Five food and cooking trends in 2014 (and two predictions for 2015)

304 - chefs knife

With only a day to go until we have to wave goodbye to the year that was 2014, now might be a good time to review a few of the trends in cooking and in the kitchen over the past year.

In The Grind, we’ve always aimed to keep you up to speed with technology, particularly when it relates to kitchen knives and kitchens, and we’ve not been averse to digging into the history behind some of the knife related gadgets, such as the very first electric knife sharpeners.

Some of the technology we reviewed is yet to make its way into everyday kitchens, but here are some of the general food trends we’ve spotted over the past year that we think have.

This is just our own opinion of course – let us know if you think we’ve got it wrong or missed any major ones…

1) Fat is back (and sugar is the big baddie)

After being advised to watch our calories and cut down on eating full fat food, more recent medical and nutritional research seems to be pointing to sugar as the big baddie, not so much fat. Although still not ‘proven’ many people are already changing their food intake away from ‘low cholesterol’ to ‘low sugar’ and full fat milk, butter and fatty meat are all having a bit of a renaissance. Certainly good news for the tastebuds, even if we are in no position to argue one way or the other, we’re just watching the debate and seeing the trend…

2) Fermented Food

Suddenly all the foods that we turned our noses up at as kids are ‘superfoods’. Think German sauerkraut (fermented cabbage – pictured above), Korean kimchi (fermented vegetables) and tempeh – fermented tofu. These are all acquired tastes, but clearly worth acquiring from a health point of view. Even beer qualifies as fermented. Hooray!

3) Dinner Parties

Who goes to dinner parties anymore? Well, apparently quite a few people and it’s a bit of a trend (not one your author has participated in yet). It’s a little more casual now by all accounts, with very little of the 1950s Mad Men era ‘everything must be perfect’ approach.

4) Woodfired (everything)

Although the first word that springs to mind is pizza, woodfired is good for a lot more food, chicken for example. A bit hard to do in the kitchen – may require a woodfire oven to be built in the backyard. Just make sure that, once you build it, you use it more than once.

5) Going Native

If you read our article on kangaroo meat, you’ll understand the health benefits of eating some of the animals on the Australian flag. But it’s not just the kangaroos on the menu – if there is ever a food shortage around the world, the humble Aussie bug (cricket, witchety grub, take your pick) is shaping up as the protein source of the future. And – we understand – they don’t taste that bad.

And here are two food trends we think will get bigger in 2015…

1) Out with the carbs, in with the protein and the veggies

If sugar was the baddie in 2014, its going to be carbohydrates* in 2015. Of course you can’t cut out carbohydrates completely as they’re in almost everything, but – proponents of the new approach suggest – you can cut down on the high carbohydrate content foods such as potato, pasta, bread etc. Protein – meat, fish, eggs etc – is all good, plus of course lots of vegetables (to make up for all the yummy carbohydrates you’re not allowed to eat any more).

2) Skipping the three square meals a day

Doctor and TV presenter Michael Mosley looked into the impact of fasting on health in the BBC Horizon documentary series ‘Eat, fast and live longer’ and he, and the medical professionals involved in the program, concluded there were considerable health benefits to skipping food on an occasional and planned basis.

We’re grateful that, whatever trends you plan on embracing in 2015, we know that cooking great food, whether at home or in a restaurant, is not going to go out of fashion anytime soon, and – whatever you choose to eat – you’ll probably still need to chop it up at some point (with a good kitchen knife – perhaps even an I.O.Shen) before it goes into your mouth!

*yes, we know sugar is a carbohydrate

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