According to Judy

by Judy Schultz

Here it comes: the annual avalanche of predictions by foodies, foodologists, food futurologists (and I didn’t make that one up, honest). Then there are the rest of us who simply love to eat.

MEATY THOUGHTS: All praise for the pig, that tasty beast, we’ll continue to eat everything but the squeal. In 2015, pulled pork stays on the table. The ever-popular pork belly will be eclipsed by pork jowls, the gelatinous bit of cheek meat with even greater flavour. Need I say, bacon stays, probably forever, but with fewer cutesy versions. Bacon cupcakes will disappear, as will bacon ice cream, replaced by candied bacon. (Sprinkle slices with brown sugar and chopped walnuts, bake on a rack until crisp. Yum!)

BLACK IS BACK: Bitter chocolate so dark it’s black, along with black sugar, puffed black rice (except in Australia, where anything puffed is now out) and black sesame seed. Squid ink black pasta is still on the table, joined by black quinoa, taking its colour and flavour from black olives.

VEGETABLES: After kale, what? More kale, with half a dozen new varieties coming on-stream in 2015. Parsnips, least-likely-to-succeed among vegetables, will come to the table deeply, darkly oven-roasted, drizzled with buckwheat honey. Parsnips, along with beets and carrots, will also show up as Moroccan-spiced dips, and as chips, deep-fried or smoked.

PASTA: Relax, the world’s number one comfort food is never going away. Expect to see pasta sharing the plate with more grains and beans, ancient and otherwise. We’ll eat more spelt, amaranth, quinoa, lentils, edamame.

BREAD: Bread got the boot when gluten became the food allergy du jour, but it’s back in spades, with artisan bakeries popping up in unlikely spots. Give thanks, bread really is the staff of life. You loved naan with garlic and onion? Imagine naan with chocolate.

SPREADS: Instead of the ubiquitous puddle of olive oil for dipping, watch for cultured butter, hand-churned, aged three days, chilled and sprinkled with sea salt. For this we’ll pay extra.

LOCAL: “From the farm of…” will show up on more menus, except in Australia, where the naming trend has come and gone. Up here, we’re just scratching the surface of the local-is-better movement. However, purists need to remember that “imported” is not a four-letter word.

FARM KITCHENS: You thought food trucks were the ultimate mobile cuisine? In 2015 the Food Network will climb into more farm trucks. They’ll bounce over the backroads with Ree Drummond and her ilk, carting tailgate meals to hard-working kids and square-dancing spouses. Shows like Heartland Table and Farmhouse Rules will emphasize down home cooking. Expect to see vats of chili, acres of cornbread and biscuits. Sadly, none of the hosts thus far have mastered the ultimate southern-style biscuit, made with buttermilk, yeast and grated frozen butter.

BEER and MORE BEER: But let it be craft beer, with wildlife taking over the labels. Rutting elk, grumpy bears. Various hogs, dogs and serpents. If the people who sell and serve the stuff can now learn the subtle differences among the brews, and the niceties of a perfect pour, we can get this party started.

HEATING UP: Sriracha will fade as more chefs riff on kimchi, with Korean food the next big trend.

MORE PARTIES: We’re loving the return of the dinner party. Small, pretty tables for five or six, with easy food, a good bottle of wine (or two)…a perfect way to spend a cold winter night.

Judy Schultz is a food and travel writer. She divides her time between Canada and New Zealand.