If there’s one thing that births trends, it’s other trends. The cronut, a cross between a doughnut and a croissant, quickly became a mega-trend in 2013, with people willing to wait in line for hours and cronut copycats popping up everywhere. This year, look for even more unlikely mashups, from ramen burgers to the croger (a cheeseburger served on a croissant) to Oreos baked inside of everything.
As evidenced by our recent obsession with grilling and barbecue, smoked meats and fish are longstanding favorites. In 2014, look for smoke to make the jump from a popular cooking technique to a flavor. Smoked paprika has been trending for a while, and now we can add smoked beer, chocolate, and even fruit to the list.
Rise of the Root Vegetables
What saturated fat was to the ’90s, gluten is to the present day. Ingredients like soy flour and almond flour have picked up some of the slack, but we expect to see old time-y, intensely humble root vegetables like parsnips, rutabagas, and turnips making a comeback in 2014 as featured ingredients in all kinds of entrees.
Sriracha quickly went from being a fun food trend in 2012 to the ingredient you were sick of hearing about in 2013. At this point, a menu that makes a point of using it is akin to a menu that boasts of ketchup. But it’s undeniable that Americans have a newfound appetite for spicy food. So expect to see more in 2014, whether it’s house-made hot sauces or the fermented Korean hot sauce gochujang looks ready to hit the mainstream soon.
Small Fish, Bycatch, and Invasive Species
With so many of the world’s fisheries in danger of being over-fished, what seafood to eat has been an environmentally fraught decision for years. But while that bluefin tuna may be increasingly rare, there are still plenty of less prized, smaller, and even despised fish that can you can feel good about eating. That’s why outlets are predicting you’ll see more bycatch (the fish that fisherman unintentionally catch while fishing for other species) on menus. Similarly, the Daily Meal expects that more chefs will cook invasive species like the snakehead. This sort of culinary attack on an invasive species has a precedent in the UK.
Once standard, milk in glass bottles faded into obscurity along with the milkmen who delivered them. But as farmer’s markets experienced a resurgence, so did reusable glass bottles, which cut down waste and allow dairies to cut out bottling middlemen. One glass bottle manufacturer has seen sales double in the last ten years and expects even more growth in coming years. We’re considering it a 2014 food trend because we’ve started seeing glass bottled milk on local tables and at special events as a desert beverage option.
2014 will be the year this trend will take off. With even large chains like Red Robin embracing the beer cocktail, this trend is sure to hit the mainstream in a big way. Jacob Grier author of a forthcoming book on beer cocktails titled Cocktails on Tap, says: “Mixing spirits and beer is a tradition that goes back centuries, but aside from goilermakers and a few other simple drinks, it’s become something of a lost art. With the rise of craft brewing in the United States, the great variety of spirits now available, and creative bartenders looking for new drink ideas, it’s no surprise that the practice is coming back.”
Midwestern Is the New Southern
Rich stews, comforting casseroles and pie — always pie! Farmers, chefs and artisans are joining forces and energizing local food scenes. We’re loving the locavore approach to regional classics and techniques: cheese, beer, meat (especially charcuterie), baking and pickling. We’re looking at a new direction in midwestern classics infused with new-immigrant flavors (chorizo-stuffed cabbage, brats with salsa verde, braunschweiger banh mi).