The Huffington Post published their 2011 Food and Restaurant Trends and I was really excited to see what they came up with.
This past year, macarons surpassed cupcakes and we traded huge, unseemly portions for small plates. There was a huge movement toward simple cooking, using minimal but high quality ingredients and emphasizing which farm they came from. We wanted comfort food, but we wanted it exactly as we remembered it AND revamped in new, interesting ways. We called Mom about her macaroni and cheese recipe, but we also tried pumpkin penne with Gruyere, truffle oil mac, and macaroni and cheese with cauliflower puree. It seems 2011 will, at least for awhile, continue this trend, as well as branching out into new territory.
HuffPo predicts the dessert for 2011 will be pie. It'd be great to see restaurants trade out dense chocolate cake (it's at every restaurant! the same one!) for airy lemon meringue pie. Small plates and slimmed-down menus should stay for the majority of the year, and we'll see an upswing in single-ingredient restaurants (like this one devoted entirely to peanut butter).
The list also includes various meat bellies, which is wonderful, because pork belly (which gained popularity this year) is delicious. It's usually found in Asian and some Southern cuisine. I don't think neck will fare as well as they do, however I thought the same about cod cheeks last year and was dead wrong.
Hummus was mentioned, which could go one of two ways. If they mean simple, as-God-intended-it hummus, I agree with the list. Hummus never goes out of style. If they expect to see crazy variations a la 2009/early 2010, they're barking up the wrong olive tree. They also claimed hay would become an integral ingredient for smoking and roasting, which I'd never heard of before. A quick Google search shows there are plenty of meat-enthusiasts who have already tried various ways of flavoring with hay. I'd be up for a hay-infused dish -- I imagine hay would lend an earthy and sweet flavor. If Nick and I were the type to grill, we'd do it ourselves, but I'll leave it up to someone who has done it before. Hay is probably insanely flammable.
All in all, I'm thinking it was a good list. There were several more predictions, which you can check out in the slide show here. I don't entirely understand what they meant by 'dirt', because they then clarified by saying "dried, crumbled, and powdered ingredients" instead of sauce. I understand seeking different texture combinations, but I just don't get 'dirt'.
What do you expect to see in 2011's spotlight? What do you hope falls out of favor?