By Marsha Fottler –
It’s a new year and there are trends aplenty on the horizon in the categories of cooking and food in home kitchens and in restaurants. As a cooking magazine dedicated to the pleasures of the table, we think the following will be big in 2011.
Cooking and Food Trends:
Sausage. In stores and on restaurant menus look for higher quality and more ethic varieties of sausage. 2011 is the year of the sausage. Inspired by TV celebrity chefs who make it look easy and fun, home cooks will attempt making their own signature sausage creations. Blood sausage, bratwurst, pepperoni, goetta, chipolata, andouille, banger or kishke, could become household culinary words. Will any of these sausages replace bacon in popularity? Not likely.
Pimenton. It’s Spanish smoked paprika that is an essential ingredient in the making of chorizo sausage. But, lately pimenton is turning up in recipes that
include rack of lamb, short ribs and more.
Flavored sugars. Buy them in small packets in spice stores and use to add
sparkling taste to coffee, muffins, cakes or sprinkle atop cookies or brownies
just before baking. These new sugars have lovely accent flavors such as ginger, lavender, lemon/lime or raspberry/chocolate.
Black rice. Also called Forbidden Rice, because this Chinese heirloom rice was once reserved exclusively for the Emperor’s table. Black rice (it’s actually deep purple in color) is high in antioxidants, iron and fiber. It will be the starch with the most buzz in 2011.
Vegan recipes. The easy availability of vegan-focused ingredients means that more home cooks will experiment with recipes that use no meat, seafood or dairy products. They’ll do it for perceived health reasons.
Authentic ethnic. It’s a global marketplace and Vietnamese street food, Chinese steamed dumplings as well as Mexican mole will be on our home menus as food and travel writers promote a wider range of dishes and homeowners realize they can get exotic ingredients online.
Flexitarian. An eater who chooses mostly plant-based diet but will occasionally add animal protein to a meal. Because of health concerns, the economy and heavy marketing within the vegetable industry many of us will be calling ourselves flexitarians in this new year.
Casseroles. It’s part of the comfort-food movement and it reflects what homemakers are cooking for their families. Look for tempting meat and vegetable casseroles on restaurant menus. The most popular right now? Mac ‘n Cheese, of course. And then there’s that green bean casserole made with canned mushroom soup. It will never go away.
Fortified or functional foods. These are foods enriched with nutrients that may not be inherent to a given product, such as orange juice fortified with calcium or milk fortified with vitamins A and D. Look for eggs and pastas with omega-3 fatty acids, sterol-fortified chocolates and high-fiber, high protein flours. Some of these new fortified foods will promise enhanced sexual performance. Baby Boomers, now turning 65, will buy.
In general, consumers want smaller portions and lower prices. Restaurants (especially the casual dining chains) are responding with menu concepts that feature small plates and platters for sharing. The restaurant Seasons 52, which part of the Darden chain, does a particularly good job in this category.
Pie. Look for it on menus. Pie is the newest comfort food. And not just fruit or dessert cream pies but, savory pies too (chicken pot pie) will grow in popularity this year. The chef who can turn out a great crust will be a star. Lard will be the ingredient in the crust to covet.
More banquettes. Consumers appreciate big, plushy banquettes instead of traditional hard-seat booths and casual-dining chain restaurants are responding even though they realize that soft seats mean that diners stay longer delaying the turnover restaurants rely upon.
Wine walls. Restaurant designers are using wine bottles as decor and constructing walls of racked wine bottles in amusing and dramatic configurations. These walls define a space and add textural and visual interest to a room for not a lot of money. And you’ve got storage space too. Look for wine walls to become a home decor feature in family rooms, dining rooms and even a wall at the end of a large eat-in kitchen. Wine wall are meant to store and display white wine or everyday reds that you intend to drink right now since wine walls are not climate controlled.
Soft seating areas. Taking design inspiration from the lounges of cozy boutique hotels, many restaurants are now designating portions of a dining room to a soft seating area with plush sofas and comfy club chairs arranged in conversational grouping with plenty of side tables. Order a cocktail and a platter of small bites for sharing for a new way to enjoy a restaurant experience – a little bit like the comforts of home only better because the menu is more varied and you’re not in the kitchen working.
Many of the decor and appliance trends that were popular five years ago persist and are universally coveted. Homeowners who are renovating or building from scratch want the following:
Contemporary. Cottage, vintage, Country French and Mediterranean are so 2010. The new look is crisp, contemporary, uncluttered and high-style sophisticated like a Manhattan loft. Reflective surfaces reign supreme.
Organization. It will be trendy in 2011 or organize the kitchen into specific areas according to function or convenience such as the coffee bar, the baking station, the salad prep corner, the griddle counter, etc. Even small kitchens will undergo extreme organization.
Green movement. More products and kitchen furniture such as cabinets and the kitchen island will be made of recycled materials or new natural sustainable materials such as bamboo, cork, etc. Low VOC paints will become the norm.
Oak. Kitchen cabinets made of oak, not popular lately, are due for a comeback, but won’t replace maple as the number one seller.
Center island. Big and multitasking with plenty of outlets, a second sink, a microwave oven in a drawer, a shelf for cookbooks.
Pantry. Walk-in if possible but always incredibly well organized. Disappearing refrigerator. The ice box of 2011 is so cleverly clad and concealed that someone new to the kitchen won’t be able to find it. Glass tile mosaic backsplash. The patterns should use three or colors.
Wood floors. Engineered, laminate or hardwood the kitchen look for 2011 features wood such as Brazilian cherry, bamboo, oak or walnut. Stainless steel appliances. But the all-white kitchen with white appliances is coming on strong.
Extra deep sink. Big enough to bathe a baby or a dog or scrub a really big roasting pan.
Quartz counters. Giving granite a scare but not overtaking the top stone. Concrete counters are growing in popularity too. Solid surface counters remain the most popular choice for budgets in the mid-range.