There are food fads and there are food trends. Fads are meaningless, as useful as Pop Rocks. Trends are meaningful critical masses of attitudes and actions–a quarry of Pop Rocks built into a mighty structure. There are some silly fads I fancy, and some powerful trends I yearn for. Friends, let’s pretend the next twelve fabulous months of eating and cooking will play out like this:
No one mentions cronuts very often. However, pepperoni rolls—the good ones, with quality pepperoni and dough that’s light and airy but not insubstantially so—gain a following beyond West Virginia.
Consumption of gluey, mass-produced cheese plummets, as does demand for overly sweet, doughy pizzas created as vehicles for said cheese-like substances. Instead, people opt to indulge every now and then in moderate amounts of small-scale, high-quality cheeses with outstanding flavor to justify their caloric density.
The sorry excuse for a brewpub in my small town properly cleans out their brewing equipment, resulting in beer that’s not only drinkable but occasionally pleasant, instead of the murky-tasting, foul swill they once passed off as beer.
The otherwise excellent preschool my daughter attends decides to stop serving Fruity Pebbles and canned cinnamon biscuits for breakfast, instead making the fairly effortless switch to Cheerios and whole-grain toast with sunflower seed butter. When I come to collect my daughter from school, she is even-tempered and generally agreeable, not on the ugly end of a carb-sugar comedown.
For once, I plant carrot seeds and they actually grow into carrots.
Paula Deen loses cooking show slots and deals as a product spokesperson not because of a scandal, but because everyone simultaneously agrees she’s really annoying.
I locate a quince tree here in Ohio to replace the one we left behind when we moved from Portland. Not only am I able to harvest, for free, bushels of quince; I also magically have the many free hours needed to make quince jelly, poached quince, oven-candied quince, quince tatain, membrillo, and quince sorbet. Then I meet a bunch of people who love quince as much as I do, and I give them the many jars of quince I put up, and we begin a weekly board game night together.
Everyone realizes the glory of full-fat dairy products, especially yogurt (and especially especially if it’s topped with poached quince). They discover that a few creamy spoonfuls satisfy the appetite so much better than a tub of the lean stuff that’s thickened with some seaweed derivative. And all of those 1000-plus varieties of artificially-flavored, 0% fat yogurts disappear from the dairy case, making room for a vastly superior selection of actual real food dairy products.
No one asks me, upon discovering I am a chef and a food writer, if I’ve ever made turduckeon, because they intuitively sense that 99% of food professionals don’t give a crap about turduckeon. Instead, they ask me about a porchetta or duck confit, and our conversation is animated and cheerful instead of stilted and awkward.
Kale and quinoa continue to be popular, not because they are trendy, but because they are delicious and healthful. Conversely, poseurs stop referring to quinoa and kale as some kind of food fashion accessory.
Copy editors across the nation ban together to get proper use of “healthful” and “healthy” back into our national lexicon.
Produce distributors don’t put “locally grown” stickers on herbs cultivated in Michigan when they are destined to be shipped 7 hours away, to southern Ohio.
A very clever person develops chipotle pepper paste that comes in a tube, like tomato paste and anchovy paste.
Another clever person markets frozen caramelized onions.
Bacon remains well-loved, but no one again utters the phrase “everything’s better with bacon”.
I bake a batch of canneles and not a single one sticks to the cannele mold.
The food-gleaning nonprofit I work for ceases to exist, because everyone is suddenly able to afford wholesome, fresh food, and no one is hungry, and we all hold hands and sing under a big rainbow and harvest carrots together, and I think about how great 2015 will be.
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