on) an unusual vessel. Chefs at better restaurants are always looking for more interesting presentations, serving food on everything from bricks of Himalayan Pink Salt to slate tiles and cutting boards.
Consumer magazines contribute their own ideas, styling food in hollowed-out oranges or butternut squash shells, mini flower pots and re-purposed oyster shells.
For today, consider something much simpler: your tumblers or rocks glasses. In addition to a fun factor, they’re also good for controlling portion sizes of macaroni and cheese and other fattening food, and to constrain runny foods from running into neighbors on the plate.
A rocks glass, also called an Old Fashioned glass, is a form of tumbler. With a capacity of nine to twelve ounces, it is used for a simple cocktail or plain spirit served over ice cubes—i.e., “on the rocks.”
Tartare in a tumbler. Photo courtesy Bo’s Kitchen and Bar Room | NYC.
While you don’t have a cocktail with every meal, you do serve food that can be presented in those idle rocks glasses. Some ideas:
Breakfast In A Rocks Glass
Cereal, cold or hot
Yogurt or cottage cheese
Beans and legumes
Condiments (e.g. pickles and olives)
Garnishes (e.g. croutons, grated cheese, gremolata, salsa)
Layered parfaits (e.g., guacamole, salsa, sour cream)
Rice or other grains
Salad or slaw
Sides, from thick (like mashed potatoes) to runny (like sauerkraut)
Soup (no spoon required!)
Steak, salmon or tuna tartare
Lunch & Dinner In A Rocks Glass
Serve a side salad in a tumbler. Photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Catering.
Desserts In A Rocks Glass
Garnishes (e.g. chocolate chips, shredded coconut)
Ice cream or sorbet
Mini meringues or other small cookies
Pudding or mousse
Snacks In A Rocks Glass
Candies (we love a glass of gummies)
Cheese spread or cubes
Chips or pretzels with dip
Crackers or Goldfish
Crudités with hummus or other dip
Our list is far from exhaustive. So the next time you open the cabinet door to select plates or bowls for serving food, think: Would this food be more fun in a rocks glass?
If you don’t have enough tumblers, use wine goblets or Champagne coupes, also called sherbet Champagne glasses.
The latter are so-called because, contrary to Marie Antoinette’s preferences, we now know that they shouldn’t be used for sparkling wines (the bubbles dissipate too quickly). But they work just great for sorbet, ice cream, pudding and mousse.
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