It’s almost Christmas and with a ‘Food Trends 2015′ post coming up soon on mymonkfish we thought you’d like to see Jay Rayner’s predictions for next year first…..There will be food. Some of it will be horrible. Some of it will be really nice….wish we’d summed it up like that. That’s why he’s Jay Rayner, and we’re not.
Recently a woman asked me, with a squeaky roll of her eye balls, what I thought about “all those foams and sauce smears” she saw on MasterChef. Around the same time I started receiving requests for my food predictions for 2015. Would it be Korean BBQ or pimped British motorway services snacks or more of that raw food bollocks? Both questions are, of course, flip sides of the same coin; they’re about food fashions, and don’t we just love whingeing about those. Watch Twitter the night a MasterChef contestant pumps up the nitrous gun to produce a carrot “air” and you’d think the tabs had splashed with stolen nudie pics of Emma Watson, such is the outrage.
I was a bit late to the foam game, but I still recall my first one. It was the green tea and lime palate cleanser that Heston Blumenthal was knocking out at the Fat Duck around 2000. I thought it was fabulous. And here’s the thing: I still think it’s fabulous. I love the way a good foam releases its flavour on to the tongue without coating it, so you no longer know where smell ends and taste begins.
It’s not cool to admit it, but I have fond memories of almost every food trend and fad that has come and gone. I remember the thrill of my first McDonald’s in the mid-1970s, and of the arrival of Dayville’s with dozens of ice cream flavours including peppermint fudge ripple. Who could not love that? There was the next wave of Americana, courtesy of Bob Payton with his Chicago Pizza Pie Factories and Rib Shacks, followed in the late 80s by the Modern British Brasseries.
Rowley Leigh put seared scallops with minted pea purée and we swooned; Terence Conran ushered in the glorious era of the gastrodome, and everyone piled their food in towers. And that was great too, because before that food was 2D and now it was 3D. Fergus Henderson made eating inner wibbly bits cool (again) and then everyone started putting their sauces through the soda siphon and now here we all are grubbing about in the hedgerows for our lunch.
Each new food movement looks back on the one it replaces with a barely disguised sneer. They were so unsophisticated back then. Oh, but NOW! Look at us! Nouvelle Cuisine sneered at the cream and butter overload of Escoffier classicism; the modernists sneered at the minimalism of Nouvelle Cuisine; the locavores and foragers sneer at the ingredient processing of the modernists and pretty much everything else. And then a few weeks ago I had a pop at the foragers. At the risk of repeating myself, my beef was not so much with the food that resulted – some of it can be great – but the belief of those involved that their food isn’t just more sophisticated, but morally superior too.
It isn’t. As the great New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik once pointed out, in the novels of Victor Hugo the peasantry are defined by their reliance on what is seasonal and local. The fat wallets get the stuff from far away and, better still, out of season. Food fashions are no different to any other. They aren’t a mark of increasingsophistication. The whirligig merely turns. They are a mark of boredom, of palates sated and appetites blissfully dulled. And that’s something we should never forget. Here then, is my prediction for 2015. There will be food. Some of it will be horrible. Some of it will be really nice. It’s OK. You don’t have to thank me.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010