The end of the year is fast approaching which means it is time to take a retrospective look at what predictions came true, what things were hot, and what things were not. On the food scene, the American Farm Bureau, along with several other food publications, recently put out its November/December newsletter which features an article about the 2012 food trends. Coming into this year, many food experts predicted that Nordic food, which uses fish, root veggies, and wild game, would be the hot trend in 2012. This did not prove to be the case, although some of the tenets of Nordic cuisine did become big news across the food world. To find out which other predictions came true and where the foodies were hanging out, we took a look at all the food trends for 2012 and here is what we found.
For the most part, our palettes seemed to be longing for days gone by and most of the hottest trends this year were geared towards recapturing that magic and getting us back to better days. Perhaps it is the unending economic turmoil or simply the need to find something that feels safe and stable to stand on that drove this year’s trends. Either way, when old becomes new again, the result is often better than the original.
Here is a run-down of some of the surprise stars and interesting trends over the past year.
If there was one thing that underpinned the overall trend this year it was a return to an artisan attitude about food. Rather than focusing on fancy ingredients or outlandish flavors, food was all about the quality of ingredients, where ingredients came from, and using creativity to create something both simple and amazing. People were making their own beer, jam, jelly, and even learning to butcher their own meat. This year also saw the local butcher begin to make a comeback.
Canning and Pickling
Extending from the artisan trend, this year was all about canning and picking everything from traditional pickling cucumbers to almost anything else in the kitchen.
At the heart of many of these trends was the desire for simplicity, to get back to the simple techniques that can make or break recipes. Restaurants and home cooks alike focused on recipes that used fewer ingredients and didn’t require fancy tools or techniques. Instead, the focus was on using quality, locally sourced ingredients and doing an amazing job turning those ingredients into delicious dishes. This year was more about substance than style.
Nothing says nostalgia like the comfort foods we grew up eating at the family dinner table. Traditional comfort foods like macaroni and cheese got a little artisan attitude and featured things like lobster and even bison. There were also grown-up versions of kid-friendly foods popping up on menus across the country as everyone longed for the simpler lives of long lost days. The best part about this trend is that our desire to be more health conscious meant that some of our favorite foods got an upgrade making them both delicious and nutritious.
What to Watch Now
Watch for these flavors to be featured in unusual places throughout the year.
- Tune in to November’s Foodiecast (fillyourplate.org)
- September Foodiecast: The Pork Shortage. Is there Really Cause for Concern? (fillyourplate.org)
- August 2012 FoodieCast: Arizona Farm Bureau Federation Interviewed with James Beard Foundation (fillyourplate.org)