Well, there are divergent paths.
On the one hand, you have trends invented or encouraged by marketing forces in the industry who, after all, recognize sensibly that restaurants and grocery stores are businesses. The goal here is to create products that cost the seller less so that when the consumer buys them they make more money. Take a look at all the organic products at Whole Foods in the frozen section, for example. Look carefully. A lot of the stuff is made in China where labor costs are very low and quality control is almost nil. Organic is a trend, it has been for a long time, and next up are non-GMOs; but a non-GMO may not taste good, might be grown and harvested by underpaid workers, and could come from contaminated soil.
On the other hand, there are wishful trends. I keep hoping to see more vegetable driven food available. Like fried tofu, falafel, hummus, all bean chili, arancini, all veg dumplings and spring rolls, and as many noodles imaginable.
We shall see.
I can’t say that looking at menus around many towns is very encouraging. Typically, in a chef driven place, you see one poultry, one pork, two fish, and one beef as entrees. With sauces that have lots and lots of ingredients, and with more parts of the animal that seem anatomically possible.
I bumped into a very fine chef the other day at NEW DEAL FISH in East Cambridge and he agreed that buying beautiful and expensive products to cook at home can trump what he can afford to sell at a profit in his upscale restaurant. “But,” he said, “you have to know what to do with it.”
Good point. Learn to cook a few wonderful dishes at home, again and again and again, until the flavors you coax are familiar.
Tonight it’s fish and chips with thick haddock. And those chips? Baby yukons fried in duck fat. Cold IPA. Kick off @ 630!