This Year's Girl

Esquire recently published a list of annoying food trends. Included: high-end burgers and pizzas, waiters named Todd, and the phrase "farm to table". Gourmet's artfully designed and witty photo slideshow about food and the web manages to document the frenzy of online foodie movement both critically and lovingly. It's hard to articulate my simultaneous participation in and hatred of food on the interweb. I suppose it involves a bit of self-loathing and hypocrisy.

I blog about food. I pause to take pictures of my food at restaurants. I menu scout. I plan all my vacations around meals. I concede. I'm a bougie food snob and now that it's hip to be a bougie food snob, I don't entirely welcome the new company. The trends themselves are slightly less obnoxious than the trend stories and chatter. When the newspaper of record announces that it is cool to cut off your eyebrows or flavor trip, I roll my eyes. Rather than care about food because caring about food is cool, I just care about the food dammit! But when Epicurious announced its plan to predict food trends for 2010, I couldn't help but brainstorm my own list. Most trend stories are full of just silly(peruvian is the new thai) or obvious (green, local) bullet points, so this should be easy.

Food Trend Predictions 2010

1. Granny Chic moves from the fashion and design world into food. Look for beets on restaurant menus (pickled, roasted, pureed) beyond the steakhouse. Home canning and preservation becomes both a financial security measure and a foodie statement. Comfort food is always popular. Your grandma made everything by hand...I hope you were paying attention at her apron strings.

2. Hard Cider isn't a pansy drink and some of you are figuring that out. This guy thinks so too. Ask your favorite bartenders if they've been pouring a lot of Magners recently...mine have.

3. Food and music pairings. Some restaurants here in Chicago are known for playing eccentric and loud music in the dining room. I love to make mixes specific to dinner parties and events I'm catering. In 2010, I hope dj-chefs step it up by pairing courses specifically with songs and artists. I'll get right on that.

4. Cuban food reaches the masses. Hopefully Obama's diplomatic negotiations with Cuba continue in 2010. Hell, maybe the wrongheaded embargo will be lifted.

5. People realize fast food can be good food. Street food, mobile food carts, and non-corporate quick service restaurants offer delicious alternatives to McDonald's. Rick Bayless is doing it. Paul Kahan is getting in on the action.

6. Less is more. A culinary student acquaintance who had a short stage at Tru bragged that he spent 4 hours preparing a sauce with almost fifty ingredients. My favorite chile negro sauce has three ingredients plus salt.

7. The green movement will become less of a happening and more of a norm. I'm frustrated maneuvering the farmer's market when it is filled with waif-like women sinking their towering fashionable shoes into the muddy aisles. Maybe if we had a decent year round market, people would go there to get food rather than be seen. I have many doubts about the new French Market, but here's hoping.

8. Charcuterie, good cheese, cured olives, craft beer, crusty bread, buckets of mussels. I think big communal platters of rustic foods can slow the small plate craze. Tapas are great, but this is what I want when I go to the pub for a pint.

9. Spice trend: cardamom. Keep an eye out for cardamom in ice cream, dusted on doughnuts, and in coffee drinks. I personally love chai-spiced cardamom marshmallows and a friend puts garam masala on his popcorn (genius!). It is used in foods in India, Scandinavia, the Middle East and will soon be in everything.

10. America needs to shut the hell up about bacon. This coming from a lady with 8 cups of rendered pork fat and 3 lbs of bacon in the fridge. It isn't the bacon I'm tired of, it is the talking about bacon. The endless websites devoted to gross and grosser uses of bacon. I'm bored of reading stories devoted to a trend that could be succinctly explored with a Seinfeldesque "What is the deal with all this bacon?" Awesome bacon recipes, a bacon festival, reviews of bacon products, and bacon of the month clubs are definitely still allowed. I love bacon, just not some of the people who love bacon.


Andrea said...

excellent list. well stated!

Back Garage said...

I like #8. Jem and I just visited a bar on North Ave. that served that kind of food. Unfortch it was wicked expensive -- like $70 for some craft beer and a few cheese slices and olives. I'd patronize a place that could serve those plates in quantity and charge under $30. Is that asking too much? Maybe I should just stay home.

Carrie Sauer said...

I could hear #10 perfectly in Seinfeld's voice - LOLs

I love bacon too and I'm sick of people making it look disgusting.

tasterspoon said...

I feel like a lot of people were on the canning wagon last year (also: sauerkraut) and then it kind of died out. I'm behind the curve, though, I still want to try both.

Totally with you on hard cider getting big.

Big plates of rustic food sounds awesome. I can't think of anywhere around me that has that. But my meals for entertaining are definitely getting progressively less fussy. (Or I'm getting lazy.)