Monday, October 04, 2010

Are we at a lull?

I always like pondering food trends, and I have great fun trying to prognosticate them, though in reality I am so poor at predicting trends it seems the only safe way to try it is with tongue firmly in cheek.  That's the ultimate "win-win"--okay, sorry--the ultimate cop out.  If I get any of them right I can claim to be a genius; if I get them wrong (and I usually do), well, you see, it was all just a joke, right?

So what's happening these days?  Where is it all going?

Beats the hell out of me.  Right now I feel like we're in sort of a lull, stuck somewhere between the ebbing of "locavorism", which is still the most prominent trend in the food world today, and whatever is going to succeed it.

Don't get me wrong.  Locavorism, despite its ludicrous name, is still hot. Just this week, the National Restaurant News declared  gardens to be the hottest restaurant trend of 2010 (thanks to Robb Walsh via Twitter for the tip).  But, you have to admit, it's starting to feel a little stale.  It seems like something is about to turn, that we're on the cusp of something new and dramatic breaking loose.

Maybe its a reflection of what's going on in the country and the world at large: the pending November elections?  This lingering recession/depression thing?  We got all into the weeds of it back in late 2008/early 2009 and made a big fuss and did a lot of soul searching, and then it seemed for a while earlier this year that things were starting to slowly, inch by inch, get a little bit better.   Then a few months ago it all ground back down to a halt and perhaps even turned back a little in the wrong direction.

Mostly, though, it just feels like we're on hold, waiting in limbo for something to happen, but we aren't really sure what it's going to be or even what we want it to be.

Maybe it's just me and the particular spot I am in in my life, but I feel like there's something looming out there--good, bad, or just different: who knows?  But something is pent up behind the dam and ready to break.  I don't care to speculate about global economics, but in the food world I'm waiting for something exciting and new to happen, too.

The Internet has knocked food journalism into a tizzy, with food magazines on the ropes, traditional publishers struggling, and even a turnover in the old warhouse profession of restaurant reviewing (which really isn't that old of a profession, since we've had computer scientists and astronauts for about long as we've had restaurant reviewers.)  But, somehow Yelp and iPhone apps just don't seem like they're really the way of the future.

Whatever it's going to be, it's going to be new.  We need something different: a hot new trend.  Food trucks have official worn out their novelty, and they were always sort of a mobile locavorism anyway.

So, what's next?  I don't know.  But I have just two words: bring it!

No comments:

Popular Posts