15 hours into 2010 and looking ahead. I’m definitely a glass-half-full kind of girl and have only good thoughts about what’s to come in the new year. I hope for the expected, health and happiness, and then a few other things to top it off…delicious food, lots of writing and work, and the best students a cooking teacher could ask for. Traveling to a few new places would be icing on the cake.
When I think about what’s in store in the world of food I’ve got a few thoughts. Some of them are Bay Area-specific, some are completely self serving, and some apply no matter who or where you are. Anything to add?
1) Cooking at Home: This “trend” was on many lists last year after the apocalyptic economic meltdown. I think it’s taken a while for people to realize how important it actually is to have the skills, and desire, to make homemade food. If you’re not doing it yet, now is the time to start. Need help? Come take a class at Tante Marie’s.
2) The rise of the cookie! Bring back the good old fashioned American sweet treat. I love a good cupcake but have a feeling the humble cookie may sneak back into lives with a vengeance.
3) Permanent street food. Buying food from a cart or vendor has become so chic it’s almost passe. Trendy or not, there are people making some amazing things from street carts and I love the idea that a few of them may just set up shop permanently. My favorite soon-to-be-permanent restaurant is Tacolicious. No longer will my guajillo-braised beef taco craving be satisfied just one or two days a week. In a short while, the now shuttered Laiola in the Marina will be transformed into a full time Tacolicious. My stomach is growling just thinking about it.
4) Braising and Stewing. Always my favorite way to cook, the idea of slow cooking those tough cuts of meat gets more and more attractive when people realize a few things: 1) it’s damn easy 2) it’s damn tasty and 3) it’s damn cheap. If you’re not braising already, get Tori’s book, Braises and Stews, and start cooking.
5) Feel Good Food that makes you Feel Good. Whether you’re eating less or no wheat, trying to build up your immune system, or loading up on the vegetables, you’ll be happy to know that restaurant menus will not leave you feeling left out. I often find myself ordering a vegetarian entree at a great restaurant just because it sounds amazing. I love Asian food because it has so many properties that leave you feeling satisfied and not weighted down. Vegetable-centered dishes are on the rise and I’m predicting they will continue to taste fantastic.
6) Food Television with Less Boob and More Substance. I watch the Food Network and once in a blue moon get a good tip or recipe. Gone are the days of tenured chefs as they’ve given way to hosts with “likable personalities”. It’s my hope that with the rise of more and more food television, programmers will see the why people love shows hosted by the likes of Rick Bayless, Jacques Pepin, and Lidia Bastianich. Guess what? Mad skills and likable personalities can actually coexist.
7) Family Dinner: Much like cooking at home, one of my “soapbox issues” is family dinner. I strongly believe that eating as a family has nothing but positive benefits. My friends who tell me their kids are picky eaters are usually the same people who tell me they feed their kids early then they feed themselves later in the evening. What good is this? First off, the kids don’t see their parents eating all kinds of foods so the aren’t learning by example. Second, the conversation that happens at family dinner can not be replicated when people at home eat at all different times. You’d be amazed and what comes out when you’re sitting around a plate of roasted kale and pork loin. As people cook more at home, let’s hope they begin to eat together too.
8) Fried Chicken, Hot Dogs, or Non-Traditional Burritos. It’s amazing how certain dishes can literally take over the culinary airwaves in such a short time. We’re seeing an obscene amount of luxe fried chicken, sustainable organic hot dogs, and “burritos” (I use the term loosely) stuffed with everything from kimchi to chicken tikka masala. I don’t think these trends are going anywhere in 2010 (and, by the way, that chicken tikka masala ‘kati roll’ from Kasa is actually my fave).
9) Eating with your Head: The general idea of knowing what you’re eating and where it came from isn’t new. However, with convenience foods so accesible and cheap many people have veared away from thinking about what they are putting in their mouths. Words like “local”, “sustainable”, and “organic” are no longer words for just elite food lovers, they are everywhere and it’s a good thing. If you don’t want to think too much, try using any of the 64 simple rules from Michael Pollan’s new book, Food Rules.
10) Restaurant Cooking at Home: Want to make a bowl of ramen noodles like David Chang, of Momofuko? How about beef stroganoff like Thomas Keller, of Ad Hoc? Curious about Sardine-on-Toast Sorbet from Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck Cookbook? This is your year. Cookbooks from restaurant chefs are nothing new but the trend of “home cook” version of these titles seems to be booming. Some have been hugely successful while others still end up on the coffee table and out of the kitchen. Either way, expect more to come.
Just a few of my thoughts to get the culinary juices flowing for 2010. I look forward to an amazing year.