Food Network Kitchens: Top Food Trends for 2011

By: Jonathan Milder

The Food Network's Kitchens offer for your perusal eleven trends that will define the coming year in food. Check out five of the trends here, then visit Food Network's Dish for the rest of the list.

And if reading about these trends makes you hungry, you’re in luck. This year they've distilled (or rather mashed up) the predictions into two emblematic recipes, thus giving you an opportunity unique among year-end forecasts: the chance to eat the predictions! Check back tomorrow for the recipes. If they're any indication, the year 2011 is going to be a delicious one. Bon appétit!

Sweet Comfort

Throughout the recession we have leaned heavily on comfort food classics of the Southern and savory variety: mac ‘n cheese, fried chicken, shrimp ‘n grits, meatballs, burgers, and the like. In the coming year we expect a turn to the sweet side of comfort. We are looking forward to innovation around that all-American icon: pie. We anticipate pie shops, pie trucks, pie books, pie blogs, festivals of pie. Hopefully everyone gets a piece of the pie in 2011. And that to us is a pretty comforting thought.

Get in on the trend:
Kelsey's Banana Cream Pie (pictured above)
Crafting in the Kitchen/At-home Artisanship

Brace yourselves: a 2 nd wave of culinary D.I.Y.-ism is about hit our shores. First came the recession-inspired pickling and preserving vogue. Next up: home curing, home brewing, and coffee roasting. Having mastered the art of canning, folks are ready and raring for more hardcore D.I.Y. projects.

The Kindest Cut: Chicken Thighs

Save money, eat better --that’s chicken thighs for you. Thighs are cheaper, they’re tastier, and they’re far more forgiving of overcooking than the dry, cottony breast meat we’ve relied on for too long. Whether boneless or bone-in, skinless or skin-on, thighs will be showing up in more homes and on more menus in 2011. That’s something to be thankful for.

Get in on the trend:
Vegetables Muscle up on Meat

Suddenly vegetables have all the star power. Count Emeril Lagasse, Mark Bittman, Jose Andres, Jamie Oliver, and Mario Batali among the chefs in favor of veggie-centric eating. This message is one whose time has come; expect more vegetable options on chain menus, in schools and airports, more fine dining vegetable exploration, and at home, people embracing forms of flexitarianism (veggies, with a side of meat)  as they welcome a variety of vegetables into their repertoires.

Get in on the trend:
Wine Bar Keg Parties and Large Format Cocktails

Wine-on-tap (wine stored in and poured from kegs, a la beer) is going to get trendier. It delivers fresher wine at better prices, and it’s eco-friendly, to boot. What’s not to like about that? In the world of mixed drinks, the revival of classic rum and brandy-based punches continues. Pull out the pitchers for serving batch drinks spiked with the spirits of the moment: tequila and mezcal.

Get in on the trend:

Get more of the top trends for 2011 on The FN Dish.

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