Thursday, February 28, 2008

Surviving the trends...

I've just finished reading an article about the newest food trends, and I must admit to being a bit perplexed. I can't seem to figure out where I fit in...or if I even want to. Am I a locavore or an ethicurian? Am I addicted to gastroporn? Am I pro or anti-biotic? I do like to think that I'm a fairly responsible consumer, but that's not to say that I don't enjoy the occasional gastro-thrill. Could I be umami challenged??? Am I trendy? And if so, am I really trendy, or cheap, Ikea trendy...?

Keeping up with food trends is a daunting task. When the neighborhood coffee shop gave way to the coffee bar, we were expected to either learn Javanese or risk the kind of humiliation that can only be meted out by a pretentious teenager in a green apron and Prada framed glasses. ("Quad venti skinny cappuccino with dry foam, please...").

The Molecular gastronomy trend has trickled it's way down to street level in the form of "Dippin' Dots", and we are now seeing the rise of "niche" restaurants - restaurants that specialize in just one item, from peanut butter sandwiches to cereal to Belgian fries. Even bartenders have jumped on the trendy train, calling themselves "Bar Chefs" or "Gastro-bartenders", who seek to provide us with "health conscious" cocktails that include ingredients like organic herbs and superfruits ("Set me up with another one of those organic goji berry acai martinis with acerola and medicinal herbs, wouldja?...and don't skimp on the gin!!")

I'm just plain confused. I am a canvas bag carrying supporter of locally grown ingredients, and I buy them whenever they are available. I do shop organic, and every morning, I down a tiny container of "GoodBelly" to offset the issues brought on by the massive doses of Levaquin that my doctor continues to shove at me. I've watched every single episode of "Baking With Julia" ever made, and my TIVO is programmed to capture episodes of Barefoot Contessa, Lidia's Italy and Simply Ming. I've eaten ostrich and rattlesnake. And yes, I appreciate the wonderous flavors of parmesan cheese, good veal stock, tomatoes and asparagus - without MSG. So, does that make me a pro-anti biotic ethicurean turophile locawhore umami-enabled gastro-risk taker? I think not, my friends. I like to think that I defy categorization - I refuse to conform to trendy labels, (unless of course they're clean labels...) and I won't be pigeonholed! Just pass me my coffee and call me Nuwanda!!

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