You've seen these (lazy-ass) year-end roundups, typically headlined "Foods for Next Year" and invented by food editors too hungover from hoiday parties to do any real research. Trends that were predicted but didn't happen? This morning's mail brings several more examples.
The National Restaurant Association, for example, weighs in with the same old Top Three: Locally sourced meats and seafood, Locally grown produce, Healthful kids' meals; followed by zzzzzzzz: Environmental sustainability as a culinary theme, Children's nutrition as a culinary theme, New cuts of meat (e.g. Denver steak, pork flat iron, teres major), Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens), Gluten-free cuisine, Sustainable seafood, Whole grain items in kids' meals. Someone should tell them none of this even 21st Century.
TIME has a top-ten list that's even less connected to reality. Won't bother retyping the list.
The folks at Allrecipes.com, on the other hand, keep track.
Here are the top examples so far this year. Cocktail-driven fails: bitters, moonshine. Exotic fails: insects, seaweed. Regional fail: Peruvian dishes. They might have been on a restaurant menu or two, but they never migrated into home kitchens. How does Allrecipes know? They actually count the clicks on their website!
Allrecipes.com was founded in Seattle 16 years ago. They're now part of Readers Digest but their headquarters are still in offices overlooking Westlake Park. (That's part of their food "museum" on the right.) The site received close to 500 million visitors in 2011, so they know something about what America wants for dinner.
Less processed food, more fruit and vegetables, for one thing. More South American recipes, they thought. (WRONG! it turned out.) Less meat in general. More pies. The biggest trend: more frequent neighborhood shopping at local bakeries, farmers markets, fruit stands, wine and butcher shops.
You could say these are self-fulfilling prophecies, that home cooks with the inclination to use the internet to look up recipes are more savvy than most, and that trends like "eating healthier" are really nothing new. But it's hard to argue with the data provided by 500 million visits. Recipe sites are said to be the fourth-most frequented internet category, after porn, search and social media. Allrecipes ranks in the top 500 websites worldwide, and always sees a big spike around the holidays as nervous bakers check recipes for apple pie and pumpkin soufflé..
What's the surprise hit recipe? This: Grilled Bacon Jalapeno Wraps. What's the biggest loser? Fettuccine Alfredo, off by 49 percent this year.