Sitting here reading an article on food trends of the past year, well past for some of us. The Cat left with a bottle of whiskey yesterday and I received a text from him an hour ago with the following: “Happy New Year! Exchange rates on Brazilian Real? What’s the Portuguese word for hooker?” Anyway, I was reading about food trends from the previous year and naturally I have some thoughts.
The Cronut– For months we knew how much they were selling for, how long the wait was and the Vegas odds on the “inventor” getting a Nobel Peace Prize in economics for swindling an infinite number of dawdle-heads out of their hard earned cash for the privilege of eating a glorified donut. While everybody raced to copy the cronut I offered an alternative… The “Crotch” which is 1 medium croissant stuffed in a rocks glass, add three ounces of scotch, enjoy.
Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt– First off the word “froyo” may be more cringe-inducing than the head of PETA giving a speech at the national butcher convention. I have no issues with frozen yogurt itself, but if I wanted something cold and satisfying with no fat I’d stick Selma Blair in a snow bank for a half hour. The problem I have is with the toppings as this is the equivalent of getting a Diet Coke float with a scoop of lard.
The Lobster Roll– I’m glad folks as far as the California are getting ready access to Maine lobster but I think I finally understand what Philly people have been bitching about all these years wit regards to the cheesesteak. Seeing lobster rolls bastardized to a degree that it’s left unrecognizable is a hard thing to watch for a puritanical New Englander. Charcoal rolls, green curry and herbs don’t belong in a lobster roll anymore than Cheez Whiz belongs in… anything (sorry Philly). When I’m paying twenty-five bucks for a sandwich I want to taste the star ingredient, not leaves and burnt wood.
Korean- Speaking as someone who grew up in a town where the local pizza joint was considered Italian, I can’t tell you how happy I am that Korean food and flavors are taking the country by storm. Granted, the closest Korean joint is still an hour drive from me but it’s worth every horn honking minute. The spice level, the condiments, the broths, the flavors and the smells all make for a great dining experience. If you can find a Korean joint within a mini-vacation’s drive from you I highly recommend visiting.
Deviled Eggs– Yes, deviled eggs! I know most of us grew up with deviled eggs where the eggs were boiled until the yolks were as green as emeralds, mixed with mayo and relish out of a jar, then sprinkled with paprika that was old as dirt but with less flavor. But hey, lots of things get better when you use solid ingredients and good technique. Take the old classic Ham and Bananas with hollandaise …um, on second thought.
Charcuterie– You know, cured meat products. It’s not just in big cities anymore and there are lots of local folks putting out some amazing product. The down side is it makes it nearly impossible to go to the grocery store deli department, because everything from the maple ham to the baked turkey all taste of the same flavor…meat glue. Look I ate deviled ham, corned beef and spam from cans when I was a kid, but that’s because I was on a kid’s budget meaning; boogers and ear wax. So I pretty much had to eat what was put in front of me, but now I know the difference. I’ll take real, hand crafted, cured meat products…you take the boogers and ear wax.
In the year to come I’m sure there will be more cronuts, or people making things with cronuts, or making things to replace cronuts and that’s never going to change no matter the year. I am happy to report aside from silliness, there are good things on the horizon. Local, seasonal, sustainable foods are all up and coming. Hopefully these “trends” will become a mainstay in this country as I believe they are a necessity for a healthy food system. Now… does anybody know Portuguese or a good bail bondsman in Rio?!
Happy 2014 everyone.