Suddenly, from the depths of an otherwise peaceful evening, a story idea stirred across my imagination. I sprang to my feet with exuberance.
In artistic abandon, I tossed aside the original article that I had penned for today's column. My thoughts raced ahead in favor of a daunting new idea.
Today's column is going to explore some new taste trends for 2007 and beyond.
Trends are an indicator of the direction that a society is moving towards. From a curious student of life and sociological perspective, it is fascinating to watch how cultural trends evolve through periods of history. We experience "AHA" moments that help us to better understand the times in which we are living.
Food trends, like other trends of a society, paint a picture of interconnection.
Here is my take, a kaleidoscope view if you will, of some current and/or future trends that I envision will flavor the culinary landscape in future days.
We will see a revival of foods that were popular in our parents and grandparent's day, however, these foods that I've labeled Vintage Cuisine will excite the palate with new twists in presentation and interpretation. The artery-clogging components will continue to be lightened up in fresh and exciting ways. Slow-roasted meals with rich depth and intriguing flavors will become increasingly popular and will be interpreted in ways that merge the goodness of the garden with global tastes in a continually evolving synergy and fusion.
The Slow Food Movement will continue to pick up speed. Tried and true rustic-flavored farmhouse favorites like pot roasts, shepherds pie, savory stews, cassoulets, meat loaf, lamb and veal shanks, and other succulent slow roasted meats and vegetables will tickle our taste buds.
Regional, Local Ingredients
We will see a continued movement towards locally produced agricultural products. Neighborhood farmer's markets and regional green markets that sell organic products will continue to find popularity as the "in place" for conscientious shoppers. There is a trend to want to know where our food comes from. We want to know how our food is grown, and some of us like this writer, want to understand the landscape and know that contaminated water is not flowing down a hill into the fields where the crops are growing.
After watching news reports that some bagged spinach leaves, green onions and alfalfa sprouts had turned deadly with E.coli bacteria, we started asking more questions of our food purveyors. As a result, we will see the introduction of smart-packaging technology that will be debuting sometime in 2007. This new technology will allow a big red 'X" to appear on a bag of produce if the bag contains E.coli, salmonella or any other strain of bacteria present inside the bag.
We will see more flavorful interpretations of the fusion between regional and global cuisine. It's a small world, after all. Creative cooks will explore the endless possibilities that fusion cookery offers. Watch for South American, Spanish and Mediterranean foods to be especially hot trends.
Multi-Tasking Antioxidants and Performance Boosting Foods
Antioxidant foods that are packed with multi-tasking nutritional dividends will continue to be popular. We want to know what our foods can do for us. What happens inside our bodies when we eat a particular food? The war on trans fats will continue and we will become more aware of the ingredients and additives that are slowly killing us one spoonful at a time. We are becoming more empowered to read the ingredient lists on a package and Google the names of ingredients that we don't recognize.
Passionate Cooks with Great Entertaining Personalities will continue to be the face of food television
Paula Deen, Rachael Ray, and Ina Garten are three faces that have become synonymous with the Food Network. However, with the boom of cutting-edge digital technology products, the possibilities for a great cook with a great personality on video are wide open.
Home Entertaining Trends
The art of entertaining well at home will continue to be a driving force connecting family and friends in inspiring ways. We will see more ways that entertaining and hospitality can be used for a greater common good. A perfect example of this is being done by Florida's new Governor Charlie Crist who is opening up the Governor's Mansion to everyday folks for informal discussions about Florida's future.
As is often the case, I have many more delicious and festive ideas to share. For a continued dialog on the subject of Food Trends for 2007 and beyond visit my newly set-up Taste Trends blog at http://www.tastetrends.blogspot.com/