By: Rifky Grossman, Lubicom Staff
If I could rebrand 2020, it would be less along the lines of “pandemic” and more towards adjectives like “cozy,” “wholesome,” and “warm,” because these are the comforts we all craved, especially in the form of food.
As an ode to 2020, this is a wrap-up of the foods and trends that kept us sane during the quarantine.
Unsurprisingly enough, sourdough bread making was the most searched food trend via Google for 2020.
Whether it was the process of learning something new (sourdough starters=science) or merely the therapeutic act of kneading, sourdough baking is what kept people going ’round amidst a time of uncertainty. Also, instead of eating loaves of store-bought bread, sourdough is a lighter option because it has a lower glycemic index, which allows it to digest more slowly, making it seemingly less dense.
Toasty crusty, fluffy bread was the attainable perfection amid so much uncertainty.
Potato gnocchi is just one of those foods that equals comfort all around. Does it get more “comfort food” than pillowy clouds in carb form? Sure there are lighter varieties made from cauliflower nowadays. Still, potato gnocchi is the perfect canvas to be smothered in cheese, grilled in brown butter, or tossed into your favorite stir fry. Because people had time, they ventured to make gnocchi from scratch. And while it isn’t hard to make, this Pesto Alfredo Bartenura Gnocchi will yield perfectly pillowy results every time; no gnocchi rolling is necessary.
I don’t think people began to hop on the pea protein bandwagon because there was a shortage of meat this year….it just worked out like that. Because people are starting to crave a more vegetarian, clean eating, “beyond meat” lifestyle, plant-based protein just crept up as a nutritional addition to the usual amino acids often found in whey and animal protein. Also, Danielle Renov’s hottest cookbook doesn’t hurt the pea fan club either 😉
Levantine Influence Spices
At the beginning of quarantine, when many were wary of bringing in any outside food, we began to prepare some of our favorite Middle Eastern-inspired dishes at home, everything from chicken shawarma to baba ganoush and tabbouleh; sales of sumac and za’atar spiked.
One of the exciting parts of work-from-home culture is getting back commute time. Pre-COVID, those who brown-bagged were inclined to make the most nourishing sandwich-style lunch in the least amount of prep time – think tuna, PB&J, and turkey on rye; maybe a pickle would be grabbed if you had time to be fancy. When lunch was served from home, the kitchen became our oyster – toasted croissant sandwiches with goat cheese, and last night’s London broil subs kept WFH exciting.
Plain unsalted butter is a classic, but have you tried watermelon seed butter? How about Salted Chocolate and Macadamia nut butter? The smother industry must have had some 2020 precursor in, because nothing is as comforting amidst a global pandemic as dipping your crusty challah loaf (leftover from Shabbat because we were in quarantine) into a container of your favorite nouveau spread.
Non-alcoholic Versions of Your Favorite Alcoholic Beverages
No one anticipated for the 2020 cheers to being this year’s never-ending theme…wine jokes aside, your favorite brands and tipples are joining the sparkling beverage industry. Many of these beverages seek to re-create classic cocktail flavors using distilling methods typically reserved for alcohol, creating an alternative to liquor meant to be used with a mixer rather than a drink on its own and coming up with non-alcoholic and lower caloric spinoffs of your favorite malts and lagers.
Harissa Being the New Sriracha
The hot chili pepper paste originally made its spicy debut from 2014-2015 and was even dubbed 2015’s most prominent food trend by TIME Magazine. This year’s interesting development is that food delivery services tracked harissa as the most requested condiment in 2020 orders.
Bone broth has been around since your bubby’s, and a ladleful has been a thing; however, unlike its burrito and smoothie bowl counterparts, bone broth was seemingly less cool – until people realized the immune health benefits. Delivery orders saw a spike in people ordering this liquid rich in collagen, which is thought to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, strengthen bones, and promote healthy hair and skin.
P.S. If we had to do this year again, the shortlist probably wouldn’t change. Maybe I would like to add some kale, more acai bowls, and lighter options to the menu roster, but at the end of the day, cozy is what kept us strong, and strength is here to stay.