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Jan 4, 2011 11:21 PM

Food trends in the coming decade?

How is the world of food transforming? And on every level.

Have yam fries secured a permanent place on mainstream menus?

What are the office workers going to be scarfing on lunch breaks?

What can we expect to see lining the shelves of Walmart?

Is fine dining starting to pull away from it's french roots as ingredients like Quinoa and Raw Food increase in popularity?

Where are we going?

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  1. I tend to be skeptical about any really adventurous advances coming. After all, Saveur is telling me that 2011 will be a big year for cheetos. That said, here are some random predictions from my crystal ball:

    pork gets fatty again, and emerges as a lower carbon footprint alternative to beef.

    a bad economy turns people on to offal, which is cheap, and can go a long way.

    recession cooking also leads to upswings in Southern, Mexican and Indian cuisine.

    for at least the first half of the decade, I think comfort food will continue to be a big thing in restaurants. I can also imagine that casseroles will be, too. Of course, they're always popular, but I can see them going even bigger. Think stouffers big.

    9 Replies
    1. re: gilintx

      With all the things being done with pork belly etc., I think it's already fatty. And why is its carbon footprint less than others?

      Re offal, again I think its already here and has been for quite a while.

      1. re: c oliver

        I don't think too many American families have really dived into offal yet. Likewise, you don't see much pork belly in home kitchens. I think they are still seen as "adventurous" food by most people, if they've heard the terms at all. Just my observation.

        1. re: c oliver

          Should have been more precise c oliver. I meant that pork breeders will make the pigs themselves fattier. It takes a few generations, but they can do it, and they have in the past. Pork have a smaller carbon footprint because pigs are smaller animals, and because they can be raised closer to your home, hence less travel. They also produce less methane than cows. Of course, chickens would be the ultimate low-carbon meat, but I don't imagine them being any more or less popular than they have been.
          Offal is cool in a haute cuisine setting, but I don't know that it's really penetrated into the mainstream. I think most Americans would blanch at tongue, sweetbreads, or tripe right now. I bet that will change.

          1. re: gilintx

            Oh, I hope so. Pork was my favorite meat as a child, because it tasted so luscious. We didn't have it very often (maybe twice a month), but it was sure delicious.

            American pork hasn't had any flavor since it became The Other White Meat.

            And now they're doing the same thing to lamb. I *like* the slightly gamy taste of lamb. Apparently now US lamb producers are breeding lamb to taste more "mild"... bah!

        2. re: gilintx

          If that post were dated Jan 05, 2001, I would have thought you a prophet.

          1. re: gilintx

            Interesting perspective gilintx, thank you.

            1. re: gilintx

              My preferred grocery store just did a significant revision of their stock, and they really bumped up their Mexican, Indian, and UK offerings. The cajun/creole influence on the local food scene continues to strengthen and it seems like every non-Asian restaurant needs to have their own version of gumbo.

              1. re: gilintx

                Offal will not "break" into the American kitchen. It's been heavily promoted in the UK and always commonly available for purchase but it's still eaten only by a small population. Offal is a hate it or leave it, and it's not surprising that the richer a society becomes the less offal they eat. Meat is already cheap enough without having to resort to offal.

                1. re: Roland Parker

                  Scrapple is pretty popular in the South- call it traditional offal, rather than trendy.

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                1. The original comment has been removed
                  1. "Is fine dining starting to pull away from it's french roots"

                    Very much so. Where I am, the main development of higher end dining has been to take traditional local ingredients, cooking, dishes, etc and put a "Michelin spin " on it. That's continue through this decade, not least as the lower carbon footprint will mitigate against unseasonal imported foods. Of course, there will be those who who say, rightly, that this actually capturing more accurately the roots of French cooking of the "cuisine de terroir".

                    For similar economic and sustainablity reasons, expect an upsurge in vegetarian cuisine.

                    1. And I find it really interesting how there seems to be these two movements peeling in opposing directions. Tons of emphasis these days on local, organic, grassroots cooking. And then on the flip side of the coin, we've got all sorts of fascinating things emerging out of molecular gastronomy.

                      I think the most successful chefs in the years to come will be those who strike a well executed balance between the two worlds, with seemingly simple preparations, done with the finesse and insight of someone who truly understands the big picture of food science.

                      And I'd have to agree with you gilintx; offal is totally in. For the north american population who have shy'd away from anything unfamiliar for so long, offal presents all these new and interesting flavours we have never before experienced. The taste of a cow suddenly has all these news levels and dimensions and possibilities now that we are not limiting ourselves to a chunk tenderloin.

                      And I think this is indicative of a really profound change beyond the food world. It's what's going on in our culture as a whole. Both Canada and America are young countries. I'd say we've hit puberty. Social responsibility is on the rise, we're taking a good look at the state of our health and the global impact of our day to day choices.

                      These are exciting times!

                      1 Reply