Food Trends for Next Year

As mentioned before in this column, late summer is one of our favorite times of the year here at the Food Desk. It is around this time that we receive our new edition of "The Old Farmer's Almanac," the 222-year-old publication that gives you all the information you could possibly want about the coming year.The Food Desk had found it an invaluable resource for making decisions as to where we will despatch the Food Desk Research Team each year in search of interesting stories.The 1998 Southern Edition of the publication should be available at bookstores soon, but if you are unable to acquire a copy, here are some of the highlights "The Almanac" forecasts for 1998:Food Trends*Health-food backlash*Haute junk food such as cotton candy (used as a predessert at one San Francisco restaurant) and Jell-O (in a special edition champagne flavor). Another old favorite showing up on menus will be Boston cream pie.*Soup restaurants popping up everywhere. In supermarkets, watch for Campbell's soup in glass jars.*More cooks are purposely making extra portions to crate leftovers -- a practice that's up 30 percent in the last 10 years.Popular Cuisines in Restaurants*Malaysian, which blends Indian, Chinese, and Malay cooking.*Iberian, both Portuguese and regional Spanish (Catalonian, Andalusian).*Mediterranean Rim, such as Moroccan, Tunisian, Greek, and Israeli."The Almanac" also notes that dishes using tea as an ingredient (such as tea-soaked salmon) will be big in '98. And '50s-style dining will return with caviar, escargot, calf's liver, anchovies, and a martini with lunch.If you've noticed the plethora of bagel shops in San Antonio, it's probably because -- according to the "The Old Farmer's Almanac" -- "bagel sales in the United States have increased 500 percent in the last three years."And the food forecasters at the publication are predicting a bagel-like product will see a big increase in fine restaurants in 1998 -- doughnuts. The coming doughnut craze is "indicative of the relaxed approach people are taking to dinning. The doughnuts reflect a trend back to old-fashioned things -- an appealing thought for aging baby boomers."Of course, The "Old Farmer's Almanac" has much more information than food tidbits; it includes weather forecasts, weird (but interesting) stories, and those great, homey ads. The Almanac is a good buy at $3.99, and it still comes with that little hole punched in the top left corner so you can string it up in the outhouse.

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