We’ve all been guilty of jumping on bandwagons. Whether they are food, diet or clothing related, we’ve all been there. Although some “wagons” are headed for the promised land, others fall short and land in the ditch.
When it comes to food trends, 2014 promises to be an adventurous and “hop aboard” kind of year.
As I was reflecting on the adventures of 2013 and envisioning my food goals for the new year, I came up with a top 12 list of the food trends I’ll be pursuing. You’ll be seeing recipes and stories influenced by these trends here at Gastronomy Mommy, and I’ll walk you through the details of how to break the “food code” for the upcoming year.
Ancient grains: We’ve all seen, heard of and possibly tasted quinoa the food phenomenon of 2013. It’s been a staple in my cabinet for years, so I was excited that the rest of America jumped on board. It became so popular that countries growing quinoa had a few shortages. For 2014, the ancient grain trend will expand to include varieties like teff and freekeh. Both grains originate in the Middle East and are super high in fiber and nutrition.
Chia seeds: Remember the Chia Pet? Ch-ch-ch-chia! I had one back in the ’90s along with a couple million other kids, and it was pretty nifty. Anyhoo, the chia seed is actually more beneficial when it’s consumed rather than played with, and you’ll see a lot more of it in the days to come.
Cauliflower: Some are calling it the next kale, but I’m calling it a staple in my kitchen that needs to be made into a superstar. I’ve always loved cauliflower. It makes the best faux mashed potatoes and is amazing roasted. Say goodbye to the steamed mushy white florets of the past.
Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors: I like a little spice in my life, and apparently a lot of other people do, too. Look for recipes and native dishes from Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon and Greece. You’ll be seeing spices like za’atar, sumac and ras el hanout among the more familiar sesame seed and flatbread concepts we already know and love.
Tea: Tea is the world’s most consumed beverage next to water, and it’s taking the culinary scene by storm. You’ll see loose tea leaves being used in cocktails, desserts, meats and other nontraditional items. Starbucks has opened its first tea shop, and the store Teavana was one of the favorite speciality shops of 2013. I love tea and am excited to play with the idea of incorporating it into everything.
Gourmet ice cream sandwiches: First it was the cupcake, bless its little overdone heart, then came the cake pop and the cake ball, also overdone. Next we tried to fall in love with the whoopie pie and the mini-doughnut. Now, we see the cookie sandwich on the horizon. It could be another fad or just a noble effort to get into the dessert hall of fame. Nonetheless, gourmet cookie ice cream sandwiches are headed your way.
Pickling: Whether it’s a quick pickle or an all-out traditional effort, the technique of pickling is back in style. I’m looking forward to seeing what weird and exotic pickling ideas I can conjure up in my busy kitchen this year.
Global kitchen: With the age of the touch-screen technology and the convenience of amazon.com, cooking and eating global cuisines is becoming common place. The average American eats three to five different ethnic style foods a week, and many American pantries have ingredients that are considered “global.” Look for 2014 to be the ushering in of a global home kitchen.
Allergen friendly nation: Look for 2014 to be the year of understanding for people with food allergies. Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and other “free” issues will be on the minds of the average home cook with food allergies on the rise. The proficient cook will have to be in the know for the safety of their families and those they serve.
Tech-savvy shoppers: With new apps and the Internet, we are seeing a personal shopping revolution take place. Local grocery stores are now offering online ordering, app selection services and pickup for their customers. You’ll see this trend grow in 2014.
Homemade movement: Backyard chicken pens, culinary gardens and the homemaking trends and ideas we see on Pinterest have sparked a “makers movement.” This will be the year for the home craftsman. Whether it be kitchen treats, mini-agriculture endeavors or heartland craftsmanship type activities, DIY is a super-cool trend.
Coconut oil: Most of us have enjoyed this fat in our past when it was in its hydrogenated form and served on movie popcorn. What most people don’t know is that the extra virgin type of coconut oil is actually good for you and is one of the most delicious ways to saute vegetables and enjoy seafood. Its tropical smell and high smoking point make it a perfect fit for any vegetarian. For us carnivores, extra virgin coconut oil has some amazing health benefits and provides a delicious alternative to the traditional cooking oils. Just make sure to get extra virgin coconut oil, which is white and solid at room temperature.
Be sure to return for more recipes and insights to these trends! It’s going to be a good year!