My mission for the first week of the New Year is to predict the next big food trend. Over the past decade or so, each year has been marked by some major food trend. Social media can be blamed, just as social media is blamed for all of modern society’s ills. I can almost hear the curmudgeons now, “Remember how much more civilized America was before Facebook, and that Twitter thing?” Yeah, yeah, and think of how much nicer people were before TV, radio, telegram, the printing press, language, etc. These are the same people who abstain from salt, avoid alcohol, eat only certified organic kelp, and preach the gospel of clean eating! What is clean eating, anyway?
Yet no matter who’s responsible for outlandish food trends, I do find them fascinating—if only for the purpose of judging others. And, no, this column is not, I repeat, NOT, a no-judgment-zone. To prove to y’all that a modicum of effort at research went into my sage-like prognostication of 2018’s big trend, I think a quick review of trends from the past few years is in order.
First on the list is the whole “Foodie” movement. Without this obsessive-compulsive clique, trends would likely wallow and die in obscurity, so thank you, foodies! Another immense noshing trend was the return of comfort food. This was just the opportunity macaroni and cheese needed to progress from boxed mixes to the ooey, gooey, indulgent treat we now expect. Fried chicken caught our attention once again, this time as Nashville Hot Chicken or Korean Fried Chicken. Sriracha soared to monumental heights once reserved for the king of condiments—ketchup. You know you’ve made the big time when fast-food restaurants begin cross-branding with you.
Hipsters were responsible for the cult-like rise of avocado toast and the food truck movement. Ramen took the country by storm just as Taco Tuesday was on the wane. Octopus was often poorly prepared by unskilled hacks. Cronuts had their 15 minutes of fame about four years ago, and let’s not forget the healthful, vegetable-centric movement.
Some of these superstars still hang around, but with far fewer paparazzi seeking them. Example: Kale in its many forms, from dinosaur, to baby, to Tuscan black. And don’t discount the lasting power of cauliflower, with its different colors and deep flavors.
Thus, I’m confidently predicting the food trend for 2018 will be (drum roll): Crêpes. Why? ’Cause they’re super-cool, just exotic enough to be avant-garde, and many cuisines use ’em. Here’s a recipe for a very basic French version. Go on and Chef Up your crêpes with your favorite fillings (ice cream or Nutella are simple yet tasty). You’ll see I’m right about 2018.
Chef Bill’s Crêpes
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups half-and-half
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tbsp. melted butter, plus 1 tsp. for pan
- 1/4 tsp. real vanilla extract
- Whisk eggs with salt and sugar. Add half-and-half. Whisk to combine.
- Gradually add flour. Mix well. Add butter, mix.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
- Let rest for 20 minutes. Adjust consistency. (Should be fairly thin.)
- Heat a non-stick pan, brush with butter and add 2 oz. of batter.
- Cook until lightly browned on the bottom, flip, cook approximately 1 minute more. Crêpes!
Until we cook again,
Contact Chef Bill, owner of The Amelia Island Culinary Academy, at firstname.lastname@example.org to find inspiration and get you Cheffed Up!