As new years go, 2013 is the most special of all. It’s our first year out of the ruins of the Mayan calendar, which you may remember ended with much fanfare and mock relief.
We’re a few months into the New Year, but what better way to celebrate than by indulging in something new at the dinner table? Here are six mealtime ideas perfect for the post apocalypse.
Healthy plates. Chefs have long catered to America’s love for bacon, fries and other fatty grub. But they are also introducing the American palate to healthy choices such as grains, vegetables, and vegetable broths. Victor Matthews, chef and American culinary ambassador, for example, has popularized a proprietary vegetable stock from grilled portobello and roasted beets. Patrons of his restaurant can’t get enough.
Asian spice, nice! As Americans seek more and more cultural discoveries at mealtime, we will no doubt see more Asian dishes. These include Vietnamese sandwiches and Korean-style marinated meat garnished with kimchi. 2013 is already seeing spice-enhanced treats from Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand making regular appearances on the American menu. Get ready for bánh mì, bugogi, and pad thai, as well as an Asian twist on American favorites. Think chili-glazed pork baby back ribs. Hungry yet?
Quacks like a duck. Chefs are scrambling for bigger eggs to fry this year, and flavor-rich duck eggs are ruling the roost. Chicken eggs aren’t flying the coop just yet, but duck eggs are more nutritious and they last longer in the fridge (due to the thick shell they have).
Pedigreed produce. Organic fruits and veggies are earning a spot on restaurant menus in a big way this year. This trend is spurred by concerns over animal welfare and the desire to buy local. Expect erstwhile green salads to crop up as entrées more and more this year. Heirloom fruits and vegetables are being cultivated for superior taste. You won’t find them in the big grocery stores, but they are the stars of backyard gardens and community-supported agriculture.
Sweet start for tart. This year a tart craze just may challenge the American sweet tooth. Processed, refined sugar causes diabetes, dental problems, and obesity, but we just can’t get enough for some reason. It’s an addiction, for sure, but now we’re discovering the delights of tart alternatives. We’re seeing more sour flavors such as sauerkrauts and pickles. Korean and Thai vinegar drinks are showing up in many restaurants . We’re even looking to our own history for inspiration as shrub drinks from the colonial era are coming back to quench the thirst of Yankee barflies. Never heard of a “shrub”? It’s a beverage from the days before refrigeration that combines fruits like raspberries and strawberries with vinegar and sugar. The result is a refreshing bevy that balances savory and sweet.
A (smaller) plateful. This year, restaurants have adopted the trend of smaller plates for smaller servings. It’s a novel way to control a big appetite while allowing for flexibility. The diner can mix and match small, healthful servings of veggies, meat, and starches. Already, waistlines across America are downsizing in response.