Trust the Trend
At one time or another everyone of us has been caught up in a fad. With great pride I went to school sporting striped suspenders studded with buttons. I think the picture to the right demonstrates that copying Robin Williams’ cocaine influenced Ork-style was not my only fashion infraction.
That is in fact me, the Wannabe TV Chef in the size-too-small Subway shirt while rocking the mullet and porn stash. Note that I am frying bologna in Parkay!
I share this with you to say that all of us have at one time tried on a fad only to years later have an embarrassing photo show up on Facebook. That is because fashion trends are stupid.
Food trends on the other hand are not. Food trends do not come from the mind of a “gifted” fashionista or spring forth from the THC clogged lymbic system of some modern day Holden Caulfield. Food trends are the result of innovation – overcoming adversity by utilizing what you have available to you.
Remember when deep dish pizza, sun dried tomatoes and Buffalo wings were all the newest thing in food? Food trends are rarely created by someone trying to revolutionize the culinary world but rather by someone trying not to starve to death. Have you noticed that food trends may lose their status but the technique nearly always becomes part of the standard repertoire? You cannot find parachute pants these days but egg rolls and nachos are everywhere.
A food trend is simply a regional technique or ingredient that works it’s way into the mainstream. It was just a few years ago that flavored foams, panini and sous vide were cutting edge; now few are surprised to see them on a menu. Foods are only trendy because they are new. At one point or another everything we eat was a fad. With that in mind why are Americans such sissies?
Huh? There are over a billion people in India that eat Indian food everyday, of course they just call it food. Indian cuisine is the most popular ethnic food in the UK as well. It’s as popular with the Brits as Mexican is here in the States. For the record, had it not been for Europe’s lust for the flavors of India, Christopher Columbus might never have become the fifth person to discover the New World.
There is a reason that Food Network senior vice-president Bob Tuschman has been desperate to find the right host to do a show on Indian cuisine on the Network. He knows, after years of doing his job very well, that with the right star behind it Indian cuisine will be the next hot trend in food; it will be the next sushi or Korean BBQ taco. He knows that in ten years most people won’t remember Indian food as being exotic or bizarre.
So when you see that wild new item or flashy new cooking style on the menu try to remember that the chef would not serve it if it didn’t taste good. That’s not the business they’re in – the tricking people into eating something nasty business. The fast food industry has that all wrapped up. So, please, try the roasted pork belly, try the heirloom tomato salad, try the fricking curried lamb. Trust the trend.