Recession-Proof Food Trends For 2010

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Food essayist Bonny Wolf looks into her crystal bowl to see the culinary future. Turns out donuts are the new cupcakes, and beer is the new wine.


The holiday season would not be complete without some prognostication about trends for 2010. WEEKEND EDITION food essayist Bonny Wolf now gazes into her crystal ball to see the culinary future.

BONNY WOLF: Doughnuts are the new cupcakes and beer is the new wine. Yes, both favorites of Homer Simpson. Remember, the recession. You can still get a cake doughnut, but also green tea, rosemary thyme and, of course, maple-glazed bacon. Bacon is still everywhere, even in cocktails. A doughnut's better with coffee, but beer is the it drink. There's home brewing, barrel-aging, seasonal beers and beer-centric restaurants offering food pairings. As you probably know, Belgian-style wheat beer is perfect with deviled eggs.

Cardamom, a member of the ginger family, will be the spice of the year. Used in chai tea, the aromatic Indian flavor will become even more familiar. The focus on local, sustainable and simple will continue - just more so. Eating local has gone into overdrive. Restaurants have their own gardens or get produce in the neighborhood. There's a rooftop farm in Brooklyn for Pete's sake.

If you can't grow your own, join a CSA. Community supported agriculture has had a growth spurt along with the local (unintelligible) movement. Sign up and you get a box of produce every week from a real farmer.

Consumers also want to know where their meat comes from. This has led to foodom's new rock star: the butcher. Someone has to cut and grind all that grass-fed beef. And by the way, watch for a lot of lamb this year. Domesticated game meat such as bison and venison will be on more plates. On "Top Chef," where many trends are born, Brian's venison dish was a strong contender. Where's the beef? Check your iPhone's food apps. There are trillions of them, and they put sources, recipes and restaurant reviews at your fingertips. They are hot.

In the kitchen, though, it's back to basics. We'll be doing a lot of cozy cooking, friends in front of the fire, Sunday suppers in the kitchens - you get the idea. Celebrity chefs are all over this. Jaime Oliver and Gordon Ramsey have new books with food you can actually make yourself without special equipment. Uber-chef Thomas Keller's new book has recipes for chicken pot pie and beef stroganoff. And old-fashioned layer cake might finish the meal.

Look for pickling and canning both at home and in restaurants. Keller's book has a whole pickle section. On the health front there's lots of talk about nutritionally balanced meals for children. That would probably leave out doughnuts.

HANSEN: WEEKEND EDITION food essayist Bonny Wolf. This is NPR News.

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