Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018
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Mary Bilyeu

COMMENTARY

Upcoming food trends for 2018

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    KRT FOOD PHOTOGRAPH FOR USE AS DESIRED KRT PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMES F. QUINN/CHICAGO TRIBUNE (KRT500-October 13) Fresh figs are not only delicious, they're nutritional dynamos as well, with more fiber than prunes, popcorn or bran flakes. (TB) PL 1998 (Vert)

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    A fig growing on a tree in Dimitrios Mitsopoulo's garden in Sylvania on June 18, 2012.

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    Ahi Shoyu Poke (a raw, marinated fish-and-onion bowl) Wednesday, December 20, 2017, in Toledo, Ohio.

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    HARROGATE, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: A waitress pours tea at Bettys Tea Room, Harlow Carr on February 12, 2009 in Harrogate, England. The family owned company Taylors of Harrogate have been producing it's blends of teas and coffee since 1886 and serving it's products at the famous and traditional Bettys Tea Shops. Despite recent increases in the price of tea and the surge of coffee shops, the 'cuppa' is proving to be as popular as ever with bookings in Britain's discerning tea rooms being made weeks in advance. Consumption also increases during a recession as tea lovers take solace drinking tea. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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    A member of hotel staff pours cups of tea at the Kensington Hotel in London on August 11, 2016. The popularity of afternoon tea has London hotels vying to attract a new wave of customers by inventing twists on the classic English indulgence -- although with tapas and takeaways on offer, some say the trend is going too far. / AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS / TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY ROBIN MILLARD (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

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What’s a new year without a slew of resolutions and a listing of up-and-coming trends? Here are a few of the tastes, treats, and toys that await in 2018.

Flour power: First we embraced a wider range of grains beyond just wheat, such as spelt, farro, and amaranth. Now we’re taking the next step and turning all of those grains into flour, and doing it at home no less. KitchenAid sells an attachment for its mixers that costs about $100; simple manual grinders can be found for under $50, while the top-of-the-line Royal Lee Household flour mill is $800. Freshness counts when grinding coffee beans and spices, right? Why not with flour, too?

Say aloha to poke: Poke [poh-KEH] is a cold, raw fish preparation and a smoking hot trend. Toss cubes of tuna — quite often, though not exclusively — with sea salt, sesame oil, and green onions for a simple version; add Japanese seasonings, chilies, ginger, avocado, or other personalized ingredients for more contemporary versions. If you love sushi — and, given the number of establishments serving it, it’s pretty popular in the Toledo area — then you need to try this.

Keys to the Keto diet: The Paleo, clean eating, gluten-free, and other dietary regimens have had their 15 minutes of fame. Now, the Ketogenic Diet (known familiarly by its nickname, Keto) is ready for its close-up. High-protein and low-carbohydrate, it’s a kissing cousin to the famed Atkins protocol that forces the state of ketosis, causing the body to burn fat. On the nice list are meat, fish, dairy, nuts, and green vegetables; the naughty list includes sugars, grains, beans, fruits, and alcohol. This is contra-indicated for kidney patients, but it can benefit those who have diabetes, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease. Quick weight loss is promoted as another perk. Remember not to undertake any drastic changes in diet without medical consultation.

Flavor faves: Pumpkin spice is feeling the heat from maple, which hatched its own plot for world domination this fall. Additionally, a Swiss company — Firmenich SA, which specializes in fragrances and flavors — has declared 2018 the year of the fig. If you haven’t given a fig about this fruit beyond the beloved Newton cookies, now is the time to explore its culinary possibilities.

To a tea: Teas, florals, and botanicals are bringing their delicate perfumes to more than just hot water and sweets. Bergamot, rose, orange blossom, elderflower, lavender, and other lovely scent-sations are finding their way into mocktails, making these booze-free beverages as complex and creative as their alcoholic counterparts.

Identity crisis no more: The generic terms “Middle Eastern” and “Mediterranean” are going locavore as Persian, Turkish, Moroccan, Spanish, Israeli, Lebanese, and other cuisines are reclaiming their individual identities. Diners are going on culinary adventures to these distant lands by venturing beyond the familiar hummus and pita and finding polow, borekas, ras el hanout, and other exotic taste treats.

Tech savvy: Alexa, Google Home, Innit, smart appliances, and other innovations can help your culinary endeavors with everything from maintaining shopping lists to turning on appliances and starting to cook dinner before you even leave the office. Personalized meal plans, suggested wine pairings, cooking tutorials, and remotely being able to view whether you’re out of eggs are just a very few of the potential applications and services available. About the only things these HAL-like devices can’t do is load the dishwasher for you or replicate your tea, Earl Grey, hot.

Contact Mary Bilyeu at 419-724-6155 or mbilyeu@theblade.com, and follow her at facebook.com/thebladefoodpage.

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