We’re almost a month into the New Year and certain changes in American food preferences are becoming apparent.
Still putting bacon into everything edible? No longer cool.
Still embracing that down-home decorating style of serving food and beverages and floral arrangements in canning jars? Also yesterday’s news — like the ivy-motif of the ‘90s and the apple-themed trend of the ‘70s.
Hooked on the new food truck that’s been seen lurking in Oxford Square alleys? Definitely cool…
Ethnic street food? Absolutely fire-hot, and getting hotter by the week.
The National Restaurant Association (NRA) surveys professional chefs — members of the American Culinary Federation — every Fall to identify trends in the food world. They surveyed almost 1,300 chefs for the NRA What’s Hot in 2015 lists.
We also reviewed other organizations’ food-world surveys and canvassed local top chefs, combining the results for our own list of 2015 food trends. Luckily for us, Chef Vishwesh Bhatt of City Grocery Group and the SnackBar was able to slow down long enough to give Hotty Toddy his opinion of what’s hot and what’s not.
“Pickling and canning and vegetable gardening are big again because people are realizing that this is a healthful and good thing to do.
“I’m really high on vegetables —I’m from India and grew up vegetarian. I am glad to see increasing emphasis on vegetables and less on unsustainable food sources. The carbon footprint for meat production can’t continue to expand indefinitely. Here in Mississippi, we have access to locally sourced foods, particularly in Oxford…
“We’re also continuing to see regional ethnic foods become more popular as second and third generations of new immigrant families spread out through the country. We now have Korean and Thai cuisine, and where it was Chinese food, now it’s Szechuan or Cantonese — the ethnic food is getting more region-specific.”
He noted that breakfast is becoming an important meal once more.
“People are taking time to sit down and eat a proper breakfast. And folks are going back to old recipes and traditional cooking … I’m glad to see chefs and home cooks continue to step away from processed food,” Bhatt said.
HottyToddy.com’s WHAT WAS HOT IN 2014
- Pork belly
- Salty sweets
- Brussels sprouts
- Flavored carbonated beverages, raw juices, filtered sparkling water
- Exotic and natural ice creams
- Gluten-free baked goods
- Plant-based egg substitutes
- Home-cured meats
- Chia seeds
- Ethnic street foods
- Heirloom produce
- Craft brewing
NOT DEAD YET
- Kale (holding its own cooked or fried, but kale SALAD is out… after all, raw kale is a decoration, not a food)
- Rice (because of arsenic in rice grown in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas; brown rice contains more than white rice)
- Serving food and beverages in jars
- Bacon-flavored chocolate (thank God)
WHAT’S IN FOR 2015
- Hybrid veggies & fruits (broccoflower, pluot, kalette)
- Coconut oil, pumpkin seed oil, avocado oil (return of good fats)
- New and different hot sauces
- Ramen noodles — both homemade and packaged (not just for college students’ hot pots)
- Smoked meats (think jerky)
- Pickles and other fermented foods
- Uncommon grains such as millet
- Local sourcing
- Canning and preserving
Laurie Triplette is a writer, historian, and accredited appraiser of fine arts, dedicated to preserving Southern culture and foodways. Author of the award-winning community family cookbook GIMME SOME SUGAR, DARLIN’, and editor of ZEBRA TALES (Tailgating Recipes from the Ladies of the NFLRA), Triplette is a member of the Association of Food Journalists (AFJ),Southern Foodways Alliance (SFA) and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SOFAB). Check out the GIMME SOME SUGAR, DARLIN’ web site and follow Laurie’s food adventures on Facebook and Twitter (@LaurieTriplette).