The bangs and flashes from the fireworks have stopped. They lasted a few days beyond New Year’s Eve. I guess there were some left over. Maybe other celebrations were in progress. In a multicultural city like this the fireworks and celebrations go way beyond bonfire night. New Years day, the 1stof the 1stis a common birthday in immigrant households. Not for any reason other than the 1stgeneration didn’t actually have a recorded birthdate.
For most of us the end of celebrations involves a bit of a clear up and questions as to what to do with anything that’s left over.
Alongside this the start of the New year generally involves an urge to reflect not only on the time that has passed but on the future direction of travel. We generally involve ourselves in imposing some form of atonement following such excesses and as such the practice of detoxing, diets and dry January are entered into. Usually half-heartedly with recidivism into pre-celebratory practices well within a cycle of the moon.
By the first weekend of January shopping lists are being filled and checkout queues are turning over.
For those with foodie tendencies there may be new inspirations from the multitude of cookery books and niche ingredients that the festive period gifted them. Perhaps a hunt for new and unusual inspirations from around the globe. New year, new trends. The BBC tells us that the food trends for 2019 are:
Sri Lankan cuisine, Burmese cuisine, Meat-free, Kefir, Ugly fruit & veg, Hidden vegetables, Rum, Food halls, Low or no alcohol, Going cashless, Goat, Recyclable or lower impact packaging and zweigelt as an easy-drinking, light-bodied red from Austria.
The quest to be trendy will be difficult with rum, zweigelt and no alcohol. Also, meat free goat may be a challenge but when was trendy meant to make sense?
So, are food trends just like fashion trends? If so what happens to the last seasons wardrobe? It is hidden behind a closed door or discarded for the new trend.
How much of last year and the years before trends lie at the back of cupboards and the bottom of the freezer. (Just to remind you the trends of last year were South and central American foods and west African food)
Of course, we are lucky to have a full cupboard or a freezer at all. For many in South and Central America as well as West Africa these “trends” are monotonous survival food.
For many in Western countries the indulgence of varied and fresh food is no longer a given and the variation afforded by food banks may be the trend of the week.
(I wonder how many foodbanks have tins of BBQ pulled jackfruit and Joloff rice spices this year.)
In this spirit the question that obviously comes to mind is that how much food is in storage and why.
Rather than food trends that look towards the next thing perhaps the trend for this this January should be living on what we already have.
Asking the question:
What can I make without doing any shopping?
Like most challenges that we face the brain immediately comes up with excuses. I need milk. Bread. Fresh fruit and fresh food.
But do you? Really. At some stage yes but by being really creative I question this.
Look at your fridge now. Your freezer. Cupboards. How long do you think you could go by thinking around these challenges?
Ok its midwinter. But look at your herb garden. I see thyme, rosemary, chives and some parsley. In my fridge I have a couple of baby gem lettuces, carrots, kale and brussels sprouts.
I have a freezer with frozen veg and meats. My cupboards have tins of all sorts of treasures.
I have dried goods, jars of pickles, I have a chorizo, some salami. Cheese and actually found two cartons of long-life milk.
I have some wine and beer (but going to go dry for a while so they are locked away).
So, I propose a new trend for January (or Frugal February) – Survival rations – simply living off what you already have. Forgoing what you “need” for a recipe or you fancy from the supermarket.
Why do it?
- It fulfils the need for atonement – what better way to counter the excesses and waste of the holiday period?
- It is possibly the ultimate foodie challenge – be your own creative – use your knowledge and skills with what you have NOT from following someone else’s ideas (often ill-informed and driven by commercial bias)
- It is cheap. Imagine a month without shopping?
- Reduced waste – fulfil your 2019 trend by reducing food packaging – don’t but it!
- It should be healthy – avoiding shopping avoids the marketing tricks to make you buy things you don’t need. It will assist dry January and prevent stocking up on unhealthy choices. If you have cupboards and freezers full of unhealthy stuff perhaps it’s time for a stock take!
- Raises questions about where our food comes from, how it is stored and how to maximise it
- It focusses on what we have and what others don’t.
So all that is left is to see if it possible and if so then for how long?