by Kate Heyhoe
What's hot for 2002? Even without September 11, many of the current culinary blips would have dotted the radar screen before too long. Trends and moods are cyclical. I've often said that whenever the economy goes south, consumers return to buying whole chickens at 59 cents a pound, abandoning the convenient but pricey boneless, skinless breasts at up to $7 per pound. And according to supermarket experts, that appears to be the case right now.
Overall, we're seeing a greater concern for food safety, affordability, and basics. Pleasure comes in the form of comfort and cocooning, not flashy presentations or extravagance. Sincerity and connecting supercede commercialization.
Eating dwindling marine species and fish that disturb the natural balance, or risking illnesses caused by raw shellfish, are out. Abundant species are in. And abundant or not, haven't we all had just about every variation of grilled rare tuna imaginable? I'm looking to chefs to introduce the public to fish that are both politically correct and tasty to eat.
Italian food will never go out of style, but the overuse of balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes and focaccia over the past decade makes these ingredients seem stale. Likewise for soft chevre goat cheese like Montrachet—tasty but overworked. However, the luscious soft ripened cow's milk cheeses from places like Andante Dairy in Santa Rosa, California, are worthy competitors. The rise of American made artisanal cheeses continues to be very hot all across the nation. In California, Winchester Cheese Co. churns out award-winning cow's milk cheeses, Point Reyes Farmstead's blue cheese is superb, and the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cheeses from Karoun Dairies in Los Angeles make for truly authentic cuisine. I'm also very excited about aged Gouda goat cheese and Spanish sheep's milk cheeses now commonly available.
Personally, I'm using ingredients like Japanese ume plum vinegar and liqueurs to add a refreshing new jolt to the palate. For instance, instead of wine (as in a coq au vin), use dry vermouth for its herby undertones. Splash a bit of ume plum vinegar into your usual salad vinaigrette, for a more complex, salty flavor, much the same way that a dab of anchovy paste enriches a sauce. For salmon, chicken and pork, crème de cassis makes a slightly sweet, fruity marinade combined with lemon juice and soy sauce.
When it comes to topping a pizza or wrapping up a flour tortilla, anything goes, as the past two decades have shown. What used to be novel is no big deal anymore. However, designer tamales are hot—filled with everything from wild mushrooms to roasted duck. You can even buy them online, shipped overnight.
Speaking of hot stuff, habaneros and chipotles are now mainstream, but too much heat obliterates other flavors. Let's get away from the furnace-school of flavorings and explore other chiles, like the complex undertones of red Aleppo pepper, Hungarian paprikas that range from sweet to medium hot to fiery but fruity, and various peppers, such as the bold black and the mild but distinctive white Sarawak peppercorns.
I love a good cup of coffee. One. Morning drivers pumped up on pots of java, though, have got to cut back, or we're all endangered. The only good thing about the Starbucking of America is that it's created a market for designer blends and quality coffees from such brands as Allegro (try their Red Sea Blend) and Peet's. I'm predicting more cups shared with friends and acquaintances at home, made on stylish Capresso machines (Mr. Coffee is out), than at the local 'bucks.
Celebrity chef cookbooks with complex, unrealistic recipes are out. Homey cookbook meals are in, so much so that even celebrity chefs are writing them. Restaurant chefs Charlie Trotter and Charles Palmer published home-cooking books not too long ago, a trend likely to ramp up given the current economy and mood. At the same time, I expect a renaissance of home cooking by authors who have always devoted themselves to it, like Marion Cunningham.
Affordable meat cuts are back: chicken, turkey, pork roasts, lamb shanks. Potatoes are en vogue, offering endless creative opportunities for white, red, gold, purple and other variations. Caviar, foie gras and truffles? Foods of the gods and French chefs, but not of the people, at least not right now.
Upscale gourmet markets will continue to feed Beverly Hills, but I find ethnic markets infinitely more exciting. Fresh lemongrass, ghee, lumpia wrappers, masalas, tomatillos and Bulgarian feta—these are a few of my favorite things.
Finally, I hope we see an increase in our calcium consumption. Too many women, children and even men aren't getting the calcium they need. Almost 20 million American women have osteoporosis and many don't know it, including pre-menopausal women. Let's also get the lead out and exercise—it's good for the body and the mind. Enjoy food more, but eat less. Eat whatever you want, but in balance and moderation. And don't get stuck in routine: make enjoyable home cooked meals, but also splurge on the occasional night out to experience new flavors and techniques.
What follows is my personal and highly opinionated hot list for 2002, and a few of my favorite cozy, home cooking recipes from 2001, perfect for the current season.
|What's Hot||What's Not|
|Chicken||Swordfish, Farmed Salmon and Shellfish|
|Wonton Skins & Lumpia Wrappers||Tortilla "Wraps"|
|Simple elegance||Vertical plating (stacking)|
|Home brewed coffee||Starbucks|
|Allegro coffee blends||Starbucks|
|Home cooking cookbooks||Celebrity chef cookbooks|
|Easy roasts||Time and labor intensive stir-fries|
|Designer tamales||Designer pizza|
|Winter squashes||Beets in everything|
|Goat cheese Gouda||Montrachet|
|Panda||All-U-Can Eat Asian Buffets|
|Fresh wasabi||Dried or in a tube wasabi|
|Middle Eastern flatbreads||focaccia|
|Normal size portions||Elephant sized portions|
|Communal restaurant tables||Deuces|
|Fresh grape tomatoes||Sun-dried tomatoes|
|Asian vinegars||Balsamic vinegar|
|Brined turkey||Deep fried turkey|
|Fresh food take out||Fast food take out|
|Ethnic markets||Gourmet markets|
|Recipe contests||Food eating contests|
|Dried red peppers|
|(paprika, Aleppo pepper)||Habaneros|
|Cooking together||Dining separately|
|Simple foods||Fussy foods|
|Cozy welcome||Snob appeal|
|Home grown potted herbs||Supermarket herb bundles|
|Sunday dinners||Sunday brunch|
|Weekend potlucks||Weekend pizza|
Minnesota Brie and Apple Soup
Meatballs Simmered in Broth
A Pot of Pintos: Mexican Frijoles de Olla
Winter Squash Spoonbread
Baked Chicken Parts with Onions, Garlic and Rosemary
Italian Sausage Bread
Teriyaki Pork Stew
Oven Roasted Fruit
Greek Semolina and Ground Almond Cake
Kate's Global Kitchen for January 2002:
01/04/02 Food Forward: Predictions and Observations for 2002
01/11/02 A Cozy Night with Larousse: Good Reading, Fine Eating
01/18/02 Paella in a Pot
01/25/02 One Potato—and Many Potatoes More
Copyright © 2002, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created January 2002
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