Home Cooking trends this decade. What were yours?
- Shane Greenwood Dec 31, 2009 07:37 AM
I am seeing lots of decade in review lists but none if them are about home cooking. I think this could be called the decade of the foodie. Since 2000, Food Network exploded, cookbooks became one of the hottest gifts, the word "localvore" was invented, Top Chef and other shows took off, Chowhound went mainstream, Omnivore's Delimma came out, etc. So what were your personal food trends, how has your home cooking changed in the 2000's?
For me, my home cooking changed dramatically this decade in a few simple but profound ways, and I suspect these are trends that a lot of folks have tapped into as well:
-Started shopping local & seasonal. Supermarkets are out (mostly), farmers markets and local purveyors are in. Got a CSA too.
-Became more adventurous with ingredients, cuisines, and techniques. My repertoire in the kitchen is 5 times bigger now and my spice rack tripled in size. I have 6 kinds of salt, 4 kinds of pepper, etc.
-Started reading ingedient labels in an effort to cut down on chemical additives and HFCS
-Acquired a ton of cookbooks but get my recipes from the Internet.
-Cook more for pleasure than for fuel.
I now shop at the Farmer's Market, have cut back even further on prepackaged food, I had to give up gluten and dairy, so that has really changed the way I cook. It has been a huge transition, I am exploring breakfast options.
re: Shane Greenwood
Only shopping local, whenever possible. Switched to about 99% organic.
Returning to a much simpler, rustic form of cooking. Less fussiness. Concentrating more on the ingredients than overwrought preparations.
Started growing my own everything, got some chickens, bake my own bread, preserving produce. Started using raw dairy products.
Mostly a response to what has been revealed about corporate foods, but also the discovery of real food, heirloom varieties of produce and meat.
Great question, I hadn't realized how big the changes I have made, actually were.
Although my ingredients and pantry have become MUCH more varied, my general cooking style has become much more relaxed. No longer do I try to outdo Martha Stewart. ;-)
Ironically, we're eating FEWER organic items, because the wonderful Midwestern food cooperative that I've belonged to since 1988 (and "carried with me" when I moved from town to town, as I met new friends and formed new buying clubs) sold out to a Monster Corporation, and now they actively discourage buying clubs. I was stocking my entire pantry and fridge with organics bought at WHOLESALE prices. Now, I can't afford as much...
On the other hand, during my brief growing season, it's easier than ever to eat organic produce--either from my own garden or from farmer's markets.
Our olive oil use/consumption skyrocketed during this decade. Goodby, trans fats and corn oils!
I've been cooking ethnic foods for decades, so nothing's changed, there, except that I've started looking upon the "stuffy status quo" cuisines, like French and Italiian, with a new respect.
I incorporated sous-vide and molecular techniques, which wound up simplifying my cooking because I stopped fussing with multi-ingredient preparations. Can't say that what I cook has significantly changed (French, Japanese, Chinese - hmm, reads like Iron Chef) but my sourcing has. The supermarkets are still there for staples but I rely heavily on a handful of suppliers (local bouchers and greengrocers).
Still have a dinky kitchen but the two other great improvements have been acquiring an induction hob and doing a major knife upgrade.
I did give up baking because I realized that it just kept me angry.
As I've posted elsewhere on this site: In 2007 I got canning supplies. In 2008 I got the Ball canning book. In 2009 I finally got the nerve. I can hardly believe it took me so long to summon up the courage to try home preserving. If you study the process and carefully follow the steps, it's as safe as it is delicious. I gave jars of mustard, marmalade, chutney and salsa as holiday gifts this year and nobody's keeled over yet.
I also braise a lot more now than I did ten years ago. Part of the appeal of braising is that we do a lot more dinner parties now and braising is perfect for that since you can get it going earlier in the day, you don't need precision timing, and it holds well. My Dutch Oven got the biggest workout of any pot.
doing a lot more outdoor grilling, even in the winter. just can't get enough of it. that and i stopped going on the internet looking up a million different marinades for the meat. i found a simple one that works and just tweek it a little every now and then if i want someting different
Ha, I was reading all the above posts and agreeing - yes, I'm using more local and seasonal foods, making more things from scratch, etc. But those are all things I've started in the last 2 years. 10 years ago, I was a college freshman and the only things I ate were grilled cheese and easy mac. So yes, in the last 10 years, I have learned to cook for myself, learned to plan a weekly menu, eat vegetables, use better ingredients, and eat things that take longer than 3 minutes to prepare. (Though I did just have a grilled cheese yesterday, maybe I haven't changed as much as I thought!)
In the past decade I've been using whole food ingredients, and have eliminated all the worst processed foods from my diet. Stopped drinking Dr Pepper, no more fast food, no more frozen crap, no HFCS. Lots of organics as they've become much more available. I also have better cookware than I did 10 years ago ... as my original choices have worn out, I've made better ones.
But even I don't eat as healthily as my dogs do! And 10 years ago I didn't have them to cook for.
Well, in the past ten years I've aged from 30 to (almost - in May) 40, and have seen my kids from 2, 7 and 8 to 12, 17 and 18. So, so much has changed in that time that my cooking has definitely changed alongside so many other things.
Convenience foods are out (so is my high-stress job which made them actually convenient), and little things I never considered "convenient" - just normal, are out, like salad dressing. No matter how ill-stocked my pantry is at any given moment, there's something in there for an amazing dressing.
Also, I can sneak the occasional vegetarian dish into my repertoire w/out freaking anyone in my family out. Lentil tacos? No problem.
Really, there've been huge changes, but they're so small I don't notice them, or see them even in hindsight! But mostly I guess, overall "healthier" but w/out making any effort to be more healthy.
In the past ten years I've utilized the internet as a source of cooking advice - I've almost completely ceased relying on my cookbooks and I basically only take my recipes from chowhound, epicurious, etc. I've also learned to rely on fewer ingredients, focusing on coaxing maximum flavors out of quality ingredients.
I seem to be a bit of a contrarian on trends, don’t know why
Out went braising and grilling came in.
Small boutique shops are out – same product cheaper prices at big stores is in.
Organic out – sensible use of fertilizers and pesticides is in – along with an increase in crop yield and better flavors (moderation is the key)
Hydroponics and winter farming in
Long term root cellaring of crops is in
Cheese have made a big resurgence in my cooking
Simple large meals are out the joy of multi-course meals are in
Cuisines that left my view Korean, Japanese (esp sushi) and Italian (over-done), cuisines that increased in prominence, Latin American, Ethiopian / African.
Less parties for party sake – more theme parties and intelligent get-togethers.
The past decade saw me mature from adolescence to adulthood (at least on paper), so I'm not certain how much of the change in my cooking style results from me becoming an independent wage-earner and how much is influenced by the foodways around me.
I prefer to shop locally and seasonally, but that is partially due to the fact that I do not live near large supermarkets that simultaneously carry Mexican tomatoes and Florida grapefruits. That and the quality and price of produce is best in season. The latter also partially explains why I have moved from beef/lamb to pork as my protein of choice.
I have simplified my cooking and eating habits, largely thanks to Sam Fujisaka's influence. Not that I don't occasionally make the 6-course cream-based dinner, but this has become a rare occurence. I no longer cook to impress, but I still cook to entertain.
I do a lot less grilling and a lot more oven roasting. I no longer turn my nose up at fish. I grow no herbs or vegetables. These switches also coincide with moving from the nation's interior to Manhattan.
What catches me more is not how much I have changed in 10 years, but how much like my parents I have become as an adult. My cabinets are full of spice envelopes that make my cupboards smell like an Indian market and the larder is filled with enough canned meat to see me through Armageddon. Now charged with cleaning my own stove every night, I wonder if my parents had it right when contrary to all good taste, they wrapped their kitchen up in aluminum foil so as to save on clean up time. My lips taste like the Indian pickle I always found so offensive on my father's plate and I long for the bittermelon I once teased around my plate while my mother scolded me to eat my vegetables.
10 years ago I still relied on Bisquick because I didn't bake much. Now biscuits, pancakes, etc. are all from scratch and much tastier than before. I've always been something of a seasonal eater, but that's because food tastes better when it's in season and fresh. I'm definitely a fan of local, sustainable foods, and I realize now I probably always was; I just didn't realize it. 10 years ago I knew the strawberries I picked in Jun were better than any I could buy, but I hadn't paid much attention to the politics of food. Heck, 10 years ago, I don't think I realized there was such thing as the politics of food! Recently my SIL asked me for my roasted asparagus recipe (I've converted her to many veggies over the years) and my reply was "First, you wait until April...."
I guess awareness of where food comes from and a conscious choice to choose local food when possible (I'm not giving up coffee or chocolate anytime soon!) along with cooking almost everything from scratch are the biggest changes for me.
I use a lot more vinegars (varieties and amounts) and a whole lot less butter and sugar -- much less baking these days. Also, a better quality olive oil for daily use and a few small bottles of flavored olive oils for playing around with. Love topping off sauteed mushrooms with truffle oil!
I'm increasing my vegetable repetoire thanks to the Asian grocery near me. I have more mustards and a lot smaller jar of mayo in the fridge. I'm picky about apples now -- a decade ago, as long as it was something other than a Red Delicious, it was probably good enough.