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What are YOUR predictions for 2012 food trends?

So people are making their predictions everywhere. Seriouseats has their list, chow has some of their guesses, even my local paper is taking some guesses. But I want to know what the Hounds think! Here are some of mine:

Beets! I think theyre gonna have a boom this year. already seen them making appearances this season

Almonds. Especially marcona. theyre delicious, healthier, and make fantastic nut butter

Cinnamon Rolls. Theyre sweet, yeasty, gooey, and endlessly adaptable.

Scones. like cupcakes, can be made sweet or savory, and are fast, easy, and delicious

Farro. Again, very versatile, and a good change from rice and pasta

Downfall of some trends: I think its about time for cupcakes and gourmet grilled cheese to go about their merry way. In their place: ice cream and dressed-up grits, respectively.

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  1. Beets? I happen to love them but a friend commented the other night as we tried a new restaurant "aren't we done with beets yet?" as there were multiple beet options on the menu. Beets were the food trend of about 2007 and have yet to disappear.

    8 Replies
    1. re: ferret

      Why should something as basic as basic as beets disappear or appear? They've always been there, perhaps the spotlight wasn't on them. The same goes for lettuce, peas, potatoes or bread.

      1. re: Wawsanham

        I'm not suggesting they should disappear, just that the focus on beets as a "food trend" is behind us. It's a pretty ubiquitous ingredient - not as much as in Eastern Europe, but hard to consider as an underutilized item.

        1. re: ferret

          well... ive never cooked with them before and have only eaten them a handful of times. so they might be a new food trend in my house!

          1. re: ferret

            I agree, ferret. Where I am (which is not in eastern Europe) they're a common item on restaurant menus and, of course, similarly readily available in the supermarkets.

        2. re: ferret

          You can look at Top Chef from last week, where they said something to the effect of beets being over and done with. I happen to really like beets, but I see them all the time on menus, and I'd like to see something else get highlighted. Cinnamon rolls would be a tasty dessert on-the-go to replace cupcakes, they'd get my vote. Farro, amaranth, and buckwheat would be three great carbs to go to after quinoa. Granted, I've been eating quinoa for about.... 12 years, but again, seeing it everywhere on menus gets old.

            1. re: melpy

              I really like the nutty flavor quinoa has, but then again, I always cook it in vegetable broth so I'm not tasting it in it's unadulterated form.

              1. re: melpy

                With you on that. My son loves it.

          1. I realize this thread is about trends, but if you (or a lot of people) like certain foods, can't they be on menus all the time--can't they just become "common and traditional". What's wrong with that even if some people get bored? Might it be that one of the problematic attitudes and approaches Americans have to food--which has lead to all kinds of pernicious consequences--is this demand for everything to constantly to change and be new? What about cherishing one's own food cultures?

            1. Comments about one's own preferences or experiences are not really what this topic is about, seems to me. This is about trendiness more than actual trends: where's the buzz? You'll probably never get any Southerner over fifty to eat a beet, much less like them, but even in Nashville the beet salad is on trendy-place menus, as it is out here in SoCal. And I'll not tire of it, nor will Mrs. O, but I think as a trendy thing it's had its moment. As for what else is over, I think bacon and pork belly will settle into simply being ingredients where they're appropriate; much as I adore bacon, I'll not be sorry to see it stop being so overused.

              I'm looking for new vegetables, or new interest in heirloom varieties of potatoes, corn, rice, the cabbages and their relatives. As humane food animal practices become more common, and one hopes the norm, some meats we've been avoiding because of abusive handling practices, such as veal, should regain their old popularity. As more people take up animal farming and respectfully-raised meat becomes more widely available, I believe this will help to tilt the market enough to make the factory farmers and the big packers see this as a bandwagon they need to get on. I do NOT expect to see humanely-raised Berkshire boneless pork loin on sale for $3/lb, but I do expect to see the meat in Ralphs' meat case, at a price the occasional carnivore can afford. Oh, and I also expect to see more occasional carnivores, both former veggies who gave up meat on humane grounds and committed omnivores who are finding more attractive non-meat options.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Will Owen

                I agree with you, Will, about the heirloom vegetables. The great success (and exposure) that Sean Brock has been enjoying should help push the trend. Moreover, it's one worth lauding.

                I similarly find your related thoughts concerning the gastronomical opportunities arising out of changes in acceptable animal farming methods to be on the right track. It's not hard to see how both of these potential food trends are arising from a fundamental, and welcome, shift in the zeitgeist. Growing distrust in the motives and products of massive, international corporations is perhaps most recognizable when people make choices about what they put on their plates.

                1. re: MGZ

                  I do "trust" the motives of those guys, however much I fail to share them. I trust them to keep an eye on which way the market is heading and to assure their own continuing survival and success by co-opting the new practices. Okay, if we have to treat the pigs nice, dammit, we will. Let'em run and play. Just make sure it gets plenty of publicity.

                  I haven't bought any Niman Ranch products since Bill Niman got forced out and his practices, if not dropped, then seriously compromised. But I'm still pretty sure that those animals are treated better than the ones at Harris Ranch or any of Farmer John's suppliers.

                2. re: Will Owen

                  I'm a southerner over fifty, and I like beets!

                  1. re: Cliocooks

                    My sincerest congratulations! What I encountered most often during my 27 years in Nashville was the attitude expressed by a man at the plate-lunch counter of an H.G. Hill store and the server: "What's THAT?" "Them's beets." "People eat them?" "Not me, man, they're just nasty!" "So why ya got'em?" "Boss said so, but they ain't movin'." "He from somewheres else?" "Chicago!" "Figures." So of course I had to have some, along with the fried chicken and some mac'n'cheese. Pickled ones weren't uncommon, but plain cooked and buttered beets were thin on the ground. I'm sure that has changed a bit; I get a daily email posting from Miel, a restaurant in Nashville that grows most of its produce, and they frequently have beets on the menu.

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      I like roasting and pickling beets, but the darn things are expensive and stain everything they get near.

                  2. re: Will Owen

                    Are we talking the application of beets, such as in a beet and goat cheese starter out of a cylinder, as an ethnic staple such as borscht, or just as is?

                  3. Farro, quinoa and pie. Also, as a flavor, orgeat.

                    1. Restaurants in 2011 went to pork belly to be trendy and yet offer a good price point. Consumers went for it. 2012 will be the year of "sausage cuisine--"boutique sausages made in-house and served with European sides. (Especially with pasta.) I agree that cupcakes have run their course and will be replaced by rustic breads---served with sausage.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Leper

                        You may be on to something there with the sausages. Where I live there is a new restaurant by a major restauranteur in an up and coming neighborhood that focuses on in-house sausages. If that's not an indicator of a new trend, I don't know what is. The force behind this restaurant did steakhouse before that was trendy, gastropub before that was trendy, comfort food before that was trendy, etc.

                        1. re: gaffk

                          And sausage is something that offers the cooks room for creativity and pride in a house-made product without having to write a HACCP plan to do cured meats. Fresh sausage is a safe, easy, quick form of charcuterie, and charcuterie in general has been increasingly popular the last few years. Plenty of chefs would love to cure and hang their own prosciutto, coppa cola, etc. but time, space, and the health department are major obstacles.

                        2. re: Leper

                          Interesting sausage comment. I was going to say it appears meatballs are blowing up everywhere. People seem to be bored with sliders and burgers are burgers, but I keep seeing meatballs popping up on menus. The thing with gourment meatballs, is that they can be served alone or within other dishes. There is also so many varieties of meats that can be used.

                          1. re: jhopp217

                            I just can't see the meatball thing at all. Far less interesting than a slider or burger, at least those one can put topping, such as cheese, but put something in a meatball? Just seems really mundane. That is not to be critical of the poster, rather just the way I see it.

                            I guess, all I can see about the meatball is how it utterly failed in The Great Next Restaurant reality show that Bobby Flay did. In the end folks said," but it's just a meatball. "

                            1. re: Quine

                              i think meatballs are pretty variable. you can make them from any meat you can form into a ball, you can top them with any sauce, you can flavor them with any spice, stuff them with anything small enough to wrap some ground meat around (or just use enough ground meat to wrap whatever you want to stuff in it) serve them on a sandwich, on a grain or pasta, on pizza, chopped or whole...