It's that time of year again....what's in, what's out...it's anyone's guess. I suppose these are actually my wishes for the upcoming year based on what I want to see more of and what I am totally over.
Love These Trends:
Fresh, Locally Sourced Food: It really does taste so much better! Join a co-op or head to the farmer's market, you'll never go back to grocery produce again.
Food Truck "Rodeos": A dozen or more food trucks turn an empty parking lot into a gourmet food fair on wheels.
Retro Cocktails: Thank you Mad Men for reminding us about the Manhattan, Tom Collins, Pina Colada and the Gin Rickey! I adore Pina Coladas and Singapore Sling.
Actual cooking shows on the Cooking Channel: Enough with the "realty cooking competitions"! Check out Nadia G. on Bitchin' Kitchen.
Artisanal Ice Pops: Unexpected flavors flavors like Blueberry-Lemonade, Pineapple Juice-Coconut Milk, Spiced Cider and Mint Tea, these treats may just dethrone cupcakes as the latest dessert craze.
Cupcakes: I think hating cupcakes is a new trend. I know I am in the minority here, but I still love them! My only wish is that we could buy smaller cupcakes for a cheaper price. I don't always want a $4 cupcake the size of a melon.
Supper Clubs: They are so much fun, but this trend can easily slip toward snobbery and exclusion. As long as it stays down to earth, I am loving this trend.
Dessert Shooters: Sometimes you only want one bite of dessert.
Improving School Lunches: When my kids would rather starve than eat the food in their high school cafeteria, something is wrong. Notice how all the food on this tray is brown...even the orange doesn't look appetizing?
Frozen Yogurt: The real frozen yogurt, not the TCBY chemical stuff. It is so easy to make at home too, with Greek yogurt, some flavoring and an ice cream maker (or just go to your local Pinkberry). I live on this stuff in the summer.
Affordable Eats: The economy is not getting much better. This usually means better quality food at more affordable prices.
Macaroons: The French pastel colored sandwich cookie, not the Manischewitz version from a can.
Meatless Monday: More and more people are going vegetarian at least one day a week. Try it, you may like it!
Pie: Sweet and savory pies are making a big comeback (did they every actually leave?).
The casual sit-down dinner party: A cross between a formal sit-down dinner and a potluck, this is the best way to entertain. Is anyone under the age of 60 really impressed by "formal china" anymore?
Trends That Need To Go:
Non-cooking shows on Food Network: Try to find an actual cooking show on Food Network during prime time hours.
Along the same line, get rid of the cake shows, cake competitions, and baking reality shows: OMG....they are so boring! Cupcake Wars?!?!?! I would rather watch my dogs sleep.
"Super Fruits" : Example: goji berry or acai. Has consumption of these fruits truly improved anyone's health?
Gluten-Free Diets: Unless a doctor has diagnosed you with Celiac disease, this is a passing "diet" trend. People who claim they feel better and are losing weight on a "gluten-free" diet, most likely feel better because they are eating healthier and eating fewer processed foods.
Bacon on everything: I love it in the morning and on a club sandwich...that's it! I don't want it sprinkled on my chocolate chip cookie or in my apple pie.
Banning fast food restaurants in poor neighborhoods: Scary! What's next? Banning Starbucks in upscale shopping centers because the people there drink too much caffeine and spend too much of their disposable income on overpriced beverages?
Urban Farming: Raising chickens in a cage on the roof of your apartment building just so you can eat fresh eggs? Seems cruel to the chickens.
Paula Deen: Sorry Paula..I need a break. Your face is everywhere!
Rachel Ray.....you too!
Also..... Celebrity Chef Cookware: It disappoints every time. It may look like high quality cookware, but it is usually overpriced crap.
Brown eggs being more expensive than white eggs: Why is this? The only difference between the two is the color of the shell! Brown eggs are not organic, cage-free or tastier....they are the same exact product as white eggs!
Adding hot peppers into desserts: Dessert is a time to relax, not the time for a piece of jalapeno to show up my chocolate ice cream.
Being overly allergy conscious: Banning all peanut products from an entire elementary school or an entire airplane because of one kid with a nut allergy? This doesn't teach kids how to live in the real world. Not to mention, some little kids will only eat peanut butter and jelly! Why are they being punished?
And check out these up and coming food trends for 2011 and beyond, as predicted by The BA Foodist, Andrew Knowlton.
Pop Goes the Restaurant: Get ready to follow the next movable feast: the pop-up restaurant. Here today, gone tomorrow, and always the toughest reservation in town, these temporary spots are taking hold all over the country. In LA, there's Ludobites, with chef Ludovic Lefebvre opening up in a new location every few months. In San Francisco, there's Mission Chinese Food, a modern Chinese restaurant within a conventional Chinese restaurant. Update your twitter feed to follow local chefs and food media, then watch for one near you. Sounds exhusting for everyone involved!
Forest Is the New Farm: Locavore foraging has gone loco! Anyone can grow an heirloom vegetable, but only the most intrepid chefs can find and cook well with moss, lichen, pine needles, seaweed, and hay--just a few of the "found" ingredients that chefs are working onto their menus. Ummm...what exactly are chefs doing with pine straw and hay?
You're Gonna Eat Bunny Rabbit: We know they're cute, but so are pigs. Rabbit is the other other white meat. It's a versatile ingredient, it's sustainable, and, yes, it tastes like chicken. That's why chefs of all stripes (at Animal in LA, Cochon in New Orleans, The Girl and the Goat in Chicago, to name a few) are hopping on the trend with delicious dishes like rabbit and kale ravioli, deep fried rabbit legs, rabbit and dumplings, and rabbit rillettes. Nope...not me! I ate rabbit once, and thought it was very gamey.
Asian-Fusion 2.0: We're not talking wasabi mashed potatoes or miso-glazed cod. Here's the new-and-improved iteration of American food: Kimchi quesadillas. Vietnamese chicken pot pie. French onion soup dumplings. All bets are off when it comes to using Asian ingredients and techniques in irreverent but always satisfying ways. YUM!! I love Asian everything. I can't wait to see what our local Atlanta chefs come up with.
Noodle Mania: From homemade cavatelli (it's easier than you think) to hand-pulled rice noodles (it's as hard as it sounds), noodles are everywhere. Ramen, strozapretti, spaetzle, you name it. And not just in restaurants. Home cooks now have at their disposal local and imported specialty flours and kitchen gadgets to help them make noodles like a pro. Throw away you box of Ronzoni. Once you taste how much more flavorful and delicate homemade pasta is, dried pasta will seem like cardboard.