Notable Trends in Food in 2009

I’m sure everybody has an opinion and here are my observations:

  • The rise nationally of street food in every form and via every kind of conveyance:  trucks, carts, bicycles.  Examples include a Soup Cycle in Portland, Waffle Truck in San Francisco, Kogi Korean BBQ truck in Los Angeles, etc.
  • DIY (do it yourself) urban farming including bee keeping, chicken raising, and more.

    Photo from Darrin Barry

  • Wood-fired everything (followed by coal-fired) including pizzas, fish, desserts, breads, etc.
  • Belgian Beers often referred to as sour beers made with wild indigenous yeasts, funky infections like brett, aged for years.  Flavors that you’ve never experienced.
  • Underground Restaurants done in private spaces below the radar of health departments, tax and license agencies, etc.
  • Everything Old is New Again like canning, urban hunting clubs, butchering, eating offal.

Photo from Rick

  • Bacon flavoring everything from chocolates to salt to ice cream.
  • Food Magazines in a state of flux:  venerable Gourmet ends publication while Sandra Lee’s semi homemade is birthed.  What can this mean to the future of civilization?  One bright note:  Saveur one of the few success stories.
  • Social Networking with Twitter and Face Book has gone amok:  @ ruthreichl, @ bittman, @ marthastewart
  • Coffee goes to new heights with micro roasters of organic coffee like Blue Bottle in Oakland.  Also stores with high-tech machines that resemble Jules Verne space ships.
  • Going Green: Organic,Local, Sustainable definitely becomes main stream driven by the success (among others) of Michael Pollan’s books.  Organic now available at Wal Mart for goodness sake!  Locally grown meats an example of consumer desire to know where their food comes from, how it’s grown and harvested.
  • Formal, white tablecloth restaurants in decline in favor of informal, communal, family style spots at more affordable prices.
  • Death of newspaper food critics with the rise of Yelp and Chow.  Real concerns about the slippery ethics of the former.
  • Food TV explodes with Top Chef, Chopped, Next Iron Chef, Cake Boss, Gordon Ramsey Cook Along Live, even Top Chef Junior which is rumored to be offered next.
  • Food Movies: Julie and Julia, The Ramen Girl, Cloudy with Chance of Meatballs.  Even the Fantastic Mr. Fox turned out to be a food movie.
  • Terrior (the place where it’s grown) foods will continue to proliferate.  We’ve seen it with coffee, now chocolate, next produce and meats grown by celebrity farmers in special places around the world.
  • Enough of already: Bacon in everything, recipes from on-line sources that aren’t tested/don’t work, flavored salts, Sandra Lee!
  • John Ash