Monday, March 28, 2005

Food fashion

You know those lists that Vogue-type magazines print, telling you what foods are "in" this year? The ones that declare that, for example, balsamic vinegar is Out, thanks to ever so many Dreadul Imitations and Salad Saturations Ad Nauseam, and that this year everyone will be singing the praises of hominy? Well, I'm not much of a follower. This is not the Year of Infused Sake for me (although if you pour me a shot, I'll be glad to drink it), and I couldn't care less what chefs in Manhattan are purchasing for their overpriced restaurants.

I do, however, go through periods of heavy consumption of particular foods because I can't seem to get enough of them. (I think everybody does this. The year the first Bruegger's Bagel Bakery came to North Canton, Ohio, my stepdad ate his weight in cinnamon-raisin bagels, and as a onetime employee of that company, I can't say I blame him.) Here's what's big for me this spring:

1. Fennel - Hit the charts last fall and hasn't let up, not even a little bit.

2. Canned tuna fillet packed in olive oil - Because it's a whole different thing from chunk tuna in water, and it makes a salad a meal. Also, fresh tuna is pretty patchy around here and I've been disappointed too many times. This never disappoints.

3. Escarole - I didn't even know what it was before a couple of months ago. Now I must have it.

4. Broccolini - Steamed and dipped in rarebit sauce.

5. French pastries - Especially eggy, fruity ones. As if you didn't know that already.

6. Nuts - Almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, cashews, pistachios. I have gotten in the habit of putting nuts in my salads, baking them on fish, and integrating them into entrees and desserts. Not only do I enjoy the taste and texture, but I feel healthier for it. Also, this is the year we switched from regular peanut butter to the natural kind that doesn't have emulsifiers or added sugar. The s.o. refers to it as "peanut butter you can sip" and never wants to go back.

7. Kashi "Strawberry Fields" cereal - Best. Cereal. Ever.

8. Poached or medium-boiled eggs - A really nice change of pace from fried or scrambled ones.

9. Spring greens - I have been craving sorrel, watercress, baby arugula, mini lettuces, etc., probably because this is the time of year for them and I get excited about things like that.

10. Friendly-farmed meats - Not only the humanely raised chicken, beef, pork, and buffalo sold by Maverick Ranch, Spring Mountain Farms, et. al., but also meat from animals that refuse to thrive in tiny cages and pens, such as sheep and geese. They are more expensive, but sometimes I luck out and get a good deal.

What are you into lately?