Monday, January 04, 2010

Trendy Monday: My Food Trend Predictions for 2010

Happy New Year, everyone!

For the past couple of weeks, I've looked at other people's food trend predictions for 2010 (here and here). Now it's time to put myself on the line. But first, a look at what I predicted for 2009, and how that panned out. Here's what I thought would be hot last year:

  • Peruvian flavors
  • Budget-friendly restaurants
  • Comfort food
  • Tons of local, plus some "locavore" backlash
  • Peanut butter

Overall, I think I didn't do too badly, even if peanut butter didn't enjoy bacon-sized popularity (it did make its way onto an Abbey Burger Bistro burger, though).

So what, then, do I think about 2010? Here goes:

  • Luxury on the cheap. I think everybody's tired of always being so recession-conscious. We might not be ready to spend $60 on a burger again, but we will be looking for small ways to feel fancy (hello, Vosges chocolate bars). As I mentioned last week, I think one way this might manifest is through fancy dinner parties at home. Parties that might not cost a million dollars, but that look like they could. So I'm on the lookout for recipes that look fancy but don't cost much (even if they are a little labor-intensive) - and I'll bet that Target's designer home goods will do pretty well this year.
  • Lean, interesting meats. Forget flank steak and all those "cheap but flavorful" cuts of beef. Well, don't forget them, but add to them. I think there's a lot of potential this year for different types of meat - bison, venison, elk. They're lean and healthy and take to sauces.
  • Whiskey-based sauces (and southern flavors in general). Southern cooking has been seeing something of a renaissance (thank you, Kevin Gillespie, though you're not the only one representing this movement). Craft bourbon and whiskey is having its moment, too, so I expect to see the two dovetail.
  • Creative pickling spices. Pickling is on just about every 2010 trends list I've seen, so I think it's a pretty safe bet. And if last year was all about Korean pickling spices, this year will be all about...some other ones. I'm not sure what, but I think we'll continue to see experimentation here.
  • Specialization. Etsy and Foodzie are both great ways to tap into really small batch producers of just about everything. I think we'll continue to see more of this trend.
  • Texture. This is a selfish suggestion, since I'm so texture-focused when I eat anyway, but I think we'll see more and more chefs talk about texture as they explain food pairings (and wine pairings). I also think that Top Chef is a force behind this trend, since texture is something that's easy to describe to the viewers at home.

So that's it - my big list for 2010. Next week: trends I think will spill over from fashion or home design.

[Photo credit: Pickles by Flickr user yomi955. Used under the Creative Commons license.]

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