Mujje Tulye from Uganda/Finishing touches

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Roasted maize served... in a newspaper...
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The way food is presented on a plate contributes to how much someone will eat. A person can lose or gain appetite , depending on how food is presented.

Different cultures on Uganda serve food differently with some being more artistic than others. The trend continues from homes to restaurants where traditional cuisine is served and in contemporary cooking.

Among the Baganda, food was traditionally served in banana leaves.Sauce was served in luwombo put in a small basket. Food that included matooke, potatoes, cassava and rice, were served on a big banana leaf from where everyone scooped.

With modernity and the wide spread use of plates, food is now served on plates and in dishes, but with the luwombo still being served in banana leaves, but placed non a plate and not in a basket.

Among the Bayankole and Batoro, karo was served in small baskets that had covers. These baskets were decorated and the appearance encouraged someone to eat. This is still done today. The bayankole serve fermented millet (bushera) as a special drink on cultural functions in calabashes.

The culture of being artistic when serving food is still upheld even today. From road side stalls, ordinary restaurants, top restaurants and hotels, a lot of effort is put in presenting food.

At a road side side stall, when preparing a Rolex, the cook will cut tomatoes round and onions vertically then added some cabbages before wrapping it. A Rolex can be eaten without these but it is a final touch that is meant to satisfy a customer and make them come back again. Cassava, roasted maize and grass hoppers can be served either wrapped in a piece of paper, in a polythene bag or in a small disposable plastic container, especially for the grass hoppers. The ones in a container will cost more but people will buy since it is more hygienic and appealing.

In pork joints, pork is served with boiled cassava, avocado, and vegetable salad, all put on a tray. The additions to the pork are meant to give a customer something extra. It is these that the customer notice on top of the quality of the pork.

In ordinary restaurants, food is served on a separate plate from the sauce. Ugandans prefer to eat a variety of foods at a given meal. Yam, matooke, potatoes and rice will be arranged on a plate with none overlapping. If the main sauce is meat, a splash of beans or ground nut sauce, small portion of fried collard greens will be put on the plate of food to complement the meal.

Final touches on special occasions like weddings and parties, are a way to show case cultural richness and to add value to the event. They are part of food preparation and depending on the way they are done, they can ruin or make a meal.