Food Trends: What's In, What's Out for 2009

In 2008, many non-foodies became passionate and opinionated about dinner. Restaurant menus features long explanations about the care and preparation of their entrees, and home cooks opted for expensive local organic produce (even as the economy plummeted). Rampant job-losses prompted Americans to get reacquainted with their kitchens.

I met with three food professionals to reflect on the culinary trends of 2008, and make predictions for 2009:
  • Fabio Parasecoli, a global culinary consultant and adjunct professor of Food Studies at New York University,
  • Iri Greco, a culinary producer and stylist, and
  • Andrew Burman, freelance cook, food stylist and cooking teacher.

2008 Trends

1. Master Mixology and Artisinal Bartenders
Greco was a fan of 2008's most intoxicating trend: master mixology and artisanal bartenders. Mixology returned to the forefront as respectable culinary pursuit, and bartenders as keepers of a centuries-old craft. Bartending schools gained popularity and revived Old World recipes to remind us of the social potency of a well-crafted cocktail.

2. Offal
Offal is the internal organs of an animal that are typically discarded after butchering, or historically enjoyed by those who cannot enjoy the more expensive muscle meat. Though their value varies from culture to culture (one man's foie gras is another man's chopped liver), Greco saw a resurgence in this trend in 2008.

The predictable thrift of 2009 will likely take this trend from restaurants to home kitchens, and butchers will be handling more requests for sweet breads, calf's heart and cock's combs.

3. Pretention
Parasecoli and Greco are eager to bid adieu to 2008's food pretentions. Greco is particular tired of "uber chic food finds like 18 kinds of exotic sea salts." The experts predict these non-necessities will be displaced in '09. Parasecoli is looking forward to "More creativity that does not need to become outlandishness."

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