Fashion has its fads as does food. So what’s in favor among the fooderati for next year? There are a lot of prognosticators out there. Baum & Whiteman, restaurant designers, puts out a Food and Beverage Forecast each year. “Pinterest 100” predicts trends based on popular pins. Dieticians put in their two-cents worth and others just read the tea leaves (or arugula leaves) to predict what will fly from the shelves and fill our menus in 2015.
So here’s what’s trending in 2015:
- Pistachios. This is the Nut of the Year. And you thought it was you crazy Uncle Ned.
- Oysters. Some say these salty little sea morsels will take the place of bar pretzels.
- Toast Plus. Toast appears on the cover of January’s Bon Appetit with toppings that include trout roe, radish slivers, drizzled olive oil, smoked fish, ripe figs, tahini and avocado, and thin pears with bee pollen.
- Ugly Root Vegetables. Celery root, parsnips, and kohlrabi are not pretty, but they are nutritious. Imaginative cooks will also be using the entire vegetable, including root, stems and leaves.
- Ramen. The college standby has gone upscale. Look also for the Vietnamese sandwich concept (bahn mi) to go fast food.
- Matcha Tea. Japanese, powdered tea, the new uber-health, antioxidant drink now being sold in Matchabars in Brooklyn and Williamsburg.
- Kalette. This sweet and nutty cross between Brussels sprouts and kale has already been featured on the Today Show. Can stardom be far behind?
- Watercress. This may be the green to bump kale off its culinary pedestal with its claim to having more nutrients than any fruit or vegetable!
- Fermented Products. Look for more flavored vinegars and pickled everything on menus and in stores. And something called umeboshi paste, a Japanese condiment made from plums. I’ve got a head start on the year with my pickled carrots and daikon radishes.
- Tin Packaging. Avant-garde foods from around the world will show up on shelves wearing a cool tin can similar to sardines.
- Faux Meat. Better fake chicken (Beyond Chicken label) and beef crumble (Beyond Beef) made from pea protein is now able to fool the experts.
- Bone Broth. This nourishing, simple soup base makes everything taste better. Look for it to be offered as a drink, though it’s unlikely to replace beer as a beverage anytime soon.
- Flexitarianism. More people will be eating mostly vegetables in an attempt to limit their daily meat intake, following Mark Bittman’s idea of being “vegetarian before 6 p.m.”
- Broccoli Sprouts. The super cancer fighting veggie. Watch for it as garnish in trendy locations.
- Crickets and Grasshoppers. Having been to a “Hopper Party,” last month, I already have a jump on this one—no pun intended. Advocates say, it’s a good way of getting quality protein without leaving a carbon footprint. During Missouri’s last big locust infestation (1875), the insects were ground and distributed as flour. Yawn . . . everything old is new again.
- Rosemary. This overlooked spice offers more health benefits than a patent medicine elixir—a reduction in the risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration and diabetes.
- Purple peppers. Anything purple, be it tomatoes, sweet potatoes, corn or blueberries, contain more of a health boost than their counterparts.
- Farro. Move over quinoa, this ancient grain, loaded with antioxidants, is coming to town in 2015.
- Coffee with Butter. Fashioned after Tibetan, yak butter tea, look for coffee with butter added—from grass-fed butter, of course. Supposedly 2 tablespoon of butter in your java “promotes weight loss and provides mental clarity and a bit of pep.” It also gives your morning brew the look of chicken soup. Hmmm. . . . don’t know about that.
- Roasting and Caramelizing. This is my prediction. I notice that a lot more recipes call for these flavor-adding steps for veggie. And it works!
The trend continues toward getting the most flavor and nutrients from our food without resorting to the traditional use of fats. It’s all a matter of re-educating the palate and mine is a stubborn son-of-a-gun.