In boom times, foodies might not think twice about picking up a basketful of $4 heirloom tomatoes. But when the economy dips, how do discerning gourmands stretch their dollar? For some, slipping into a routine of microwave dinners and fast food - or even one of wilted greens shipped from far-flung locations - just isn't an option.
These days, celebrity chefs are everywhere – we watch their shows, eat at their restaurants (and all of their pop-ups, and spinoffs, and micro-chains), and buy their books and branded cookware. We crave the reassurance that we get from having a name and face attached to the food we eat, and it’s a trend that’s hardly fading away. In fact, it might be entering a new phase – that of the celebrity farmer. It’s great to know who made your meal, but it’s even better to know who made its ingredients.
When the news broke that El Bulli would be closing indefinitely, we imagine that more than a couple molecular gastronomes glanced over at the six-volume sets of Modernist Cuisine weighing down their bookshelves and wondered, “What’s next?”
A new grocery store in Austin, In.gredients, is looking to change the way we buy our food. Shoppers are expected to bring their own packaging - typically jars and tupperware from home - and purchase loose items by weight, selecting from a wide range of meats, dairy, grains, spices and other items. Beer and wine will even be available on tap for those who bring their own growlers or bottles.
We recently sent a team member to the Food 2.0 conference, a daylong series of panels here in NYC that looked at the growing relationship between food and technology. With all that we learned, "growing" might be too gentle a word - the relationship between food and tech is booming!
More, more, more! According to Mintel’s GNPD (Global New Products Database) a staggering 156,125 new consumer products were introduced in 2005... one every 3.5 minutes. So we thought it was time to play a little catch-up. As ever, adding new benefits (via supplementary ingredients) to old favorites was a popular ploy. Herewith, our pick of some of the more offbeat and colorful of the new fortified products:
Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap
If It Quacks Like A Duck
...it may not be a duck. The fashion industry, for one (having fully embraced faux fur) is now trying to push pleather as the next big must-have (it was featured in recent collections from Gucci, Prada and Stella McCartney). But this trend is bigger than fashion. Lately, it seems even entire animals can go faux.
Something Warm To Curl Up With
I scream, you scream, we all scream for... something new. Here's our roundup of some of the coolest ice cream products for summer 2005.
This cryogenically frozen treat uses liquid nitrogen to flash freeze ice cream into a unique nugget or "popcorn" shape. Each mini melt is dense and creamy, since (unlike many ice creams in tubs or cartons) no air is whipped into the product. Mini Melts are easier and less messy to consume than cones...you can just chug 'em from the cup or even eat them with your fingers (if you're fast!)
We've been scouting out the stockpiler chef for several years now. They're the folks who cook in bulk on either Saturday or Sunday, then refrigerate or freeze their meals so they have something quick and home-cooked for dinner any night of the week. It's a great idea, but it takes a lot of planning, shopping and organization.
Enter Let's Dish (www.letsdish.net).