City stays for a boy from the country....

I stayed in the city recently.  New Farm to be precise (and yes, that counts as city when you live on 4 acres).

There were so many options for eating; we literally split our meal up over dinner one night so we could try an extra place out.  It was easy – they were in the same street. 

I have to say – we were like kids in a candy shop – the lights, the smells, even the décor was beckoning me in from every doorway.  Did I try anything new?  Well, no.  In fact my favourite thing was slow cooked ribs, done the usual way, without any special tweaks.  And it got me thinking.  Maybe there is nothing new. 

You’ve probably made a ‘bone broth’ by now – or at least eaten one.  And I think for heaps of people, bone broth popped up, out of nowhere, and appeared to be a brand new ‘thing’.   A little bit cutting edge.  Something your mum’s never made. 

But it’s not. New. At all.  Or even fancy. 

It’s the staple in kitchens that you’re taught before anything else.  It’s the horror story every chef will have…. “I made this stock, it took hours, it contained my blood, sweat and tears (not literally)…. then just before knocking off after a 16 hour shift, I asked the dishy to strain it.   I came back in the morning to a pot full of old bones and disintegrated vegetables, and my precious, golden liquid had been poured down the sink.”  Yep, we’ve all got a version of that to tell.

Same deal with fermented foods.  Remember, they were invented because fridges didn’t exist.  They’ve been around a long time.

You’ll probably agree that 2015’s been not so much about individual ingredients or food items (if we ignore the explosion of tacos) but all about diet trends – paleo, vegan, raw food, and fasting to name a few. 

My money’s on things changing in 2016.

For sure, there’ll be at least one in every group who can’t or won’t eat something (or most things) on the menu.  But I hope there’ll be fewer rules, less of ‘this is the only way to eat’ and more of grabbing the best from every culture, and every diet. 

I hope we’ll keep using our hands to eat our food so we feel more connected with it. 

I hope home kitchens all across the Sunshine Coast will keep trying new recipes for kombucha and kefir and kim chee. 

Every year our world becomes smaller, and a little more accessible, and open minded. 

And with so many new ideas from ancient cultures being delivered to our doorstep, I think this year; we’ll be revisiting our grandma’s cookbooks to look at tried and true – forgotten maybe, but not new methods that treat our raw ingredients with respect.  There will be more of a focus on home grown, locally sourced, fresh produce, fusing flavours and methods from around the world. 

Who’s keen to make cheese for the first time, or house cure a side of salmon?