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A while ago I wrote this post about predicting food fads, then didn't get around to posting it. In the meantime [tumblr.com profile] yiduiqie posted links to two different new "Asian food is the new Western food" fads that bear no resemblance to my predictions whatsoever. I am thus posting this now before I look even sillier :)

So! I sometimes ponder what foods will become the new shiny food in Australia next.

The general trend seems to be taking something that is commonplace in an "obscure" subculture (the poor, an immigrant population, etc) and "discovering" that it is in fact healthy and/or delicious. Sometimes a little renaming is in order: agar becomes "vegan gelatine" and so on.

The other factor is conspicuous consumption: whatever is hard for poor people just happens to be the only way to be healthy/ethical/cool. Since poor people these days work long hours and have small gardens, the fad is for time/space consuming things like slow cooking and home grown vegetables.

Here's some arbitrary predictions based as much on wishful thinking as anything else (obviously the racist/classist etc aspects of food fads are bad, but if they must happen, it would be nice if it was in a way that was convenient for me):

I feel like lard and dripping must be due their time in the spotlight: they combine the slow cooked fad with the desire for new Healthy Fats. I mean, I'm not sure how you'd spin them as healthy, but they managed it with coconut oil. If I'm unlucky, people will go for ghee.

Foodies are still tying themselves in knots to be into "umami" without supporting msg, which has too much racist baggage, but if they can find some "natural" version it'll be off like a shot.

I'm hoping vegetable gums become the new Toxin To Avoid because they make me naseous, carageenan in particular does seem to be losing favour.

We've been having Exotic South American superfoods for a while, it may be Africa's turn next. I am not super familiar with African foodstuffs but have seen some interesting vegetables at import grocers. Something like that: not actually obscure or hard to get, but just unfamiliar enough to white people to seem cool and exotic.

I'm not sure what lower class food will be "redeemed" next, we've had burgers and beef soup, maybe meatloaf? Roast? Liver and onions?

Sweet potato's had it's time in the spotlight as the Cool Version Of Potato, maybe turnips or parsnips will be next? Which would suck for me, I digest sweet potato much more easily, but what can you do.

I like to think that people will eventually realise that bitter greens are gross and go back to Actual Lettuce but am not holding out hope.

And the two actual new fad foods linked by [tumblr.com profile] yiduiqie:
Dhal (is it time for Indian food to be the New Thing again?)
Jackfruit as meat substitute. Since I'm not vegetarian I hadn't thought about the search for new meat substitutes. Gluten will have to be rehabilitated before anyone "discovers" seitan, which is a pity for me because it's one of the few I can eat.

Edit: natural umami!
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