The end of the year is nigh, and the time for some predictions of where the wonderful world of food will take us into 2015 is here. It's been a big year - whole foods are huge, raw is popular, and coconut is everywhere. Here's a few predictions for the year ahead.
There have been some great articles written lately about the benefits of eating less meat. Apart from the health benefits that having a plant-based diet can bring, the practices in getting it to our plate are so terribly bad for the environment. Some writers are advocating for returning meat to the extravagant indulgence that it is, and only eating it occasionally, including at special occasions like Christmas. I'm a big advocate of knowing where your meat has come from, and not just mindlessly adding it to a meal. If you're not familiar with his recipes, London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi has become, in his own words, somewhat of an agony aunt for vegetables, and has incredible veggie-filled recipes to get you started. Journalist Graham Hill of treehugger.com has done a TED talk recently about being a weekday vegetarian, with some good arguments about reducing our meat intake.
In 2015, we will open our eyes to the way meat is produced, and eat it less often. We'll focus on eating better quality meat, and be healthier for it.
Someone said to me recently that our Grandmother's were on to something, the way they pickled and preserved. Over summer, fruit is cheap and goes off easily - instead of adding to your compost pile or landfill , dust off the jars and get preserving. DIY techniques such as pickling and preserving have been on the rise, and will continue.
Pickling vegetables is hugely popular; in many cultures there are recipes for pickling vegetables somehow, which are eaten as a condiment with nearly every meal. The rise of popularity in American food has meant that making your own jar of pickles is easily done, and so satisfying too. Kombucha, a fermented tea popular with whole-foodies, is increasingly on people's homemade list too
As we attempt to curb our consumerist ways in 2015, we'll be doing a lot more DIY in the kitchen.
Read more: Why rot is hot to trot
There were tacos, there were cupcakes, and there was dumplings, then cronuts, and now there is toast. Hipster toast. It's apparently a thing. It's already swept San Francisco, thanks to a small café called Trouble, and it's been dubbed the latest artisanal food craze. Rightly so? Toast is undoubtedly one of the greatest things to grace this earth, but a food craze? I'm just not so sure. At its heart it's a thrift thing - using bread that can't be enjoyed fresh anymore, but is still edible toasted. But then fresh bread is good toasted too. And there are just so many great spreads... watch this space. It's already on cafes across New Zealand, but whether it steps up to become an artisanal food craze, remains to be seen. I'm predicting a toast food truck. Let's see how that pans out.
Korean, Peruvian, Greek?
Peruvian food was predicted as making it's way down under last year, but it definitely hasn't made any waves. Korean food has continued in popularity, but not as much as it's key ingredient kimchi, their spicy pickled cabbage dish. Kimchi is widely available, and Korean restaurants are still popping up. Jamaican food is big in Europe, could we see a trickle down here of rice and peas and jerk chicken? Greek food, which despite a decent Greek population in New Zealand has never really taken off in a restaurant sense, could be the next food craze. The Greek Food Truck has recently launched in Wellington, and with key ingredients including filo pastry, spinach and feta, spicy sausage, and souvlaki, what's not to like?
Kimchi. Photo / Thinkstock
There's been a growing trend of restaurants not taking bookings, and there have been some public wars online between review sites that everyone has at the end of their phone, and restaurateurs trying to cut it in an increasingly tough market. We eat out more than ever, with differing standards, from our cheap noodle fix to the special occasion fine dining meal.
Increasingly, people are unable to live without their phones attached to their hands. And we've probably all been there, catching up for a coffee or going out for a meal, and the phones are out. On the table, taking photos, or worse - someone mindlessly checking the infinite stream of social media while a real life person sits across from them, bored. There are the games you can play - everyone puts their phone in a pile on the table, and the first one to reach for theirs has to foot the bill, which turns it into a bit of a joke. But in all seriousness, we can be quite badly behaved as diners. Will there be a crack down? Watch this space for phone bans in restaurants, and a spate of break ups from bored boyfriends and girlfriends who are sick of Twitter being the third wheel on their dinner date.