Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Food Trends for 2014. My Hopes and Dreams For You And Me.
As the final hours of 2013 tick down, who isn't writing a post about the food trends coming and going on the cusp of the year's change. I find flatulating about trends and fads as tabloid fodder. Perhaps I am taking a bit of a snobby stance. It just seems that what is 'in' and what is 'out', is more about social belonging than saying anything respectable about food.
As I headed to the kitchen to build my lunch today, it was just a wee bite I had in mind. New Years Eve feasting was on the horizon and I needed to pace myself.
A soft-boiled egg captured my thoughts. I longed for the soft texture and the solid protein. But I could also visualize it on my plate. Bare. So utterly bare as two jaundiced-coloured eyeballs of half eggs would be staring up at me. So I needed to create a canvas for it. A half bagel didn't seem too much. We keep Ottawa Bagelshop's bagels sliced and in the freezer for such occasions. But that would mean carbs and so maybe I could balance that out with some veg. The fridge doors opened and out spilled my choices. Freshly washed romaine lettuce, a week old avocado at the height of ripeness, oven-roasted grape tomatoes, recently thawed homemade basil pesto, a partial red onion, chives, dill, a small piece of Quebec's Le Douanier cheese. I ended up passing on the onion, dill and chives, but everything else was piled on.
As I reached for the salt and pepper grinders, I also grabbed the ristede løg (crisp onions). My tower of flavours and colour was taking on a life of it's own and now I was REALLY looking forward to my 'wee bite'.
That's when I realized that I too have hopes and dreams for food in 2014.
1. Be authentic. Eat the food you love, not what people tell you is hip and happening. If you don't like or get food trucks, it's okay to say so. If you aren't a card carrying member of the pork belly protein club, that's okay too. Your food is still good, even if you aren't foaming it or pho-ing it.
2. Don't waste food. Learn a food's life cycle and how to stretch it. If you have tomatoes sitting on the counter pushing past their prime and no good plans for them, they can be given birth again by roasting them and storing them in the freezer to be used for another day.
3. Share your food experiences. Share them because it was a special moment for you, not because you need to build converts or crave a compliment. Many are genuinely interested in what you are doing in the kitchen when you tell your story, no matter how non-Michelin your creation. Seeing others cook, learning and exploring for learning's sake, inspires the rest of us. Stay humble in your sharing.
4. Enjoy and respect your food ancestry. Some might think pea soup is peasant food but if it was your favourite dish growing up, serve it and serve it often. A dish does not have to have a pedigree to deserve to be on your table or shared with guests.
4. Embrace the littlest food moments. Even if it is JUST a piece of toast, make it with love. Serve it on a special plate. Cut it just so. Eat it at the table, not over the counter or sink. Chew it slowly and enjoy each and every bite.
5. Play with flavours and play with colour. How often do we find that mixing flavours we love individually make an even bigger impact when mixed together. Fuss a little bit with your plating. It doesn't have to be auctionable art, but well presented food does taste better. It will likely make the cooking experience more enjoyable too.
6. Know that food is meant to nourish. Many of us have the luxury to eat for pleasure, but food's primary role is to nourish. As you chase your sinful food passions, balance it out with lots of healthy choices. We aren't being truly good ambassadors for food if we don't speak to both sides.
7. Give what you can of your food wealth. Too many do not have access to healthy food on a regular basis and question where their next meal will come from. Share your riches. Your food knowledge. Your food talents. Your food dollars. We all deserve this basic necessity of life. Your food enthusiasm will be infectious.
8. Live in food communion with others. One of our kindest gifts we can give is to have others to the intimacy of our dining table. Invite others in and regularly. A friendly cup of coffee and a biscuit from the freezer is still a very large gift just because you are there and giving of your time. It isn't the size and the grandness of the banquet but the size of your heart that will determine how good the meal tasted.
Wishing you all the best for the new year. As we continue our food journey into 2014, I will continue to reflect on my hopes and dreams for what's food trending. How about you?