What’s happening on the food front in addition to cooking?
An article in Friday’s State Journal made the point that Americans now talk about food as frequently as they do books and music.
If there is any doubt about the popularity and interest in cooking, we only have to look at the sale of cookbooks. Ina Garten’s 2012 cookbook — “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof” — has sold more than 400,000 copies to date.
Twenty-seven percent of cookbooks are purchased by people aged 30-44; two combined age groups, ranging from 45-64, purchase 36 percent.
It’s no doubt that television has propelled the revival in cooking.
Two stations, the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, have devoted viewers and are adding more each day.
Network television has joined the popular trend, with shows like ABC’s The Chew, Fox’s Gordon Ramsay’s Master Chef and Hell’s Kitchen and Bravo’s Master Chefs and Around the World in 80 plates.
Even television shows like HBO’s Tremme and True Blood are offering cooking enthusiasts books such as True Blood Drinks and Bites.
With a multitude of trends sweeping the nation, including the White House’s healthy school lunch plan, no stone seems to be left unturned.
Gluten free, nut free and other allergies, vegetarian and vegan are all addressed in hundreds of cookbooks and in blogs across the Internet.
According to Marisa Vigilante, an editor at Avery and Gotham Books, “Although the Food Network can still provide a lot of exposure for chefs, we’re finding that other platforms can be equally attractive.
“Several of our authors have large and devoted blog followings, like Kathy Patalsky, the author of “365 Vegan Smoothies” (Avery, June), and Kelly Rudnicki, the author of “The Food Allergy Mama’s Easy, Fast Family Meals” (Avery, February); and Rebecca Lando’s popular webisodes led to her cookbook, “Working Class Foodies” (Gotham, June).”
The biggest rage across the nation — online, in newspapers and magazines and on cooking shows — is sustainable food.
According to a 2012 Publishers Weekly article, the strongest trend may be no trend at all, but a growing respect for ingredients.
Taunton published “The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook” by Ellen Jackson and the Chefs Collaborative, a nonprofit that educates chefs about sustainability. In April, Taunton offered “Fresh Food Nation: Simple, Seasonal Recipes from America’s Farmers” by Martha Holmberg.
“The ‘it’ cuisine will come and go, as will chefs, but there are a few movements in the culinary world that are continuing to gain a foothold regardless of the cuisine or the chef — the willingness by cooks to experiment with new ingredients, consumers’ desire to feel connected to each other through food, and a need to eat healthy for the sake of our bodies and our planet.
“Farmers and food artisans are becoming superstars of the culinary world,” Carolyn Mandarano, senior managing editor at Taunton said.
If you want to chronicle the food movement, according to Publishers Weekly, a marker of the changes in the cookbook market over the last 40 years can be found in Ithaca, N.Y.
In 1973, the Moosewood Restaurant opened its doors there, serving something that was a novelty at the time — vegetarian food. The restaurant’s cookbook, published four years later by Ten Speed Press and authored by Mollie Katzen, introduced the concept of meatless eating. In 2007, the cookbook was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame.
In September, St. Martin’s Press published “Moosewood Restaurant Favorites” by the Moosewood Collective.
St. Martin’s Press executive editor Michael Flamini said cooking has changed over the years because of the availability today of fresh herbs, new strains of vegetables, and a wide variety of grains not available when Moosewood opened its doors in 1973.
Middle eastern cuisine
Cookbooks line my kitchen shelves, my den shelves and are even stored in boxes in closets. I simply can’t part with them. There are even cookbooks on my bedside table. I still buy them and as I look at the titles I can see the cooking trends I have experienced.
If you want to be on the forefront of the latest trend in cooking, it’s coming from the Middle East.
Kate Heddings, deputy food editor of Food & Wine and executive editor of the magazine’s cookbooks, such as “America’s Greatest New Cooks” (February), points to Middle Eastern as the hot new cuisine.
She foresees growing popularity for Jewish and Persian food and points to the success of Clarkson Potter’s “The Mile End Cookbook” (2012) and “Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House That Herring Built” (Schocken, March) by Mark Russ Federman.
In May, the Middle Eastern trend continued with Barbara Abdeni Massaad’s “Man’oushé: Inside the Street Corner Lebanese Bakery,“ about the pizza-like national pie of Lebanon.