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Food Trends 2012 Part Two: Food Bloggers: Julie, H. Peter, Heavenly Housewife, Barbara and Nisrine

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Perspectives from some of my Favourite Food Bloggers, Locally and Otherwise: five today and five more tomorrow

Following my Personal Reflection about Food Trends for 2012, I asked a number of my favourite Food Bloggers to provide their personal perspectives regarding food trends for 2012. I was thrilled each took the time to respond to my request and I trust you will find their answers revealing, passionate and insightful! I did!I also found that these five bloggers coming from varied countries, cultures and philosophies have provided a vast and varied perspective on what is actually happening “out there”.

Please feel free to ask each individual questions in the comments section here, as they come to mind. Certainly, as I was reading and preparing this post, questions came to mind that I will post in the comments section, too!

After reading these insights, please do take time to explore each of these websites; each has held my fascination for a very long time for varying reasons!

  1. Major local trend in your region?
  2. Trends throughout Canada or the US or your own country?
  3. Hopes and Wishes?
  4. Comments?

Julie Van Rosendaal from Dinner with Julie

Julie is a Cookbook author and food blogger hailing from Calgary, Alberta. Her warm, knowledgeable and candid voice have garnered her fans from all over the world. I first learned of Julie through my daughter, Lauren, when she first started cooking and was telling me all about how excited she was making the wonderful recipes from Julie’s website. I had my own website then, designed primarily for her and her sister, but it was Julie’s that drew her in at that time! I am charmed by so many of her recipes and posts. Her latest cookbook has just come out in 2011 and can be purchased here, along with her other titles. As she hails from the Alberta prairies like I do, was definitely eager to hear her ideas when she participated last year, and equally as curious this year!

1. What do you see as the major food trends locally (Calgary), and regionally (Alberta) 2012 ?

  • Eating locally continues to be popular, but people are turning their attention to whole foods – that is, unprocessed foods rather than those with lengthy ingredient lists.
  • Food trucks are popular this year, and I predict secret supper clubs and similar unique culinary events will start to be the thing in 2012.
  • There’s also a movement toward healthier vending machine choices, the route paved by healthyvendingcalgary.com – who has managed to package local Lund’s carrots to sell in their vending machines at schools and other family venues.

2. What do you see as major trends throughout Canada and or the US?

  • Pie is popular, although cupcakes continue to be great sellers.
  • Savoury ice creams and legumes like roasted chickpeas are showing up on restaurant menus.

3. What would your most sincere hope, wish, or desire be to see as a food trend in 2012?

  • That people see the importance of cooking with their kids, of passing on culinary traditions to the next generation and instilling a love for cooking and appreciation of how food brings people together around the table.

HPETER from The Celiac Husband (Now in France)

H. Peter participated in last years food trend posts and is again, thoughtfully insightful. He is living my dream as he has uprooted his family from the Cochran area of Alberta (between Calgary and Banff) and moved to France for a year. Bravo! So many of us want to be as adventurous, but so few take the plunge. I am completely in awe! Last year, H. Peter called out for someone in Alberta to make artisan ice cream that would compare to the delectable confection served in France. Still hasn’t happened. This year, he has another equally compelling idea! You can follow his experience on his site and on facebook.

1. What do you see as the major food trends locally (name your locality), and regionally (your region) 2012?

  • I’ve just been here since late October; “here” being the Charente Maritime in France, so I don’t want to predict a trend as much, but rather state the obvious.  Individualize and specialize.  Foie Gras or Jambon being the status quo, but even less likely products sometimes are the only item an artisan makes. Brioche is a perfect example. There are small, husband, wife size bakeries that produce nothing else but that sweet, soft bread. And they thrive. I met one such vendor at a recent food fair and to my surprise she told me she is only selling at fairs and is very happy with her business. Plenty of similar  micro producers  here and most likely all over France.
2. What do you see as major trends throughout Canada and or the US  and or France?
  • In North America, I see the continuation of a trend that already has begun: eat healthier, eat food from sources you know and want to support because all involved will benefit. Producers becoming viable enterprises, consumers getting healthier.
  • As for France, I will give you and update in mid 2012
3. What would your most sincere hope, wish, or desire be to see as a food trend in 2012?
  • Financial viability for small producers is my sincerest wish. There are many of them out there with brilliant ideas to feed us well, but once they crunch the numbers (rent at the Farmers’ market, other overhead) they decide to stick to their day jobs. Which is a shame really.
4. Any other comments…
  • WHEN will someone make decent butter in Canada? Major niche market! Good, creamy,small patch butter.

HH from Heavenly Housewife

Last year, I didn’t invite bloggers to chime in that were not local; however this year, I decided to extend such invitations to see what commonalities may rear their heads through the reflective process. I “met” HH a couple of years ago and if you enjoy having a good giggle with your morning coffee, make sure you visit her site. She delves into her cooking and eating out experiences in the UK with a devilish sense of wonder, entitlement and disdain. She hails from the US and has traveled extensively. She has her finger on the pulse of what is going on in her region!

1. What do you see as the major food trends locally (name your locality), and regionally (your region) 2012 ? 

  • My region, Staffordshire England, is not that much of a foodie place. That being said, there have been a lot of new big supermarkets popping up, but the food inside them hasn’t really changed. Here, tacos and burritos are considered pretty ethnic LOL. I think a lot of people just don’t know what to make of certain foods here. With the economy being so bad, I think people also aren’t willing to spend the money to experiment.
  • This is the kind of place where residents who go on vacation in exotic places will still seek out familiar British food, and that is kind of sad to me. I feel that when it comes to food, my area is really behind the times.
2. What do you see as major trends throughout the UK? 

  • I think Jewish style food is the new trend in London, but I don’t think they come close to what they produce in NYC when it comes to that genre. In America they know how to make food really big and fun (which is what I like). The UK versions of salt beef sandwiches and bagels with assorted fillings look anaemic in comparison. I hope that changes.
  • Another trend: healthy heating/low calorie eating. Loads of frozen yogurt  places have been popping up in London over the last year.
  • By that same token, there is less of a tabu about using fats like lard and beef suet in some of the big restaurants. Hawksmoor, a famous upscale steak house chain is using all sorts of ingredients that would have been frowned upon in the past.
3. What would your most sincere hope, wish, or desire be to see as a food trend in 2012?
  • I don’t live in a big city. I live about a 3 hours drive from London. As a foodie, I find that frustrating because:
    • I don’t get to try out all the cool restaurants
    • I don’t have access to all of the “weird and wonderful” stuff that foodies seek out in places such as Borough Market. I really have to go through great lengths to find what I want sometimes. Thank God for the Internet!!!
  • I would love to see more artisanal foods in my own area. I’d also like to see more exotic products in my area. The thing is, I don’t think there is a high demand for that sort of thing here.
  • The good news is that I just discovered this one particular website that brings my foodie dreams closer to reality: Natoora.co.uk The website has been running for several years, but I only recency found out about it. Now I will be able to get Amalfi lemons, heirloom tomatoes and other such exotic delights all the way into deepest darkest Staffordshire. The only downside is that delivery is a bit expensive. I am not bothered about paying for food though ;). Some girls like shoes, I like food (and shoes LOL).
  • I’d also love to see some great bagel shops in the UK, with loads of fabulous smoked fish like they have in NY. I’d love bagels in all sorts of fun flavours like they have in America.
Barbara Williams from Moveable Feasts
I asked Barbara to participate because I have followed her sporadically for at least three years and have always enjoyed learning about the differences and similarities in our food cultures. She is clearly a lover of cooking at home for her family! Happily, she agreed!

As I live in South Florida, you can imagine the best in Cuban and South American food will always be at our beck and call.In general, the trend certainly is for locally grown foods and sustainable meats and fish.

Green markets abound and the small farmer is in great demand.

A number of new restaurants are popping up that specialize in locally grown vegetables.

In addition, the restaurant portions are getting smaller and I’ve found half-portions are becoming common across menus “” appetizers are offered as either small plate or entrée portions. This certainly is partially due to the economy, but also health awareness in the public.

Because I live in a tourist area, our restaurants are doing well. But from what I read regarding the rest of the nation, fewer people are eating out.

Nisrine from Dinners and Dreams

I followed Nisrine’s incredibly informative and detailed “How to Cook Moroccan Food” site daily for almost two years, but this past year I have not had the time I used to make for such pleasures. However, I still make the time to get to her site often; I cannot express the pleasure I feel through witnessing the transition of her website from the beginning until now. She has become not only an expert at sharing her cultural cuisine, but at photography and nutrition, now, too. Moroccan cuisine has been said to be the new “it” food for 2012 (as well as Jewish food, HH :) ) and this is a site you will want to visit often!

Nisrine’s perspective on Food Trends for 2012 is short and simple: Detox with Food.

With algae and other detox forms being difficult to maintain long term, often costly and less than palatable, detoxing with everyday food is on the rise. Detoxing with more enjoyable, easier to sustain ingredients such as papaya, lemons, watercress, ginger and turmeric is becoming more popular this year. People seeking colon cleanses, liver cleanses or fat flushing will be turning to everyday food to achieve their goal.
2012 will see more juicing, fruit and vegetable-based detox recipes than ever before!

Now, please add your thoughts to these!
  • Questions?
  • Comments?
  • Something you remembered or were reminded of?
  • Favourite parts?
Let’s get the discussion going!

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About Valerie Lugonja

Educator, Writer, Gardener and Traveler who believes in buying and eating locally, and most importantly cooking at home!

Join The Conversation!

  1. It’s neat to see the trends from all over the world, not just in a specific area.

  2. Great post Valerie! Here are my two cents…

    Major local trend in your region?

    - I agree with Julie and others on your post who have said that eating and shopping local and sustainably will continue to be a trend

    - In Alberta, I think we’ll start to get away from the cupcake craze and see an increase in popularity of other pastry classics (i.e. pies, brownies, gourmet doughnuts)

    - I also think we’ll see more vendors offering quality product to meet the continued growing awareness of food allergies (ex. gluten, dairy, eggs)

    Trends throughout Canada or the US or your own country?

    - I do think we’ll see a continued focus on slow food education across North America… a hope rather than a prediction is that we’ll start to see change occur with school systems in educating and promoting healthier choices.

    - I also believe we’ll see more chefs promoting using the whole animal in cooking and may get more interest in trying offal dishes

    Hopes and Wishes?

    - CSA programs have been quite successful and grown tremendously across BC and the US, but it’s relatively unheard of in Alberta, and you don’t find many CSA programs in our province. My hope is for to grow awareness for the value and beauty of these programs. Where as consumers we’re directly supporting a local farmer (monetarily and physically), getting ultra-fresh produce on our tables, and having an opportunity to try produce we may not otherwise through CSA programs

    Comments?

    - Look forward to spending more delicious time together over 2012!

    • Carmen!
      Thank you for your valuable insights. You are the first person to mention school systems. I worked at this tenaciously my last three years teaching and I did make a difference, a significant one – yet, there was not a movement that developed. People were happy to see the affect of this on and with the children, but no other adults (teachers or parents) joined in on a regular basis. I am satisfied with the work I did, but sad that when I left, so did that initiative. :)
      V

  3. Great point Carmen with the school system. education for our kids would be a great advantage for their future!

  4. I agree great point about the school system and food, there needs to be a much stronger push for not only education, but what it being served.
    Excellent post!

    • Thanks for all the replies and comments! Valerie, I would love to hear more about your adventures in promoting healthy eating in school systems. We’ll need to add it to our growing conversation list for the new year.

      In terms of education system, in addition to education on benefits of healthy eating I’d love to see kids being shown value of eating local on our health, our communities, and environment.

      It would be great if Home Ec. programs (are they still called that?) would include field trips or guest speakers from local farms/vendors. Or if kids are given a task of growing their own products.

      I wonder how a mentorship program with local experts in the food communities would go over. Both in whether local food providers would volunteer their time for a program like this and if parents/schools would send their children.

      • Carmen!
        Mentorships would go over very well. I had a farm partner when I was teaching foods – and we did nothing but buy local and learn about all this kind of stuff. I loved it and so did my students. Farmers will come to schools. Schools can no longer afford many trips – but one a year – yes – and farmers always make time to educate about their product! I wish, like you, that more food educators would do this. I am surprised that through the entire series – as lengthy and painful as it came to read through… that more didn’t focus on education as a wish. :)
        V

        • Something like a foodie mentorship program for kids would take a lot of effort and support from the community but certainly seems like a worthy cause. My mind is ticking away and it’s very exciting.

          Thanks Valerie for writing and bringing people together for this series. It has been a great read… it has given me a good opportunity to think and reflect on the state of our food community and where it could go.

  5. Vanessa j. says:

    I’m not a foodie by a long shot but I enjoy preparing and eating healthy. I live in the U.S. Wisconsin and trends here are rather a world apart from Chicago where I grew up and lived when my children were young. In my neck of the woods, in a small city, it’s very slow to pick up on trends. Indeed it is a major event to find organic foods, great restaurants ir any attention being paid to such urban delights. When the Farmer’s Market closes at the end of the season. That’s it until next Spring.

    I am noticing trends at the Supermarket. Labels with natural and natural style all over the place. Really have to read labels and beware. Trend of more organic produce but higher price tags.

    Availability of Ethnic foods and spices are increasing because those demographics are exploding.

    Funny story: I was in the hospital some years ago. When one of my son’s friend’s heard about it, She and her mother bought groceries and left them in my kitchen. When I got home and saw them I almost cried. Funny thing was, they were mostly Hispanic staples. We’re African American.

    I think she was trying to purchase food she thought we would like and that was as close as she could figure. Bless her heart. I never told her, but I still smile every time I think about it.

    So I’m loving the merging and exchange of food cultures in recent years as we can all learn and benefit from such richness. Asian, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Japanese, blending into traditional American cuisine. Good food like music is universal.

    • Vanessa,
      What a beautiful ending, and engaging and thoughtful reflection – which I really appreciate. So interesting to see that amid quite an agricultural state there are no Winter markets or access to farmers and their produce that you are aware of. Love your personal story! Happy Happy 2012! :)
      Valerie

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