I’ve been asked by a prominent cooking magazine to identify upcoming food trends.  I’ve talked with chefs and other food professionals to get their ideas but I thought I’d throw the question out to any readers of this blog who have strong feelings about what’s on the horizon in the home kitchen.  It might be an ingredient, chipotle powder, or a preparation, arancini, say, or chimichurri sauce.  Any food prognosticators out there, please feel free to make suggestions.  Thanks.

UPDATE:  Thank you all who took the time to comment.  I’m grateful for your help!


208 Wonderful responses to “Question for Cooks in the U.S.”

  • RI Swampyankee

    I think that hearty, meatless, dishes will be what the home cook will be looking for now that meat has become a fossil fuel.

  • El Knifo

    A Canadian newspaper reported recently about “chaat,” or a kind of Indian and Pakistani street food that’s getting the tapas/dim-sum treatment in some restaurants.

    The snack foods are mostly served cold or at room temp and comprise tart and tangy flavors, yogurt sauces, chick peas, onions, and has been expanded i the west to include fried snacks like samosas and pakoras.

    Hope you benefit from it!

  • Elayne Riggs

    My prediction is rediscovery of cheap ingredients, with the coming world food shortages and the prices just going up and up.

  • Ben

    I think the biggest trend is “here” food, that is locally grown, or “we made this”. Home made Cacuterie, cheese, beer, produce, what could be better? It would be nice to go eat somewhere because they are “known” for something they make. Just like the old days, eh?

  • RB

    Ingredients: Raw milk, fresh wasabi root, microgreens.

    Food and cocktails: Anything with raw egg.

  • Bin

    In terms of the home chef, I get the feeling that we’re entering an age of the “pseudo-educated,” that while people are becoming more and more aware of food issues concerning food, they’re not necessarily getting the whole picture. As a result, I think people are starting to get carried away with specific aspects of “food health,” such as converting everything they own to whole grain, or trashing their animal fats like the Devil itself, while losing their perspective. To be cliched, I would say that while people are becoming more educated, they’re less able to see the forest for the trees. Though this may be more my paranoia than reality, I have a feeling it isn’t so.

  • Marilyn

    Hopefully, we can learn to adapt recipes for those of us who have food allergies. Having recently discovered that I am terribly allergic to my beloved chicken, and having a dear niece who is deathly allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, I have been dismayed to learn that so few are truly aware of the dangers inherent in such innocuous foods.

  • Connor

    Eco-friendly / locally-grown foods.

    Quality Spanish ingredients–soon, I suspect that sherry vinegar and piquillo peppers will be staples in many home kitchens, much like balsamic and olive oil became mainstays ten years ago.

    Whole grains, especially lesser known ones (e.g., quinoa, Kamut, farro)

    Spices. Places like Penzeys are proliferating and introducing suburban folks to spices beyond the McCormick line.

  • dave

    You might be suprised, but cooking with urine (dehydrated, of course) has become the latest thing in Singapore when I visited last month. It makes a special salt for fried foods, like fried shrimp. I think it might work with french fries, too. Weird, but true!

  • dcfullest

    I predict that high fructose corn syrup is going to be the new enemy ala transfat. Sugar will be cool again.

    I think a much larger segment of the population will start reading food labels and really caring about what their food is and where it comes from. Which leads to more people wanting to eat local, organic, non-processed food.

  • TheApostateChef

    Sad to say, I truly believe the next big story regarding the food revolution will be on its demise.

    Pendulums have a funny way of swinging both ways, and I suspect the latest iteration of the food revolution has reached its zenith already.

    As was demonstrated in the late 80’s, interest in cutting edge cuisine is directly related to a booming economy, and given the obvious direction of our current economy, I suspect future food writing will be along the lines of how to make Spam or government cheese more palatable.

  • Robert

    my greatest fear is the whole allergies/intolerance thing will keep growing. I currently work in the natural foods industry and am constantly dealing with people who are being diagnosed with being gluten intolerant (far more than could be true). Doctors and nutritionists are just telling everyone they are gluten intolerant, some of them it is the basis of their practice. the problem is all of these people FREAK out about the whole thing, instead of edjucating themselves about what “ails” them, they just expect you to do it for them(as if you were their nutritionist). Many of them act like they are actually allergic and are going to die if they eat any gluten(and i think they really believe they will). True allergies are one thing but if people would just stop eating all of the processed, tasteless foods, I dont think they would have such a problem eating real foods. Just my theory.

  • Michelle

    South American food, such as from Brazil, is gaining a lot of popularity in the city I live (and we are not known for being in a foodie region of the country), but the food some of these chefs are putting out is phenomenal. Also, one can’t ignore the explosion of Farmer’s Market’s, which certainly has to have an impact on the way we cook. Also, I work for a major retail gourmet kitchen store, and one can’t deny the impact of Japanese knives on the market. Just seven years ago, they were barely heard of. Now, customers feel like they are “out of style” if they don’t have that new Japanese knife.
    One more thing that comes to mind … Beans! You would be surprised at how many people are happy to find good quality beans. And last but not least, dry rub’s with coffee or espresso in them, are very popular.

  • robin

    home grown out of your garden whether be a patio garden or plots like i have….canning your own foods. we put up a lot of food through out the spring/summer to be able during the winter to enjoy the fresh flavors. i live in the north goergia mountians..

  • vicky

    I’m a cook at Wegmans..a semi-gourmet grocery store. I’m seeing customers paying more attention to how much of their food contains preservatives and additives.

    More customers are becoming more aware of what is actually in their food. Customers are buying more organic produce, locally grown foods and more “health-foods” such as whole grain breads and non-processed foods.

  • luis

    Well it depends, Worldwide I think the most popular food migth already be the stir fry.It’s very healthy and uses very little oil.
    It goes beautifully with meat, pork, seafood any kind of bread, protein, starch or pasta and/or even tofu.
    Stir fry’s go well with the million sauces and rubs out there on cookbooks and supermarket shelves.
    But stir frying is not easy to master and do well. And it doesn’t lend itself to fast food cooking because it requires a skilled cook, a super organized kitchen and constant supply of fresh ingredients. You can not stir fry any veg that has been frozen. Like salad stir fry must be consumed because it has zero shelf life.

    In a “hot pockets” culture…stir frying may not be for everyone. Stir frying requires meticulous “misce en plaque” and a super organized kitchen.

  • slogger

    DIY foods are getting more popular among people around here–everything from bread, bacon and sausage to pickles, vinegar, and even beverages like beer and infused liqueurs–all from locally sourced ingredients.

  • Jeff

    Several threaders have already mentioned my predictions on what trends will emerge.

    The end of corn syrup as the predominate cheap sweetener in processed foods because if its detrimental health effects and the rising cost and demand for corn as a transportation fuel.

    The rise of what I’ll term micro-gardening. Food shortages due to climate change and food inflation due to increasing transportation costs should create a resurgence in vegetable gardening.

    The rise of India and China economically and a corresponding rise in interest in their cuisines.

    Because of declining disposable income, food art books will lose popularity to those focused on technique, skill and simplicity.

  • Rafe

    A trend that seems to be rising in the UK and that I think is coming to America is a growing prevalence of wild game and dishes reminiscent of wild game. I think we’ll see a growing emphasis on hunting and preparing food that you’ve killed yourself.

  • luis

    Slogger, Here is another thought along those lines… I don’t know about your neck of the woods but around here there is the Whole Food Markets which dedicate 30-40% floor space to “restaurant” type food already cooked and ready to go. Folks just stop by and load up on the stuff. Other gourmaid shops and deli’s do pretty much the same to a lesser extent. Even supermarket lines grow longer by the minute at the hot food to go counters. People want good food and they don’t have time to prepare it at home.
    Michael I think prepared food to go is the thing you are looking for. The new trend is to pick up a complete dinner on the way home.
    Look even Starbucks has drive in windows for your coffee fix in the morning. Active professionals are big on buying food to go. Also slogger is right there are a lot of emerging “do it your self” salads and meals turning up all over the place. Meals you pop into the oven and cook, but these are not frozen just prepared season and all.

  • Ryan

    I really feel like learning to cook the cheap cuts is coming back. People aren’t driving less even though gas is outrageous. They are cutting costs elsewhere and food is taking a hit. Oxtails, short ribs, and other cheaper cuts are becoming more prominent. I think the economy is part of the influence. I also think chefs on TV like Gordon Ramsay and Tony Bourdain, who show the good parts about the “bad” cuts are a great influence. I also feel like the surge in culture to be sustainable/organic/earth friendly is leading people to more nose-to-tail eating. I know I’m loving the beef tendon I had Tuesday, and the “cabeza” taco from Saturday night.

  • Ryan

    . . . I also feel like organics and natural foods is hugely popular. However, I feel its been that way. My question for you guys, Is it a national or international trend or is it San Francisco being San Francisco. I had a lot of trouble find good affordable organic produce on a recent trip to Nashville. Is organics a coming trend, or is it already here?

  • allan

    Turbinado, agave nectar, and other natural and/or unrefined sweeteners.

    Quinoa. Somebody else mentioned kamut and other grains with it, but I think quinoa has a versatility that those don’t. I have yet to find anything that doesn’t taste good with quinoa, and I think that versatility could really get it noticed.

    Indian cuisine. It’s one of the few major Asian cuisines that hasn’t exploded in the US yet, and in the past year or so I’ve been seeing more and more non-Indian faces at my local Indian haunts. It even comes with its own version of fast food (the chaat another poster mentioned). And unfortunately, some of them have been Americanizing in unpleasant ways.

    Sous vide. The botulism danger will probably keep it out of most home kitchens, but it seems to be a growing trend in restaurants. Seems like I’ve seen it several times on Iron Chef, too.

    Game. A year ago if you’d asked me where to go for rabbit I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. Now I could tell you at least a half-dozen restaurants, and at a couple of them most of the red meat on the menu is game of one sort or another.

  • Sarah

    “Umami.” I have seen it pop up in several places over the past few weeks. Bring on the savory taste of umami in my meat, cheese and soy sauce.

  • Shasta

    Organic and locally-grown ingredients are becoming more and more popular with home cooks.

    I also think crockpots on on their way back. People are getting more creative with them.

  • Cory

    Ruhlman your a smart man, you read a lot, you should know history repeats itself… and when it comes to american cuisine its a matter of bastardising cuisines, think of cuisines that are not yet bastardised, middle-eastern… indian chutneys and napad chips, graham masala mixes…

    professional kitchens.. korean black garlic will be the next up and coming thing

    your welcome for doing your homework a beer will be payment enough…

  • Diana C.

    I think a nut revival, more uses of the many varieties of nuts out in the kitchen.

  • Sharon

    Strangely, the use of nutmeg in savory dishes seems to be becoming very popular. And many of these cooks are using way too much of it! A little nutmeg in a savory custard or traditionally in a bechamel sauce is great, but too much ruins it. I had 3 dishes in the last month alone served to me with too much nutmeg.

  • Doodad

    I am going to go way out on a limb here with a prediction that I think is just beginning. As the boomers age, their influence still will shape all aspects of our culture for the next 15 years at least. I am seeing more “retro” foods and I believe the trend will continue as the aging populace wants to revisit childhood. Look at the market for vintage guitars and cars. Just my 0.02.

  • Zenpup

    Smoked paprika, while it’s been around quite a while in “foodie” circles, it’s showing up in a lot of mass-market recipes.

    Also, not food, but I sell kitchenware, and large numbers of customers are coming in for cast iron or clad cookware so they can discard their non-stick pans.

  • Harlan

    I think, that at least for the higher-end home cook, better control over temperature may be a trend. Infrared thermometers have become much cheaper. You can buy controllers for rice cookers that let you do quick-and-dirty sous vide. Digital oven controls have trickled down to even cheap apartment kitchens. As someone else mentioned, slow cookers are seeing a resurgence.

  • tgraypots

    Local, whole foods. More community gardens. Increase in number of folks cooking at home, and cooking well at home, and demise (somewhat) of dining out.

  • Susquehanna

    @Michelle: Agreed that South American food might be the approaching new wave. I hope Peruvian finally arrives.

    Folks over at Serious Eats forsee the rise of the sardine. Sardines are all wild-caught, their “family” includes multiple species of fish and they are mightly low on the food chain, i.e. very little or no mercury. And they’re damned tasty.

  • ciacontra

    I see a move toward more house-made cured, fermented and preserved foods. People taking raw ingredients like milk and meat trimmings, and making wonderful things out of them like homemade cheeses and salami. This serves people who want to know exactly what went into their bacon, brie, beer, etc. People can be organic as they want to be, as local as they can be, and also still creative. At this level of patience and involvement, it does become less ‘cooking’ and more of a hobby as well, but the results are delicious. People are always impressed by the added “I made that” when you hand them a great sausage, slice of cheese or a pint, so there’s a sense of pride in your accomplishment that I think is stronger than when you’ve just cooked a meal.

    BTW: ‘Charcuterie’ is amazing, I just had some homemade maple bacon with breakfast. Outstanding!

  • Kirk

    Sugar (Death to HFCS)
    Wild Game, especially game birds
    Homemade, everything from bacon to butter to bread to ketchup

  • Flaime

    In the near term, home gardening. The economic downturn (which will get worse as consumers get more pessimistic) will push people to find ways to reduce their food budgets, which will lead everyone who has the available means to try gardening (I don’t know how many will be successful). In the long term, a return to peasant food, the food of our grandparents. One, because the grandchildren in Generation Y seem unnaturally obsessed with heritage and two, because the economic outlook for the average American isn’t going to improve much over the next few years…and American attitudes often put food at the bottom of the rung. Peasant food is cheap and filling (it may or may not be tasty depending on who is making it).

  • Shannon

    I find I’m tossing away the legacy of processed foods and ingredients handed down by my parents and returning to making meals and treats for my family from scratch using simple and wholesome ingredients.

    Eating La Choy, Stove Top stuffing, Swanson’s TV dinners as a child and into adulthood, my body is screaming at me to stop feeding it that crap. And lo and behold, it’s just as convenient to make a fresh meal as it is to nuke a processed dinner in the microwave.

    Simple simple simple…..

  • kitchengeeking

    I’ve seen more pictures of poached eggs in the food blogosphere in the last few months than recent memory. cookeatfret and ironstef are prime (gorgeous, tasty looking) examples of those photos. properly poaching an egg, just mmmm.

  • Natalie Sztern

    the united states is a huge population made up of many ethnic foods so when u ask for the next tradition in food is meant “in New York or Chicago” or is meant in Arkansas and Kansas?

  • Sarah

    Ditto the local/homegrown comments, both for quality and affordability reasons. Next year when we’ve settled into our new house, we will be putting in our first vegetable garden, and we’re looking at putting in “ornamentals” in our front yard that also produce fruit, like berry bushes and possibly a fruit tree or two. We’re also trying to eat vegetarian 1-2 nights a week, for reasons of both health and economics. Beans and rice with some herbs and a nice salad is a cheap and tasty way to eat (and takes next to no prep time if you soak the beans the night before and use the slow cooker), even when you score the ingredients at Whole Foods or the local organic co-op. I’ve also been looking for recipes for homemade sauces, but I haven’t actually tried whipping any up (yet).

  • Todd

    Lard – especially the real stuff (no hydrogenated) As “EVOO” is now part of the general vernacular, lard will soon follow as more people turn back to retro cooking like pies and confit.

  • chadzilla

    I am going to push for new cooking techniques to make it into the home kitchen… specifically, sous-vide cooking. With foodsavors and cheap ziploc vacuum devices making their way into every home, it’s only inevitable. Consider a machine like the PID from Fresh Meals Solutions http://freshmealssolutions.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=15&Itemid=26.
    It can easily and affordably allow any home cook to explore the wonderful world of sous vide cuisine.
    I mean, if thousands of people shelled out a couple of hundred dollars each for a trendy kitchen item such as the tajine (so much that you see them in every kitchen store now), then why not spend a couple hundred on something much more versatile and innovative?
    My SVM should arrive in the mail any day now.

  • hollerhither

    Quite a few restaurants have closed lately in my neck of the woods. People seem to be returning to home cooking and tightening their belts, so to speak.

    So ditto those who say local/home-grown, cheap cuts. CSA or the return of the “victory garden.” Slow-cooker utilization for stuff like dried beans. Frugal — minimizing waste. Focus on efficiency and prep. Re-purposing leftovers in new dishes.

    I wonder, though, if there won’t be even more of a split between those who do the above, and those who, like others have said, rely more and more on takeout of “complete meals.”

    I would be interested to see (yet have no evidence of) a backlash against excessive food packaging, just as we’ve seen the rise in objections to plastic water bottles. One of the downsides to even high-quality takeout, as much as I love it when I’m too tired to contemplate cooking.

  • mirinblue

    The Locavore movement is growing and will continue..eating only ingredients procured from a 100 mile radius of your home.

    As fuels begin to price transportation out of the market, any trucked or shipped goods will become rather pricey. As we stretch our budgets, I think more will turn to local foods, whether they be home grown gardens, farmers markets or local purveyors.

    Also less sodium and corn syrups and trans fats..which is not an issue as you begin to prepare locally grown foods in the home kitchen.

    Anything prepared simply and beautifully.

  • The Yummy Mummy Cooks Gourmet

    So many good predictions, but I agree with Ben on this one. I think home cooks are coming around to what they can actually make at home – cheese, charcuterie, etc. Case in point, I’m learning how to make hot dogs (Thanks to a recipe from “Art of the Pig”, which he got from a course at CIA)…If you’d ask me 2 months ago if I would make my own hot dogs, I would’ve told you you were crazy, but here I am, up to my elbows in ground beef. It happened because we made a connection here as commenters and that connection inspired me to up my game.

    I think there is a lot more daring and adventure in home kitchens these days (think Bill Buford slaughtering a pig in his NYC kitchen) and it has a lot to do with how close we are to professional kitchens and chefs, opinion-makers and other food writers. Years ago, I would have had to meet an author at a book signing and maybe shoot a quick question at him as he was running out the door. Now, we know where professionals buy their food and we buy there too. We know where to go to learn about techniques and equipment and chefs can be in our living rooms and kitchens whenever we want them. If we need to know how to cook something, we can go on-line and find any number of experts to give us the steps. And food blogging is crucial to this – it puts everyone in close contact, sharing concepts and that gives people good ideas and a whole lotta inspiration they can take back to their kitchens.

    So, yeah, I think a new trend will be home cooks upping their game and trying to make foods we used to leave to the professionals.

    Just my two cents…


  • Maria

    I’m hoping for more meat CSAs.

    And the rise of interesting street food. Getting lots of coverage in the travel sections of food magazines these days and it seems like a good trend in a poor economy.

  • GG Mora

    I’m deeply offended by delGrosso’s comment.

    Kidding aside, I’m with the crowd that sees do-it-yourself, local, homegrown, simple food & foodways taking hold. A lot of it may be fashion right now, but I do believe our world is on the cusp of changing in ways we can only begin to imagine, and being largely responsible for one’s own food will become a necessity. People who’ve lost touch with where their food comes from – who rely on packaged, prepared and take-out foods, who wouldn’t begin to know what to do with a whole fresh unpeeled carrot, who couldn’t bake a loaf of bread to save their lives – those folks will find themselves screwed and scrambling (and hungry).

    For now, I’m fashionably learning to make my own butter, yogurt, cheese, sausage, etc, and already have a big trendy garden in the yard, and I’m so cool, I can and preserve all kinds of stuff. And we’re building a stone root cellar this summer and planting a bunch of fruit trees.

  • milo

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned grass-fed beef.

    Products made without corn. I’ve been scouring labels and avoiding it wherever possible. HFCS is a big one, but there are many other corn based ingredients plus beef raised mainly on corn. (yes, I recently finished Omnivore’s Dilemma)

    I agree that people will be more concerned about sourcing – not just organic foods, but more from farmers markets and finding local farmers and buying direct from them. I have to say, it’s awesome eating food when you have met the farmer and even visited the farm in person.

    I agree about the nose to tail thing as well, although for many people it won’t be about eating offal, but expanding from just chicken breasts and the other couple expensive boneless cuts from each animal to include the cheaper cuts as well.

    Tapas style small plate dining applied to other nationalities and styles of food. I’d love to see tasting menus and price fixe become more widespread.

    To be honest, I can’t think of any cuisines or ingredients that seem on the verge of becoming trendy – I think people’s biggest priority will be getting (and making) better versions of the things they’re eating already.

  • rockandroller

    I think there is an increase on finding ways to obtain food from local sources as often as possible and in terms of home cooks, a focus on returning to “whole” foods instead of processed food, sugar substitutes, a return to butter instead of margarine. With the increased cost of food I think that we are going “retro” as home cooks and are looking for ways to stretch the dollar, by buying less expensive or formerly “questionable” cuts of meat, being open to eating parts that we might not have before for no other reason than they cost less. I think home cooks are starting to learn that a whole chicken is tastier and cheaper than buying boneless/skinless breasts and they want to figure out how to obtain it from as local a source as possible and cook it themselves.

  • Lee Ashwood

    I agree with the person who said “lard”.
    It’s a throwback to my grandmama who kept that little jug with strainer on the stove or counter and used the bacon drippings for everything from green beans and potatoes, to grease the cornbread pan, to make fast gravy. It was “gross” when I was 16 and trying to get away from everything country and old. Now that there’s a war on, a dollar doesn’t buy squat and I’m trying to keep up with feeding a family of 6, that lard pot is looking more and more reasonable. Seems I’ve turned into my Granny and it’s actually looking very chic and tasty.

    I also think that consumers are looking at their dollars very very closely now and restaurant dollars VS home cooked food dollars is going to be an interesting battle to watch.

    I know which has won here at our home front.

  • vicky

    luis…If I may quote you…

    “I don’t know about your neck of the woods but around here there is the Whole Food Markets which dedicate 30-40% floor space to “restaurant” type food already cooked and ready to go…People want good food and they don’t have time to prepare it at home.
    Michael I think prepared food to go is the thing you are looking for. The new trend is to pick up a complete dinner on the way home….Active professionals are big on buying food to go….Meals you pop into the oven and cook, but these are not frozen just prepared seasoned and all.”

    Posted by: luis | April 08, 2008 at 01:16 AM

    This is exactly what I do as a cook at Wegmans. We cook complete entrees..you choose the meat, then the sides. We serve them hot or we have cold food you heat up at home. Customers are looking for “Gourmet-Takeout.”

  • Badger

    As a home cook myself, I have to echo those who’ve mentioned sustainability, economy and a DIY aesthetic as the next big things, at least for home cooks. I do think there are a lot more people starting to do charcuterie, home-brewing, pickling/curing/brining than ever before, mostly so they can have control over the ingredients and the process, as another commenter mentioned.

    And as others have also mentioned, home gardening and edible landscaping are the next logical steps (for those who have the time/space) after CSAs and farmer’s markets. I think, as an extension of that, we’re going to see more truly seasonal eating — no more fresh tomatoes in December, unless you’ve got a hothouse, or know someone who does.

    As far as sous-vide making the jump to home kitchens, what you’re more likely to see are DIY attempts at creating that, rather than a bunch of home cooks flocking to their local restaurant supply for the real deal. I’ll leave it to the food safety experts to decide whether or not that’s a good idea.

  • PMike

    Local foods, definitely- with a focus on produce. Whether from farmers markets or home grown, more people are looking closer to home. The high cost of fuel is helping to make this more economically prudent as well by closing the price gap somewhat.

    This naturally leads to eating things on a more seasonal basis, and towards heirloom veggies.

  • Jeff D

    I agree with the comments about both cheaper and more seasonal products.

    My wife and I are cooking a lot more with pork and beef roasts that will last a long time and are cheaper than other cuts. I’ve also made a point of saving bones for stock so that we can make very flavorful soups.

    We’ve also joined a Community Supported Agriculture program, as it allows us to fix our weekly cost of produce at about $25 and we get guaranteed knowledge of where our food is coming from.

  • luis

    At home I am getting away from frozen veggies, canned sauces, canned food in general and anything that can potentially linger in the kitchen for longer than it should. As far as cooking, I want to shop and cook all in the same day including making my own sauces. Oils and grains and pastas anything that can stand a long shelf life is ok to have around. I can shop for the week for ingredients such as veggies, dairy etc…
    But the whole point of cooking at home is to make the freshest best sauces and meats and veggies I can enjoy.
    For this I have to super organize my kitchen and define my cuisine and plan my menus exactly right.
    But this is NOT a national trend.

    The new trend is Folks are buying gourmaid food done this way from their specialty stores such as whole foods, Norman bro’s and many others. Face it after a long day’s work you don’t have time for charcuterie or any recipe that has a long list of steps and ingredients. Nobody does. And many of you recognize the economy and the state of most home budgets… This is why I think stir fry will grow in popularity. It fits with the organic garden grown close to home theme. It is healthy and if you master it you can cook it relativelly very quickly.

  • Camusman

    Easy-to-prepare meals will continue to skyrocket, but more and more consumers will look for healthier versions, free of additives and environmentally correct.

  • ntsc The Art of the Pig

    When I make a sausage or preserve something in some fashion, I know exactly what is in it.

    That is becoming more and more important to me.

    The other side is economics, come fall I will be able to go to the local farm stand and buy a bushel of not quite good enough vegetables, mostly tomatoes for $12/bu. That turns into a lot of vegetable juice, and it will keep for at least two years. I’ve no idea what V-8 costs as we haven’t bought it in years.

    Saturday I’ll be buying two whole pork loins and two whole bellies. The loins will become roasts and chops, the bellies will become bacon and similar. I’ve what started as an 18 lb fresh ham hanging in my basement. Temperature is up to 55 F in the cure box, and I’m hoping it goes no higher. It will hang as long as possible, or until I need it. I’ve about 15 lbs of various dry cured sausage in small vacum bagged put ups in the freezer. I don’t buy hot dogs, Sunday I grilled homemade bratwurst.

    More and more of the DIY in terms of preservaion and fabrication. More and more explorationn of the less common (cheaper) ingrediants.

  • Paula

    Canning! It goes with the whole local/seasonal thing but it cold-climate friendly. Plus it’s a lot easier than people think.

  • Kate in the NW

    Well…there’s another side to all this. I see a lot of comments touting the coming rise of local foods, nose-to-tail, home gardens/canning, etc…and while that’s certainly what my family does, I think you’re going to get a very skewed picture from this sample of answers. I mean – who reads this blog? Not the half-a-gazillion folks who eat at Applebee’s or out of the Safeway Deli container. And it’s their dollars, not ours, that determine what gets grown en masse.

    I think foodies will always be foodies, and always have been – that’s my crowd. I’m lucky. If (when) the economy takes a downturn, we’ll get more creative, and maybe get some converts as “regular people” are forced out of the prepared-foods market and into their markets/kitchens.

    But here’s the flip side – in a bad economy, people will also be driven to work more and will have less time to shop and prepare meals. At the same time, they will also be forced to pinch pennies, which means buying whatever is CHEAP – cheap groceries, cheap “restaurants”, cheap everything – so I fear that there will be a proliferation of SYSCO freezer-to-fryolator meals being produced and consumed, and that HFCS and scary meats will actually start nudging out the good stuff again. The grocery stores will carry what the market dictates.

    Folks who are already exhausted by working 2 jobs to pay rent (or who have no job at all) won’t have the $$ to swing by Whole Foods on the way home, or the time to garden/can/cruise the Farmer’s Market/figure out how to cook.

    Cheap and Easy might make for a good social life, but not so much with the cuisine.

    On the other hand, I’ll be happy to offer cheap rent at my house to any unemployed talented chefs! 😉

  • milo

    Kate, I agree that the Applebees crowd will keep eating at Applebees.

    But the question here is what are potential upcoming food trends?

    I’d argue that the foodies (the kind of people who read these blogs) are the ones participating in whatever trends will happen. We’re not getting the Applebees opinion put forth here, but those people don’t really participate in food trends anyway, do they? At least not at a rate that will catch anyone by surprise. For the most part, people who want their food fast and cheap are mostly eating the same things they ate five or ten years ago – fast food, frozen/canned food, prefab food, salty and sugary food. There has been a slight shift toward food that at least seems healthier (apples and salads as sides at Mickey D’s), but overall people mostly eat the same unless some fad like Atkins catches on.

    I think it would be interesting to have a discussion about potential upcoming food trends at the lowest common denominator, but I assume Michael is looking for the trends food geeks see coming.

  • Andrew

    I’d say sous vide is on the horizon as a pretty popular food preparation technique. You can already buy fairly cheap controllers for crock pots/rice cookers. I can’t imagine that it would cost more than $15-20 to add that circuitry to the crock pot, plus another $2 to put a cheap circulation in it and you have device that can be used as a standard crock pot or for sous vide.

    The other thing that I think is coming is induction. We seem to be striving for energy efficiency in all other things in our life, it only makes sense that we do it here as well. I advice everyone who asks me about cookware to only buy induction capable stuff. I think with in 10 years, you might not be able to buy any other kind of electric cook top.

  • Catherine

    Wild game. Because in this economy, it’s back to the land. Being a big game hunter myself, I’m hearing huge increase in applications for hunting permits/tags….Game and Fish sites “food necessity”!

  • marko

    For middle America, it’s local, local, and more local. I’ve never seen so many minivans promoting local agriculture, which of course is a great thing, even if they put the sticker on as part of a fad. Some fads stick.

    Home brewing. Cast iron skillets. Smoked paprika. Anchovies as a spice. Topping everything with one whole locally hatched egg, e.g. pizza, salads, sandwiches, stirfry, etc. And also the return of butter, which I believe Saveur recently addressed.

    In big cities, people are probably buying the tools and trying to make foamed pesto, floating balloons of crystalized sherbert, and other such WD-50 concoctions for their poor, poor houseguests. Not that there’s anything wrong with WD-50, of course.

  • Sean Kelly

    There is a great new product out there, I am not what is in it, but it is high in protein and delicious.
    And affordable, too!

    Ask you grocer for Soylent Green.

    Remember that name: Soylent Green.

  • Connor

    To expand on my previous post, I think the use of “exotic” spices, and more specifically, spice mixtures, is an upcoming food trend. Don’t know how many times lately I’ve read about dukkah. Vadouvan is being used with vegetables and seafood dishes at several Napa restaurants — e.g., Frank Bruni wrote about it in his review of Ubuntu. As several people have noted already, as more and more folks get interested in cooking ethnic food at home, they will start experimenting with new spices and spice blends.

  • Culinary Sherpa #2

    I think everyone above has listed some great ideas as to what is on the horizon in the home kitchen.
    Here’s my 2 cents:
    I own a Personal Chef operation, perform cooking classes and co-write a food column for the Tampa Tribune.
    Indian cuisine is certainly making its way into the home kitchen. Tikka Masala can now be found in its little pre-made jar in every Tampa grocery store.
    Asian food is very, very popular. My friend owns the very popular Steamy Kitchen blog. She’s bombarded with home-cooks (of all nationalities) attempting to cook Asian cuisine for the first time, in their homes.
    Tribune readers continue to request quick meal recipes, nothing new.
    Brazilian ridizios are making their way into the home dinner party circuit. (Great, a bunch of novice drunk home-cooks with long metal, meat skewers.)
    Butter has also made a resurgence now that home-cooks figured out margarine is worse for them.
    The biggest has to be what is affordable. People are forgoing the “never eat processed foods” b/c they are watching the bottom line. Generic brands are seeing a lot of growth.

  • Sarah

    I truly think the direction of the modern family kitchen is moving towards local, seasonal and easy cooking. My grandmother was a great cook—albeit a simple one. She walked to the produce market and butcher almost every day—she bought what was fresh and reasonably priced for her family of six. I see most of my friends who like to cook doing similar things. They have fresh milk delivered, boxes of local organic vegetables (when in season) dropped at their doorstep and are making more braised meats with fresh vegetables from the farmer’s market. When you braise a pork shoulder or roast a fresh whole chicken–throw in some fresh herbs and make some buttered fresh veggies– there truly is nothing better. It is simpe and really delicious! As crazy as it sounds, stepping away from over processed foods and making a good home cooked “ traditional” meal is really on the on the upswing. Maybe it should have never left us in the first place.

  • eat4fun

    I agree that people will want local products especially with all these scares about food stuff from China and South of the Border.

    Also, convenience is still a major factor for many Americans. If companies can package full dishes that are perceived healthy and inexpensive, such as the frozen pastas complete with little sauce cubes, that would be a big hit.

    In terms of cuisines, Pho seems to be working its way towards middle American from both coasts. I don’t know about Indian food. Living in the SF Bay Area, Indian cuisine is popular but not really taken the area by storm. I don’t see it working towards middle America anytime soon.

  • Dick Black

    I see a return to home cooking in a big way. Entertaining in ones home via the dinner party will become more popular especially amongst white folk.

    People will try and apply the 100 mile rule when buying food. Soon, if not happening now, you will see values attached to products. 10 points for products sourced 0-25 miles, 7 points for goods sourced 25-50 miles etc….

    I also see Americans eating more local shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico or farmed in the US. I think it will come to light that much of the shrimp that is labelled Product of Thailand or Malaysia is actually malachite green laden Chinese shrimp that has been transshipped to circumvent the FDA ban.

  • Dot

    I’m a little surprised Bone marrow is not on all the menus…..
    I hope some day the next trend in the US will be meat pies like the ones in the UK. There is a cookbook called “PIE” by Angela Boggiano that has some amazing looking dishes in it.

  • Brad

    Beer. Cooking with beer, beer bars, beer pairing dinners, restaurants with good beer lists.

  • Jason D

    The trend me and my wife are moving towards is for natural foods. We live down in Dayton, OH and I think we have access to everything we would want between Dorothy Lane Market and the 2nd Street Market.

    We bought our first 1/2 gallon of Raw Milk last Saturday and we can buy locally grown, grass-fed, pasture raised veal, beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and dairy regularly.

  • kfchico

    Fresh and local produce and herbs. We are lucky to have farmers markets four times a week here in Chico and they are becoming community events. Great way to spend an afternoon or evening with friends and family buying fresh stuff that benefits home cooks and producers. Also, micro brews…can’t beat Sierra Nevada (also here in Chico).

  • Christine in the 'Nati

    I echo the frequent “fresh and local” comments. I’m not sure what else I can say about it, other than that it’s all the rage, and probably not about to die out. In fact, I’m in the process of looking to buy a house (thankfully with no house to sell holding me back) and one of my #1 criteria is a backyard suitable for a garden. Can’t get more local than that!

    I also agree with the “do it yourself” trend in foods. I got “Charcuterie” (sorry if the spelling’s bad!) for Christmas, and can’t wait to have a bit of time to dig into making my own bacon and sausage–especially italian sausage!

    One thing I’m happy to see a bit more frequently now is the use of herbs (beyond mint) in mixed drinks. I really never got into beer or wine (though I’ve tried), so I’m always excited when restaurants take their cocktail craftsmanship seriously and up the ante. Basil seems to be popular, and can take a ho-hum drink to another level. In general, I’d say I’m a fan of fusing savory and sweet in new or unexpected ways, so this is a trend I hope to see broaden in the near future.

  • ErikaK

    Local food & a return to cooking and eating as a family. I think the “cheap cuts” mentality is already here, restaurants are full of short ribs, flatiron steak, lamb shanks — so much so that I have seen the price actually come up on these cuts in stores. Oxtails & marrow bones are actually sitting there in the supermarket for the eating – buy them instead of the boneless skinless tasteless, people! Meat on the bone instead of processed within an inch of its flavor.
    I also think that another new trend will be advocating small ethnic markets to the mainstream – although after a trip to the local mercado for carne ranchera, I can’t see middle America buying a 3 foot long piece of fried pork skin^^

  • KO

    I live in a sparsley populated area and what I’m seeing here is interest in locally grown, raised food, and using the whole animal, as in offal.

  • Skawt

    What I’d really like to see are good prepackaged stocks. Stock shouldn’t have salt in it. I’m annoyed that I have to hunt around to find the lowest amount of sodium in the various offerings, when there shouldn’t be any. I would also like to see actual beef stock, since the only ones I’ve seen are actually beef FLAVORED, and not made the normal way (see Ruhlman’s Elements of Cooking for stock prep).

    This doesn’t mean I don’t make my own stock. But I tend to use a lot of stock, and I just don’t have the time, storage space or the bones to continually make stock. I save the good stuff I make for the special dinners.

  • Aaron

    These are interesting times in the food world. I think we’re seeing the end of the mega-restaurant. I think more and more chefs are getting tired of being nothing more than the guy with the clipboard. So I think we’re going to see smaller more European style restaurants. Good, simple food, no more than 40 seats, and really nice ingredients, and a twist — maybe housemade sausages, breads, or beer — and affordable prices. I think too there is going to be a return to cooking at home.

  • Jonathan Castner

    I think that there will be two trends: one for foodies and one for everyone else.

    Foodies will really start to get into the cuisine of southeast asia and the pacific rim.

    Everyone else will start to cook. They will not be trying to do the things that we bother with but they will bring back the home cooked meal centering on revamped American classics and then branch out into the country cooking of France, Italy and Mexico. They will want to save money and not be running around as much.

  • CG

    Some things I’ve noticed:

    * Cooking the hole-animal: ryan mentions this above with the ‘cheaper cuts’ comment. How many oven/range ads have you seen that involve cooking a whole fish (head-on).
    * Crock pots, lots of crock pots cooking low & slow: American comfort foods as well as imported spicy treats.
    * Hell, even fondue pots have been broken out without a hint of irony or sarcasm.
    * Garden-sourced: we’re lucky enough to have a garden. We’re lucky enough to organize a regular garden-trade with our neighbors. http://fruit.greacen.com. Everyone in our group is an enthusiastic locavore.
    * Home-roasted coffee. I’ve heard of a few people repurposing their popcorn poppers & backyard gas stoves to create the perfect roast.

  • Tags


    With all the fast-foods like McDonalds and Yum Foods, chains like Applebee’s and Outback, processed hydrogenated and HFCS foods in the supermarkets, the big trend is toward fighting cancer, as well as heart disease.

    Cancer first, because it’s more frightening.

    Unfortunately, corporate food producers are allowed to get away with claiming benefits of ingredients that contain antioxidants and nutrients – before they concentrate and pasteurize them.

    With any luck, that will start to change next January.

  • Clare

    Stews and other braised dishes. It seems non-cooks are just starting to discover the wonders of braising, and the concept fits perfectly in our current economy. People will be looking for ways to stretch a dollar and what better way than slow cooking a cheap cut of meat, some inexpensive veg and coming out with something worthy of a five-star restaurant?

  • Db Sweeney

    I think it’s going to be Street Food. With the proliferance of travel shows (Bourdain, Zimmern, and the like) and the constant highlights of them walking through the street and picking up a (insert protein here) sandwich or (another protein) on a stick, I think it’s a trend that’s going to continue to grow here in the U.S.

    We just had a cart open here in the Twin Cities…..IN DECEMBER. You have to love food and cooking to sit outside and cook for people in sub-zero temperatures no?

  • Catherine Mayhew

    The beef industry has to have its panties in a wad over the astronomical price of beef. Grocery stores are actually selling 1/2-inch thick T-bones. Home cooks are going to discover or rediscover economic cuts such as flat iron, skirt, and flank and learn how to cook them medium rare and sliced against the grain.

  • Hank

    I’m thinking that elements of molecular gastronony (or whatever you want to call it), will creep into the kitchen somehow. Not exactly sure how, though…

    I also think nose-to-tail will become a little more popular, and there is already evidence of this in that oxtails are running more than $5 a pound in some places now; I used to buy them for less than a dollar not too long ago.

  • Dixon L. Creasey, Jr.

    Well, since we have dried urine used as a salt, and kopi luwak is so hip, I guess the next logical step is raiding the crops of pelicans for sashimi…

    (Oh, poo. I forgot about cormorants.)

    Or, perhaps, since bull penis has been wicked popular on the AB and AZ shows, the next new trend will be “sizzlin’ pizzle”, or “dick on a stick”. I’m sure there will be some stiff competition, marketing it.

    Just sayin’…

  • Johnaka

    Along with Local will be a greater understanding that local does not necessarily mean better for the environment. Lamb shipped from New Zealand can actually leave less of a footprint than that raised locally. (See http://ajswordstochewby.blogspot.com/2008/04/locavore-and-bigger-picture.html)
    Idea about local/seasonal, our dangerous food system (meat and Chinese imports) and the lousy economy will have more people turning to a Depression DIY resourcefulness. With these influences and younger generations willing to embrace immigrant and ethnic roots (Hello Barak!), we will see another return to “comfort food” but of the generation of our grandparents and great grandparents, and not the “comfort food” we saw in the late 80s after the last recession of mac and cheese, meatloaf, and other yummies of baby boomers.It will be cabbage rolls, braised cheap cuts of meats, quality stews of home grown vegetables (Sunday Suppers at Lucques and Zuni Café Cookbook having been getting their workout in my home the past year).

    Molecular gastronomy is fun to watch and eat, and even more fun to describe to awed coworkers, but if it is dependent on a chemical that I can’t pronounce, well, I’ll take duck confit any day. Sous vide will have applications, but the chemical tricks will have limited influence on the general public, no matter who wins on Top Chef.

    I disagree with TheApostateChef (April 07, 2008 at 11:35 PM). Yes the economy tanked then, and we saw a few casualties. But since then, things have only gotten bigger and brighter, e.g., the ghastly baroque, super-faddy Cooks Magazine reincarnated as the more focused, standard-bearing Cooks Illustrated. New magazines, shows, classes, and eateries have appeared that were unimaginable 15 years ago. Like the NBA, which is having a demise, we have our overhyped stars, but unlike the NBA, food will always have a place in our culture, lives, and memories.

  • Lisa

    I think that budget foods and vegetarian main dishes, featuring cheaper staples (like beans and rice) will see growth as food prices soar.

    Indian food is definitely something that is up and coming, but much of it needs a modern American interpretation to succeed. I know a lot of people who think of Indian food as a bunch of runny sauces with unidentifiable ‘things’ in it.

    Right now, I see a lot of Indian restaurants in my area (Phoenix) serving a lot of canned and frozen items and not really having a skilled chef in the kitchen. -Giving the entire cuisine a bad name.

    I think the situation is a lot like where we were at with Chinese food in the 1950s.

    Backyard gardening is certainly on my mind a lot recently, as well as several of my friends. I am re-doing my back yard to start growing my own veg. The compost tumbler went out back last month.

    I also predict a rise in entertaining at home, eating and drinking, rather than going out. -Including cocktail parties featuring more juice and herb based concoctions.

  • eat4fun

    What’s up with oxtails being so dang expensive, over $4/lb!

    I ended up making short ribs for half the cost.

  • Mike

    I think the newest trend will be the migration away from learning from TV cooks to learning from actual, serious chefs. The TV cook culture reached an absurd high with people learning from the likes of Rachel Ray and Sandra Lee. I think we’ll see people start to lean more on serious chefs or cooks to learn refined techniques and about the use of better ingredients.