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Rachel Gaffney's Letter from Texas - Food Trends for 2014

CeleriacRachel Gaffney, the famous foodie who’s flying the flag for Ireland in Texas, shares her thoughts on the Food Trends she sees shaping up for 2014

In the last few weeks, I have read articles, glanced at various headlines, listened to the radio, watched the television and observed through social media the chatter regarding food trends for 2014. Some have been mentioned repeatedly and others in isolation.

Umami, the fifth taste is becoming a popular topic. Although not new for those who are immersed in the food industry, to others it may be their first time hearing about this. In brief, the four tastes are sweet, sour, bitter and salty and now umami is recognized as the fifth taste.

Did you know that babies actually experience umami from their mother’s milk when they are seven days old. It is a savoury taste that occurs naturally in fish, vegetables, meat and dairy products. The taste is subtle and it is now used to expand and round out other flavors.

A few years ago, I purchased a jar of umami paste and a jar of umami salt. I used both when cooking to test it out. To be honest, I did notice a difference when I made my spaghetti sauce. It was smoother. Recently, ‘Forbes’ magazine listed umami salt in their ‘Top 12 hottest food trends 2014’ . This is merely salt with umami added to it. Perhaps this is a product that could be introduced to the market from Ireland? Just a thought.

Ice cream sandwiches, locally sourced foods, farm to table dinners, exotic meats and infused ice cubes are among the chatter for food trends predicted here in the United States for this year.

Exotic meats are a global prediction with the return of rabbit, pigeon and goat. I find it very interesting that the ‘Midwestern Food Movement’ is becoming extremely popular. It involves sourcing local ingredients, home cooked simple, hearty meals and new ways of cooking with root vegetables. It encourages the use of foraged foods and strives to revive arable farming. One might be forgiven for thinking we are returning to our past.

I have long believed that we are desperately trying to re invent the wheel. I for one, have cooked and used root vegetables in my cooking classes for quite some time now. Thanks to my heritage, I am no stranger to turnips, parsnips and celeriac. What was once a staple in my house is now becoming quite vogue in 2014.

It will be interesting to see what new ways people will present these. I for one, hope the deluge of cupcakes and cake pops fade into the background a little, not wishing them to disappear completely for the sake of people who make them, but allow more savoury items to step to the forefront. I long to see swedes (or rutabagas as they are called here) make a grand appearance.

I would dearly like to hear from anyone in Ireland if they have any unusual ways of cooking or baking with root vegetables. It would be nice to introduce him or her to people over here. Perhaps you have a recipe you would like to share. If so, contact me and I will share it along with any photographs.


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Rachel Gaffney's Real Irelandhttp://rachelgaffneysrealireland.com

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