I recently looked back (and forward) on my food and wine career and as well as having a good laugh, wanted to share a snapshot of my findings. My post on the 60s, 70 and 80s can be found here.
Sun-Dried. Tomatoes. On everything. Caesar salad and California roll sushi became lunchtime staples as did neighbourhood teppenyaki restaurants where they threw food at you. Still not sure why. Speaking of California, we have Californian Wolfgang Puck to thank for the gourmet pizza craze which saw toppings like smoked salmon and capers, peking duck and hoisin sauce and Greek lamb with tzatziki. Our supermarkets were full of ‘low fat’ foods which we now know should have been labelled ‘full of sugar’. Sauvignon Blanc replaced chardonnay as the biggest selling white wine and those clever Kiwis cornered the Savvy B market with multiple offerings from their Marlborough region. Oh and someone thought up the idea of adding synthetic hazelnut, caramel and vanilla flavouring to coffee. Just don’t. In the late 1990s I became Food Director of The Australian Women’s Weekly and started co-hosting Fresh on Channel 9, a job I did for 8 years.
Fancy artisinal sourdough replaced bland, flabby white bread in cafes and at home. Speciality cupcake bakeries popped up all over the place; some offering delicious cakey morsels but sadly more offering dry, tasteless sugar bombs. Deep-frying all kinds of random food like Mars Bars grew in popularity as did, as if to counteract all that saturated fat, the raw food movement. For the early part of the 2000s I was deeply ensconsed in directing the 30+ page food content each month for Australia’s biggest selling magazine, The Australian Women’s Weekly – covering all manner of content from weeknight dinners to wedding buffets. This decade also saw the emergence of growers’ markets and home fruit and veggie patches. If we couldn’t dig the dirt at home, we hunted down our local market, met the growers and bought the fruits of their labour. I love this trend and it continues now. Pinot noir became on trend and we started to see more approachable, lower alcohol red and white wines.
2010s and beyond
Mexican mania is showing no signs of abating, with new restaurants aplenty popping up and homecooks embracing their inner culinary amigo replacing nachos with fancy soft tacos of pulled pork on the mid-week dinner rotation. If anything our need to know the provenance of meat, fish and produce is growing with restaurants now including producer brand names and credentials on their menus. On the sweeter side of things, the fancy French macaron (not to be confused with the egg white and coconut mounds of old, the macaroons) have superseded cupcakes. But I’m confident other old fashioned faves will make a comeback. Who doesn’t love lamingtons and pavlova? Now Spanish varietals have joined Italian wine styles in growing popularity. There’s a rose revolution and sweet and bubbly, low-alcohol moscato is a refreshing favourite.
Any special memories of 90s and 00s? Any idea what we’ll be loving beyond the 10s?