Last year’s food trends included fried chicken, grits and just about any dish with an egg on it. This year, people are craving comforting, “home-cooked” foods not only at home, but in restaurants as well. In 2010, it’s all about the meatballs. They are easy to prepare, affordable, and diverse. You can find them just about everywhere around the world. Spaghetti with meatballs and meatball subs tend to be common dishes, but the potential for them is endless. From frying, to baking, slow cooking and broiling, meatballs can be prepared a number of ways and still taste delicious. Cultures around the world use meatballs, made from a variety of meats and prepared in numerous ways!
A related trend emerging from the economic conditions is the use of basic ingredients. This doesn’t necessarily mean we’re preparing gravy from flour and water alone – on the contrary, Americans are redefining the staple ingredients in a kitchen. The days of dinner specific grocery shopping are gone for now, and we are buying in bulk, preparing for several dishes using the same ingredients. As chefs and restaurants are also feeling the effects of the economy, we will see this trend spill into our restaurant dining experiences, too.
Even with the down economy, our health concerns will continue in 2010. It’s no longer enough for a food not to have “trans-fats” or “processed sugars” – these have come to be expected options among mainstream grocery items. Now we are also demanding the foods actually become proactively beneficial. Although “gluten-free” and “allergy-free” are still growing in popularity, many food producers are also turning to additives, like Omega-3’s and other vitamins, to make their foods more appealing, and better for us. With nutrition education increasing all the time, it’s as important as ever for manufacturers to be aware of the ingredients and nutrition facts behind their products. Even in this economy, many are still willing to pay a little extra for their health.
Our last food trend may be familiar, but probably not at the top of many consumer’s lists. Sardines are taking hold in the cuisine of many California-based seafood restaurants. During the 1950’s sardines were over fished (yes, people ate them that much!), but the fish are making a comeback. Fresh sardines are usually served fried, bones and all of course. If it’s any consolation to the “acquired” taste, sardines are packed (no pun intended) with nutrients and omega oils, without the mercury content of tuna!