EDIT: Hello, everyone here from gluten-free forums! If you’re interested in gluten-free recipes, I have an archive here; about two thirds of the recipes on the site are gluten-free, and I’ll be posting another gluten-free cake recipe later in the week. If you’re here because you’re upset by the line about gluten intolerance in the post below, then I’m sorry to have upset you. The piece is intended as a parody of articles about food trends, written in-character by an imaginary food writer. However, I realise some of you recognise this and still find it offensive, and I don’t like upsetting people, so I’ve edited the joke to get rid of the line that seems to have been the specific cause of your anger. I should perhaps explain that I’ve been doing a lot of gluten-free cooking over the last year, and I do realise that gluten intolerance (and the specific subset of it that is coeliac disease) is a real, and serious, condition; but I can see that the tone of the piece perhaps implied that I’d just picked it as a random “funny” disease. Feel free to stick around for the recipes; the cake coming later in the week really is very very delicious. END EDIT
It’s always hard to keep track of which foods are fashionable. A few weeks ago, the Observer told me that strawberry cornettos are in, for example; who would have thought it? But at the same time, tiramisu is unfashionable despite its similar redolence of the 80s. It’s simply much too popular. Out: truffle oil, chocolate lava cakes, butternut squash, chicken breasts. In: foie gras speakeasies, bread. Oh, it’s all so difficult!
The main trouble with comprehensive in-and-out food lists is that everyone else reads them, so the “in” foods become popular, and then they’re “out” again, all within six months. To make things worse, the lists are usually published at the end of a year, so those of us in July or August are left without guidance. Fortunately, I’ve managed to get hold of an advance copy of next year’s Official Food Ins and Outs, and I’m ready to share them with you. Only with the help of the list can you can be safe from the risk of serving your friends pesto (in for quick-service restaurants, so out for the rest of us, I’m afraid).
IN: Portable pizza ovens. Back in the sixteenth century, many households had no oven. Instead, it was common practice to send a loaf of bread or a cake out to the local baker, who would pop it in his oven once he was done for the day. This is no longer necessary for most of us, but what are we to do about pizzas? It’s famously difficult to make home-made pizza that lives up to good restaurant pizza, simply because home ovens don’t get hot enough. This doesn’t mean you should give up on making your own! Once the weather has cooled down, ice-cream vans will take out their freezers and fit super-hot ovens instead. Consider prepreparing three or four pizzas in a range of flavours, and when you hear that tinkling Greensleeves you’ll know it’s time to run out to the street and get them cooked properly.
OUT: Putting cocoa percentages on chocolate wrapping. This used to be IN, but now it’s filtered down to Magnums and Cadbury. The thing to do with mid-level chocolate wrapping these days is to attribute abstract nouns and emotions to the different varieties; see Newtree’s FORGIVENESS, Chuao’s PASSION, Dagoba’s ECLIPSE.
IN: Truffle booths. At the moment the truffle booth is an underground movement, but it’s heading mainstream. Customers pay for a private booth in a restaurant, and a selection of truffles is wafted in front of them while they breathe deeply.
OUT: Food processors. It just tastes so much better if you chop it by hand.
IN: Remember perfectly spherical watermelons, square tomatoes, and all the rest of the “grow things in moulds so they’re a weird shape” fad? It goes back at least as far as the nineteenth century, when glass cucumber straighteners came into fashion. Relatedly: you know how corsets can deform the ribs and permanently change someone’s waist shape, if worn consistently enough? By 2009 you can expect cattle corsetry to be the big new thing: buckle in the young cows and wait for exciting rib shapes on your table come 2010.
OUT: Gluten intolerance. The Atkins people started eating bread again years ago, after all.
IN: Brownie intolerance. Brownies are cheap, easy and delicious, so they’re ubiquitous these days, and the only way we can get them off menus is to develop an allergic reaction en masse.
OUT: Truffle booths. Yes, already. It was a fleeting moment of popularity; you had your chance, and you missed it.
IN: Heritage cutlery. In the past, good cutlery was inherited; only an arriviste would buy her own. Look for heritage cutlery to make a resurgence soon, though due to changing standards of serving size, nineteenth-century salad servers may need to function as twenty-first century spoons and forks.
OUT: Vegetables. Vegetables are everywhere these days, which means top chefs are already looking elsewhere for inspiration. The behind-the-times tastebuds of the masses might mean that potatoes are still listed on the menu, but the with-it restaurants will treat you well if you ask, quietly, for a side-dish of mashed squirrel instead.
IN: Mulling. Give it a couple of months and we’ll be firmly into Autumn, and mullers will spring up everywhere. This may be your last chance to get some mulling done before the rush.
Mulled White Wine
750 ml white wine, maybe something Riesling-y (raspberry tea works too, if you’d rather it was less alcoholic)
100 ml apple or pear juice
100 ml dessert wine
50 ml brandy
50 ml honey
100 g strawberries or cherries (or both if you like)
1 orange or lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
4 or 5 green cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Put the wine, juice, dessert wine, brandy and honey in a saucepan over a low heat.
Slice the orange into rounds, dehull the strawberries and cut them in halves, and break the cherries in two to take the seeds out. Add these to the saucepan as you go.
Add the cinnamon, cloves, coriander, nutmeg and the little brown or black bits from inside the cardamom pods.
Warm gently, not allowing it to bubble, for twenty minutes to half an hour, adding a little lemon if it’s too sweet, or more honey if it’s not sweet enough.
Strain through a sieve into a container and chill, covered, for an hour or two. Serve over ice.