It’s the dawn of a new year, and with that comes more than just little-used fitness memberships and NFL playoffs. Each and every new year brings out the pundits. The predictors. The soothsayers. (Here’s a joke I just made up: Who does a soothsayer go to see when he has a sooth-ache? Answer: a Transcendentist.)
And who are we to miss this train? Herein lies (in no particular order) our picks for this years biggest, baddest, and most trendy food trends.
Healthier kid fare
As parents, and even kids, become more conscious of what they eat, more and more healthy choices aimed at the ten-and-under crowd will make their way to grocery shelves. We’re not saying it won’t still be frozen or convenience food, but don’t be surprised to see some healthier, more natural selections.
Portion diets rather than elimination diets (i.e. Atkins, South Beach)
Remember when the Atkins diet was all the craze? Well people know now apparently what they didn’t know then. Eliminating entire food groups from a diet is simply not healthy, and can even be dangerous. While still avoiding generally unhealthy foods, like foods high in saturated fat or high fructose corn syrup, smart and healthy dieters are embracing things like carbohydrates and fats. But they are tailoring their diets by eating smaller portions.
Traditional dishes with non-traditional ingredients (i.e. Shepherd’s Pie with pulled pork instead of ground beef)
We are becoming more creative and daring with our ingredients. Perhaps this is because of The Food Network, or maybe it’s due to a wider variety of fresh ingredients being more readily available. Regardless, today’s home chefs are more willing than ever to reinvent traditional recipes and to mess with tradition. And now that we think about it, it may have more to do with the desire to utilize the fresh ingredients home chefs have on hand.
Mixed ethnic offerings (i.e. Asian tacos)
Korean BBQ tacos, anyone? Food fusion is not just for trendy restaurants anymore. Savvy home chefs are painting with broader strokes by combining disparate ethnic favorites into savory selections.
Smaller portions at meal-time, with more snacks throughout the day
Many health and fitness experts are beginning to promote a diet where we eat carbohydrates and proteins every three hours, hungry or not, while forgoing traditional big meals. By doing so, the protein and fat (most proteins contains some fat) help keep the carbohydrates in the stomach longer, which increases gastric emptying time. We won’t get into all the gritty details here, but suffice to say that doing so helps burn your body’s fat stores, while helping you feel energized.
Plain old mashed potatoes are for the Cleavers (you remember June, Ward, Wally and the Beaver, right). Today’s home chefs are getting more and more creative with their potato companions. Prosciutto, brie, brown sugar, mustard, and artichoke bottoms are just some whacky (and by “whacky,” we mean “delicious”) suggestions. And when it comes to french fries, don’t be surprised to see some new twists in toppings, as well as enjoying them cooked in pure beef fat, pork fat, or duck fat.
Perhaps an outgrowth of the push towards buying locally grown or produced foods, itself a trend from recent years, small, local markets are gaining favor, especially in urban areas where city dwellers (”localvores”) are paying more attention (pun intended) to whose pockets their dollars line. Locally owned small businesses actually have the leg up over the big box stores in this case.
Here’s how it works: Invite some friends over for dinner, and when they ask you what they can bring, give them a list of ingredients for one or two of the side dishes. Then when the cooking begins, get them involved. Today’s homes have larger, open floor plans that play to the fact that the kitchen is always where the party ends up anyway, so you may as well start it there, too.
There you have it. Think you can play this game, too? Have some trends of your own that you think will show up in the months to come? Please share them with us in the comments section. We love to hear from you!
Posted by Kyle Durlam, MFFII meat dept. and wordsmith.