T.Tseng/Flickr Creative Commons
Foraged mushrooms with brown butter and balsam fir, served at Red Medicine in Los Angeles

Dale Carson Predicts 10 Food Trends of 2014

Dale Carson
12/30/13

Genetically modified and processed foods aside, society is generally making an effort to improve diets and shrink waistbands. Not surprisingly, most healthy trends, like foraging, go back to ancient, indigenous ways. Modern-day chefs are simply taking innovative approaches to traditional foods and preparation. Check out our list of this year's food trends, Farm-to-Table and 9 Other Food Trends of 2013—And How Natives Are Ahead of the Curve, and weigh in on my projected list of 2014 food trends.

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1. Chicken will be passé.

Whether it's chicken breasts, chicken paillard or a crispy-skin roasted chicken for two, restaurants and likely even households will be eschewing chicken for more diverse fowl options this coming year, or even other meats like goat or rabbit.

2. Introducing idoor barbecuing

Word on the street is indoor barbecuing will be all-the-rage in 2014. While indoor grills are not new, trends are cyclical, and in 2014 I anticipate more and more people will be seeking that char-grilled or slow-barbecued taste, cooked from the conveniency of their kitchen.

3. Cobb makeover

The good ol' Cobb salad will undergo a facelift next year. It is safe to say salads in general will become even more popular and innovative. How about some halibut cheeks, seabeans or black rice, anyone?

4. Comfort Food Rennaissance  

I predict an even more powerful interest in innovative comfort food. Just look at what happened to mac n’ cheese with added artisanal cheeses and even lobster! Mashed potatoes mating with other root veggies such as parsnip, carrot, garlic, fennel, celeriac….  It is all good. I suspect imaginative chefs will have even more fun with this in 2014.

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5. Veggie delight

Vegetarian appetizers will appear on more menues and in ethnic-inspired ways, as will hummus and tempura. In fact, vegetables in general will be experimented with next year even more than they are now. Hopefully, heirloom seeds will produce some new interesting breeds for cooks to play with.

RELATED: Farm-to-Table and 9 Other Food Trends of 2013—And How Native Chefs Are Ahead of the Curve

6. Home Canning

Maybe city-dwelling restaurant goers are tired of the overpriced "pickle jars" featuring a hodge-podge vegetable medley, but there will definitely be more new interest in home canning, pickling and homemade breads. Indigenous homemakers will be ahead of the game, as they have been doing this forever.

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7. New vinegars and oils

Truffle oil has reigned king for a few years. And aged balsalmic vinegars are still prized among foodies. I'm anxious to see the evolution of vinegars and oils in 2014.

8. More gluten-free options and chia seeds

For those gluten intolerant or sensitive or just looking to watch their gluten and carb intake, it's good news this trend will continue on through 2014.

In addition to gluten-free pastas and quinoa, I expect chia seeds to grow in popularity.

Chia seeds, native to South America and a staple in Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries, are said to reduce food cravings, help with hydration, lower blood pressure, and they are rich in Omega-3s. In addition, these fiber-rich seeds that expand in liquid help reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol and regulate bowel function

9. Specialty markets

From boutique Italian markets to sprawling Whole Foods featuring cafeterias, cafés and even bar/lounge areas with live music, grocery and lifestyle markets are on the rise again in 2014.

10. Growing interest in foraging 

Finding your own seaweed, rose hips, mushrooms, berries, medicinal herbs and more is fun and exciting. Go with a friend and do some research first.

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Dale Carson, Abenaki, is the author of three books: New Native American Cooking, Native New England Cooking and A Dreamcatcher Book. She has written about and demonstrated Native cooking techniques for more than 30 years. Dale has four grown children and lives with her husband in Madison, Connecticut.

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