Sherry with a Chance of Onion Rings
As editors at Tasting Table, we spend a lot of time eating, thinking about eating, talking about eating and, occasionally, writing about eating, too. We pay more attention than is remotely healthy to what's going on in the food world, in terms of both cooking and eating out, and the end of the year is a natural time to reflect on what we've seen and consumed thus far. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we also have some strong opinions about what we liked and didn't, and what we want to see more and less of in the year to come. Here's a peek inside our brains.
In 2015, we're hoping undersung cuisines get their due: Editor-in-chief Kat Kinsman has her fingers crossed "so hard they ache" for Appalachian food to catch on, describing it as "a proud, smart, soulful cuisine that may have some roots in deprivation but when done right is a celebration of the land and the people who live there. Look for the Appalachian Food Summit in September 2015 to pick up some media buzz, along with Ronni Lundy's Victuals: A Journey Through the Byways and Foodways of the Appalachian South (Clarkson Potter, early 2016)." Photo intern Katie Foster is rooting for Sardinian food and wine to hit the mainstream, asking for more "grilled sardines, Vermentino wine and Mirto cocktails."
Speaking of beverages, we've got a lot to say. "Someone always declares it the year of sherry, and it gets a little traction, but the fortified wine still seems to be spinning its wheels," associate managing editor Jillian King says. "But, hey, let's just call it; 2015 it is. The key to its momentum is exposing people to the drier, nuttier varieties (not all are syrupy sweet) and breadth of pairings. With places like Atlanta's Iberian Pig, New York's Huertas and San Francisco's Gitane leading the charge, it might actually happen this year." But it's not all about booze: We're rooting for more nonalcoholic beverage pairings with tasting menus, and assistant photo editor Dave Katz wants more coffee mocktails like the ones at Everyman Espresso, "which are a little jarring at first then totally awesome."
When it comes to dining out, we've got a wish list and a death list: more fancy onions rings, crispy chicken skins and fresh-milled grains for pastas and bread on menus, please. But enough with dramatic plating techniques that rely on negative space for impact. Executive editor Karen Palmer is calling for the end of burrata on everything (much as she and everyone else on the planet loves it, let's try stracchino or stracciatella instead), and we'll go ahead and say it: Go away, New Nordic cuisine. Please put the pinecones back where you found them.
At home, senior editor Jamie Feldmar is hoping for more cookbooks that offer suggestions for full menus like the ones in Renee Erickson's A Boat, A Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories (Sasquatch Books, $40). Assistant editor Elyse Inamine is rooting for furikake, a flaky Japanese spice mix of shaved dried fish, sesame seeds, dried seaweed, sugar and MSG to enter our pantries, and food editor Andy Baraghani is singing the praises of 'nduja, a spreadable spicy salami (New Yorkers, check out the pizza at Upland if you'd like a taste).
And whether you're at home or a restaurant, 2015 is the year to up your 'gramming game and graduate from the overhead shot. "It's time to take a trip down art history lane and learn from those beautiful still-life paintings from the Baroque—they're called Dutch masters for a reason. Those food shoots will look more composed and balanced and, hey, they work in dark lighting!" Elyse says. "So step away from the table and get your crouching stance on." Poised and ready for action—that's where you'll find us next year.
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