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From: Food Quality & Safety magazine, February/March 2010

Mmmm … Bacon

by Pat McGee

Pat McGee

The end of the year is always an opportunity to make lists of things like the top news stories of the year, the top scientific breakthroughs, and other great advances. But when a decade is ending, the lists come even more fast and furious.

Not wanting to be left out of the action, “The Food Channel” took a look back at the last 10 years from a food perspective, covering everything from the top flavors to the top food stories.

“Our chefs and editorial staff have seen a lot of changes in the last ten years,” said Kay Logsdon, managing editor of “The Food Channel.” “Food has become a story like never before, and it’s interesting to look back at how its growth has impacted our society. Over the last few years, we’ve been able to visit restaurant after restaurant, attend the biggest food shows, and try new products, giving our editors a firsthand look at what’s been happening with food.”

Some of the choices were to be expected, but others were baffling. Sliders, gourmet burgers made with Kobe or Angus beef, and artisanal breads, cheeses, and dark chocolates make perfect sense as some of the top trends.

But sushi? Maybe my perspective is skewed because I live in the New York City area and spent several years living in Los Angeles, but it seems to me that sushi has been ubiquitous for the last 20 years. And not just in big cities, but in suburban strip malls as well.

But, as Alice said after going down the rabbit hole, it gets curiouser and curiouser, because two other items on the top ten trends list are bacon and cupcakes. Now we all know that both of these have been around for a long time, and both played a role in that memorable Easter dinner in 1978. Remember the one where Uncle Tony, whose two favorite foods were bacon and cupcakes, stood up from the table like a startled animal before keeling over dead from a massive coronary? How can you forget?

Yet our friends at “The Food Channel” have cupcakes and bacon on their list, so they must be right. Maybe they meant artisanal bacon. You know, the organic mango chutney-smoked bacon cured with a lingonberry infusion? The kind that costs $28 a pound at Whole Foods?

Harry Balzer, on the other hand, thinks you should forget about bacon and cupcakes and focus on yogurt. Balzer, vice president of the market research firm The NPD Group, recently named yogurt the food trend of the decade.

“It’s very convenient. It’s very individualized,” Balzer told National Public Radio, an appropriate venue, given that the staff and listeners of NPR probably consume 80% of the yogurt produced in the United States. “This is just for you. It’s your own flavor. It has a health halo certainly surrounding it. It really does define what I think America wants from its food supply.”

I like yogurt myself, though I think the whole halo thing is a bit much. But if they came out with a bacon-flavored yogurt …

Sincerely,

PATRICK McGEE
Editor
pmcgee@wiley.com

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