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food trends for 2008......

I'd like to see more -local foods please, prepared simply....

less- crusted, oversauced, and overembellished to cover up the poor quality of the ingredients.

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  1. Shocks! And I'm looking forward to sushi w/ white truffles...

    1 Reply
    1. re: RicRios

      I find the lack of white truffles in the midwest disturbing...

      Recipes, Restaurant Reviews and More - My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

    2. I would like to see a renewed interest in happy hour. Not your typical happy hour. Maybe more at home. I love little appetizer plates - like tapas - with unique flavors. Grape truffles - grapes enrobed with bleu and goat cheese and rolled in pistachios.

      My blog http://www.dinnersforayear.blogspot.com

      1 Reply
      1. re: eatmyfood

        I too would love to see the resurgence of cocktail hour at home. I guess with people commuting longer distances it's more difficult these days. But maybe as a weekend thing.

      2. I'd like for vegetable dishes to get more attention, not just as an alternative for vegetarians. The return of the cocktail - the real kind, not these appletini things. Also, simple dinner parties, where you have a couple friends over for a family-style meal, without raiding five gourmet shops and taking half a day off work to figure out wine pairings.

        I'd like to see less: $30+ entrées in restaurants; food snobbism of any kind; cupcakes (didn't their 15 minutes expire, like, three years ago??)

        6 Replies
        1. re: piccola

          Here here, I third the vote for better vegetable appreciation and I'm all for the end of the cupcake craze...when the icing outweighs the cake by 2:1 that's just wrong :)

          1. re: piccola

            Here here!! I sometimes fret for weeks over a dinner party and spend way to much $$ trying to impress on a complex dish! Not doing it anymore! I probably put the pressure on myself. I think that is what is keeping people from getting together anymore afraid that they will not live up to the expectations of today. But I do know a few friends/aquaintances who I would not invite for dinner just for that reason. Snobbery.
            We can't afford to eat out anymore as much as we liked. I would like to see smaller portions at restaurants WITH the smaller price attached.

            1. re: chocchipcookie

              Ditto on the smaller portions and prices. One of my favourite restaurants in Montreal serves three sizes for the entree - it satisfies everyone and avoids wasting the extra food.

              1. re: piccola

                What resto in Montreal? I'm in Calgary now but back to Montreal a few times a year and I'd love to try it :)

                1. re: maplesugar

                  It's called Spirite Lounge, on Ontario St. But keep in mind the decor is, uh, special - and so is the service. In other words, not a date place.

                  1. re: piccola

                    Thanks heh I googled it and it sounds, um, special heh I wonder if the decor has changed since the review I read.... it mentioned blue leopard and tassled pillows. The you must eat everything rule is funny...I wish it worked in my house ;) I'll check it out but I think you're right, it probably won't be on date night.

          2. A second vote for the glorification of vegetables--not just for vegetarians.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Non Cognomina

              I just checked this book out of the library: 366 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans, and Grains. It's amazing (but no pictures!).

              .. I may be behind the times as I know grains were going strong again last year, but haven't caught on completely.

              http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0452...

              I am not vegan (or even vegetarian) , but this is my favorite new cookbook: Veganomicon (they even made it on NPR - uber trendy). http://www.amazon.com/Veganomicon-Ult...

            2. having discovered last week that tempura is incredibly easy, if messy, to make at home, that will be a personal food trend in my house...

              1. I would like to see a resurgence of interest in American home cooking.

                14 Replies
                1. re: sueatmo

                  I think that trend has been going strong for years, eveidenced by the whole "comfort food" trend.

                  1. re: HungryRubia

                    I suppose. But how many of your acquaintances make pies from scratch, or fry chicken? Or make chicken and dumplings, or potato salad? And, where is it likely you could find similar items done with pride at a restaurant? To me, it is as if an entire genre of cuisine is being lost.

                    1. re: HungryRubia

                      There's a big difference between "comfort food" like meat loaf, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese and American regional food done well. It's based on local products and the history of the people who settled the various regions. Sueatmo is right that it's almost been lost by the homogenization of food trends, fast foods, and fewer people cooking from scratch.
                      Many people denigrate American food, preferring to chase ethnic trends or prepare the foods of other countries which they have decided are superior. Restaurants and home chefs stopped preparing and serving it with pride so many people have no knowledge of fine American food.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        I am not trying to be flippant about the American Home Cooking trend, I also agree that it's been hijacked by those who use shoddy ingredients. However, I think that when people think of American home cooking their thoughts do go to mac and cheese and meatloaf etc. and at least in the NYC area, that trend has been beaten to death.
                        And to answer suetamo's question, my friends and I are in the numbers that make things from scratch.....I make my own pie crust, pasta, chicken stock and when I make deviled eggs I make my own mayo; so I would like to think that I am doing my part to preserve home cooking in general (I'm Dominican so my home cooking is rice and beans etc).
                        And I agree that there is a HUGE lack of restaurants that don't put much pride in their food.

                        1. re: HungryRubia

                          HR I am thrilled that you are doing your own pie crust, mayo (wow!) and chicken stock. I was actually hoping you would write back and tell me that you are. Perhaps it is generational, but most of my friends, even as far back as the 1970s, simply abandoned real cooking. Or, more accurately, they never learned.

                          I don't know how to characterize my own home cooking. Probably small town or rural, but not really Southern. For me, mac and cheese is not a remembered food. Meat loaf yes, and my sweetie wishes I would make it sometime! I suppose somewhere in my area there are restaurants which do "comfort food." I don't know of any. Mostly, around me are chains, chains and more chains.

                          I know of no locally-owned restaurant in my area which cooks good American style food. And I think its a shame.

                    2. re: sueatmo

                      I have a hunch that you're on to something. Alice Waters has been a leader in food thought for a very long time. Look at her latest book: The Art of Simple Food. A clear step back from the Shock and Awe of what we've been seeing in restaurants for awhile now with elaborate tasting menus and chefs trying to outdo one another with rare and expensive ingredients gathered from the far corners of the Earth.
                      Restaurants have increasingly become places to gather for drinks and appetizers, to split small plates, in public places, rather than to break bread with close friends and linger over meals. Waters' style emphasizes local and regional which ties in with the sensibilities of the times. As the economy tightens, it's likely more people will look to her. This is food that people can do themselves with what they can find locally.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        I am afraid that as the economy tightens, people will not be able to afford to eat out except at cheap fast food places. I hope I am wrong.

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          We've already seen it. Not a question of "as the economy tightens," because it has already been tight for people who wanted to experience good food but were priced out as entrée prices rose dramatically. Splitting entrées became common, then skipping them altogether in favor of small plates or a couple of appetizers. Restaurants responded with tasting menus and expanded appetizers offerings. Many places are all small plates or tapas. Charcuterie or cheese plates can be shared by the table.
                          People live in smaller apartments (or shared spaces) where they can't entertain so they meet their friends in public places. They won't stop going out and won't do that at McD's. They'll change the way they eat, but it still has to be at an acceptable venue.
                          It has already changed the restaurant scene.

                          1. re: sueatmo

                            I agree and I find it dismaying that people would much rather eat at the Cheesecake Factory or another chain like that instead of going to a local place that will use better ingredients and cost about the same.
                            I live in the Hudson Valley, just north of NYC. I am blessed to live in a town with a lively and varied restaurant scene and the cost of a meal with wine or a good beer for Mr. HR in one of the local places that sources it ingredients from the area, will cost almost the same as an oversalted, mediocre meal at one of the chains at the local mall.
                            MakingSense is right, people like me won't stop going out but we won't go to a fast food joint either, but we have had to make some changes: instead of a full dinner it may be drinks and appetizers or coffee and dessert at one of our favorite haunts.
                            Food is an all consuming passion for me and I do not discriminate..... I enjoy a superbly prepared shepherd's pie at my local pub with the same gusto that I enjoyed my 8 course birthday dinner at Babbo. Am I saying they compare? No... but both are equal in the sense that they used the best ingredients available, and prepared them flawlessly. You can't ask for more than that.

                            1. re: HungryRubia

                              I wonder what it means for the future of independent restaurants when serious eaters like Mr. and Mrs. HR are eating mostly pub food, appetizers, and desserts when they go out. You may be fortunate to have a good local rest. scene but will those not so lucky be doomed to chains when they want meals and can't afford Babbo?
                              Where is the middle? Has it died? Can only the chains afford to present the $12 meals that people want and can afford on a regular basis? Yuck.

                              1. re: MakingSense

                                Honestly, we find it hard to even afford the chains like Applebees. Occasionally, we go out to a local owned and operated Chinese buffet (around $30 for the whole family of 4 to eat) or buy pizza (usually around $25-30) from a local guy in a very small town. Sometimes we stop at a Burger King when we're not at home and need something quick but more often than not, I cook at home. We can have better food at much better prices.

                                1. re: alliedawn_98

                                  I woudl totally agree that chains like Applebees are not inexpensive. By the time you add in appetizers and dessert, it can get very expensive for a family of four. Since you can make a lot of their fare at home for much cheaper, it just doesn't seem worth the cost.

                                  Heck, I'm even finding fast food expensive. What does a full meal cost at BK? about $5-6 bucks? Times that by a family of four, and you are at $20 - 24. You can make a really great healthy pasty for way cheaper. You are right on, Alliedawn!

                                  1. re: alliedawn_98

                                    You are really right. Even the chain meals for a family start to add up to the cost of 1/2 a week's grocery bill - if you're a careful shopper - or the cable bill, or something else.
                                    Several of them are starting to see their sales drop off and it won't be a surprise to see more of a decline. We may be looking at an increase in home-cooked meals. At least among those who haven't forgotten how!

                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                      We usually spend around $20 if we go to BK. It's definitely not as cheap as grilling burgers, making fries, and eating at home.

                                      My grocery budget usually runs $100-150 per week. I shop at two different stores and sometimes 3, depending on the sales that week. I spend probably 2 hours on Friday making a weekly menu going by the sales. Then I go through the pantry and see what else I need to make those meals. When I see in-store specials, I may buy those to stock up the pantry. Some weeks I can even go with $60 or less a week. These amounts even include health and beauty as well as paper goods. The last time I went to Applebee's was probably 5+ years ago and it was around $50. I just can't see it unless we're on a vacation or something and then we try to go to local restaurants.

                        2. Apple, it appears that you've started more of a foodie wish list for the new year...I would like to see restaurant kitchens somehow reconcile portions size, plating, presentation and artwork with cost...I'd rather come away satisfied and contented, rather than hang the dish on the wall in my living room...I do enjoy the visual aspect, but I'd rather not be hungry when I leave the establishment...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: gutreactions

                            Hurrah! Real cocktails as a slow down before a quiet dinner are a great plus as is the increased attention to vegetables. I am fortunate to be married to a woman who really enjoys cooking and takes the time and effort to seek out a particularly interesting prep. You are right on track for the new year.

                            1. re: gutreactions

                              I think part of the reason cost and portion size will not be reconciled is the need to have a high total price on meals so that tips are proportionally bigger. I believe you'll have resistance to anything that reduces the overall meal cost as long as waiters and waitresses have to rely on tips because of the paltry pay they receive.

                              However much I agree with you, I think there are impediments to it happening.

                            2. I second the desire for a move away from the million varieties of grody sweet "martini" drinks (none of which are martinis). Even the wine bars I go to now push a "martini menu" in front of you. Get out of my face! I came here for wine!

                              I'd like to see a push for less salty foods in restaurants. I theorized on another site that perhaps the reason so much restaurant food tastes salty to me now is because I quit smoking several years ago, and this is when I noticed the salt. Considering how many cooks/chefs smoke, who says this can't be a factor?

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                rockandroll:
                                interesting theory on the smoking/salt connection, as I feel oversalted now that i've quit for over 3 years, though i'm using the same amount of salt that i used to.

                                1. re: rockandroller1

                                  Maybe more the emphasis on salt. Or should we say, salts - plural? People never used to think about it as more than a seasoning until it became trendy. Sea salts of all kinds from exotic places that diners were supposed to distinguish among if they were sophisticated enough. They were even mentioned on menus. Special "finishing" salts. When it reached the forefronts of everyone's minds, their hands went to the salt BOWL instead of the shaker. Then diners added salt to things that might not have needed it. It's hard to get a light touch of some of the coarse salts.

                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                    It is too easy to disguise poorly prepared or substandard food by adding salt and sugar.

                                    1. re: rockandroller1

                                      Oh...real cocktails....yes, more please!!!! I am constantly reading articles about the rebirth of the cocktail (more sidecars, fewer appletinis) but even living here in LA, I still get a blank stare when I order something that isn't on the gross sweet list, or has more than 2 ingredients! Bring back real bartenders!

                                      1. re: french roast

                                        No kidding - give me a real, classic bartender, not a trendy "mixologist" who shakes up a blue drink and names it after him/herself.

                                    2. Here in the suburbs, I'd like to see more people supporting local farmers by shopping at farmers markets.
                                      I'd like to see more local organically-grown produce and meats at supermarkets.

                                      Things have gotten better in the past decade, but there is a long way to go.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: val ann c

                                        To add to the sentiment of more people supporting local farmers, I'd also like to see more people supporting the growth of heirloom varieties. No more homogeneity!

                                      2. I'd like to see a return of non-chain markets - farmers markets and year round city markets. I agree that cocktails are staging a comeback and I'm glad about that. There's a new Pie cafe near where I live, maybe pies will be the "new burrito."

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: steinpilz

                                          Wow I really like where this thread went!
                                          Hear hear to more dinners with friends and family, be it Taco Night or vegetable sides only. Let's stop giving ourselves such a hard time about putting a meal together.
                                          My friends and I are all making babies these days and it can be so tough to put a good meal together. It's really nice to just make a component of a dish and get together with the other new parents for a little time together.
                                          I also enjoy the communal Sunday brunch together. We did this with friends this week, it was so nice to socialize and not feel pressured to leave because of bedtimes or early working hours!

                                          1. re: Apple.at.chin.

                                            Yes, Apple, stop giving yourself a hard time! Somewhere along the line, things went wrong and people thought they had to do knock-their-sox-off restaurant style meals just to have a few friends over. Crap! We didn't do this years ago when we had young kids. We'd call people and invite them over for scrambled eggs and bacon and toast on Sunday morning. It was called breakfast - not brunch. People came over to watch a football game and grabbed some chips on the way. There was always some cheese in the fridge or I'd run to the grocery and grab something to make at the last minute. Maybe some chicken to throw on the grill. Nobody cared if the coleslaw came from the deli.
                                            We were still able to entertain beautifully with planned meals and actually did black tie dinners (different day and age I guess) with the same friends, but not planning ahead never stopped us from having good times on the spur of the moment.

                                        2. To echo many of the sentiments already expressed in this thread, I would like to see more emphasis on the quality and integrity of the food itself, and less emphasis on quantity and trendy preparation methods. I am glad to see that food movements including those known as "locally-grown", "organic", and "slow" food, have become so popular. On the other hand, I hope to see them become more the "norm" than the "trend". The preeminent condition of food should be its natural, unadulterated state. Not hormone-injected, bleached, toxin-sprayed, or otherwise chemically processed. I believe that the average consumer's access to natural, nutritious, fresh foods should be a bigger priority in this country, mostly for health reasons, but also as a matter of cultural and social enrichment.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: vvvindaloo

                                            I like to incorporate these fresh nutritious foods into family recipes that have been passed down, making them better than ever before. Well, maybe not better than Grandma, but freshened up a bit.

                                            1. re: Apple.at.chin.

                                              me too. even if that simply means substituting locally-grown organic lettuces in my salad. or using my grandmother's recipe and method for tomato sauce, but buying actual Italian tomatoes certified as coming from a protected agricultural area.