American, the New Ethnic
This is all about flavor delivery. Immigration has come to the plate, and we are now defining a new Global Flavor Curve. Part comfort, part creativity, the latest flavors are coming from the great American melting pot. So, it’s about grandma’s food, but the recipes may be written in Japanese. American food is distinctive in its lack of identity outside of the hamburger—until, that is, you mix in our heritage. This is the year we’ll do it in a big way. The presentation of food, the flavor, and the experimentation is coming into its own in 2010.
It’s really a redefinition of ‘ethnic’ to take it beyond even traditional thinking. Flavors from Africa and Japan and Asia are joining with Mexican and Italian as top-of-mind choices—‘Let’s go out for Thai’ is as common in many American cities as ‘I’m craving Mexican.’ And, the menu in that Thai restaurant may well offer a side of French fries.
It’s not just about restaurants, of course. The true American ethnic is a merging of flavors at home. We’re taking those old recipes, and we’re applying our own cooking knowledge and available spices to make them ‘original’ all over again. We’re pairing things differently, too—a little from this country, a little from that, and we have a new flavor and texture combination that is distinctly American. It’s a great time to be a spice.
Yes, some of these recipes and this experimentation means we are spending more time in the kitchen, but we’ve decided as a country to make that part of what defines us—cooking is part of our relaxation, our sense of accomplishment, and our social engagement.
For evidence, read:
The Humble Hamburger Getting a More Authentic Ethnic Makeover
Staten Island Restaurant Features Cooking by Italian Grannies
More Latin-Inspired Flavors Coming Your Way
Latino Waves, Part 2
Korean Food Moving Into the Mainstream