Trendsetters

“But watch out [Midwest] because the food world is going to be on your back.”

That’s what Kathy Gunst said in a recent interview with Jeremy Hobson on Here & Now.  Gunst, a food writer, chef and cookbook author, spoke with “a handful” of food writers, editors and agents to get their thoughts on where food will go in 2014.

As she said, this follows a year where Southern cooking was the hot cuisine.

“My theory is we’ve saturated everything on both costs and we’re now looking to the inside, to the interior of the country,” Gunst said.

So now that everything has run its course, they turn to us.  They’ve finally come around to the trend we’ve been on about for years and years and years.

Let’s enjoy this, our hipster moment.  We did Midwestern cuisine before it was cool.

But I see Midwestern cuisine, like the Midwest itself, difficult to define.  Gunst talks of the corn and beef that make up America’s breadbasket.  Searching around other sites and blogs there is mention of root vegetables and “farm-fresh and local taken to the next level.”

Gunst then said, “The Middle West always has things that make great cuisine.  Fertile land, abundant resources, an unbroken tide of immigration and a fascination with novelty.”

Adding the immigrant idea to the formula we’ve got pierogies, paprikash, shepherd’s pie, cavatelli, schnitzel and brats.  Basically all the best comfort foods.

As I understand it, the basis behind the idea of this “Midwestern food” trend is filling foods and foods fresh from the land.  So, in other words, practicality.  A realness.

Coincidentally, when looking at the ever popular French and Italian cuisines the bedrock principles are necessity, what is available and how to turn it into something good.  Then it became popular and trendy.

In a way this supposed trend is an anti-trend.  It’s not done to be cool.  Cool things can be done with the ingredients, but the food is, at its most basic, designed to fill the farmers or the steel workers or the longshoremen before or after a hard day’s work.

“So much of our food is grown in the Midwest,” Gunst said.

And now the newest trend may, too.  So enjoy it, my fellow Midwesterners.  The rest of the country could possibly give us some long due recognition, at least until the next big thing comes along.

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