At the beginning of every year, Food Network staffers put their brains together and predict the biggest trends in food. And while we’re right about many of them, we’re naturally always noticing new trends. As 2022 is a little more than halfway over, we thought it would be a great time to check in with a list of the hottest new happenings in the food world, big and small.
Oddly Satisfying Crosshatching
If you collect clever cooking tricks, then meet the crosshatch: a classic culinary technique that’s visually stunning and filling social feeds. A sharp knife is used to score a crisscross pattern onto food’s surface prior to cooking; not only does crosshatching look oddly satisfying (especially when you fan it out), but also it allows seasonings to cover more surface area and produce a more evenly cooked finished product (particularly for fish). So many foods can benefit from this technique: from chicken to potatoes to baked brie to eggplant. Sure, it takes some practice, so start with an inexpensive recipe like these Diamond-Scored Mushrooms Steaks (pictured above) and work your way up to scallops.
The Lazy Cooking Movement
Post-pandemic life is busy. Period. And yes, all that homemade sourdough was totally worth the time and effort but our schedules don’t always allow for project baking and cooking. Americans are ready for a convenience cooking rebrand and many have found their answer in the form of #LazyCooking. The “lazy” here actually means smart, in the form of easy, clever recipes that combine convenience products with minimal effort. Like TikTok’s viral lazy enchiladas, made with frozen taquitos and canned enchiladas sauce. Actress and avid home cook Mindy Kaling is getting in on the trend too, calling out “lazy cooking” on Instagram in her weekly Meatless Monday recipe videos. Plus, Food Network stars share their go-to and fool-proof lazy recipes when cooking fatigue sets in.
This retro flavor is making a major comeback all over social media and in many new and interesting places. While “healthy coke” made with balsamic vinegar and club soda trended a while back on Tik Tok, we think the balsamic drizzle has more staying power. Tik Tokers, home cooks and restaurants alike are drizzling balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze over all sorts of creations as a finishing touch. And companies are rising to meet consumer demand, releasing new balsamic products like Olive Oil Emporium’s Grateable Balsamic Spheres and Carandini’s new Italian Cheese Dressing spiked with balsamic glaze.
Conchas In New Shapes and Colors
Conchas are a sweet and eggy bread with an addictive crunchy, sugary top. This pan dulce (sweet bread) hails from Mexico and gets its name (conchas means shells) because of its unique shell-like design. In parts of the country it’s been relegated to cellophane-wrapped convenience-store status. However, award-winning chefs like The Cáceres brothers in San Antonio, Texas, Chef Elisa Reyna in Washington, DC and famed chef Enrique Olvera in NYC have all featured the classic pastry on menus. And some bakers have been riffing on the traditional shape with delightful new takes like heart-shaped conchas, uniconchas and Pokemon conchas. Conchas are even a vehicle for good: Socially Conchas hosts concha-making workshops with all proceeds going to immigrant family support.
Masa Having a Renaissance
Colorful tortillas with designs on them are popping up on social media, but these works of art carry a deeper message — the revival of a masa culture that was nearly extinguished by large scale tortilla production in the US. More heirloom corn varieties are available (thank you, Masienda (LA) and Tamoa (Mexico City)), the tools to grind them are more accessible than ever before and new cookbooks are at the ready (such as Jorge Gaviera’s Masa: Techniques, Recipes, and Reflections on a Timeless Staple, above). We’re following masa artists like Isaí Cuevas at Donaji (SF) who uses fresh masa in almost every way imaginable on his menu and Alex Garcia at Evil Cooks (LA) who continues the centuries-old tradition of branding his tortillas with his own escudo (crest or logo) for special occasions — in his case popups.
Somrudee Doikaewkhao / EyeEm/Gety Images
All the isolation of the pandemic has left us craving escape. Tropical fruits play on social with 334.7 million views on TikTok with the hashtag #exoticfruit and 208 thousand posts on Instagram with #exoticfruit. Big brands are buying into the trend, launching tropical-flavored treats: Pepsi and Starbucks’ new Baya Energy Drink launched with three tropical flavors, Seagram’s new line of spiked tropical RTDs and Tic Tac’s latest flavor launch, Tropical Adventure, to name a few. Watch as tropical flavors in consumer packaged goods (CPGs) push beyond the classic pineapple and passionfruit to include more specialty fruits, like calamansi, yuzu and soursop.
Photo courtesy of Coca-Cola
Real OG Sodas
For a while it seemed like everyone wanted sodas that promised better for you benefits. But in the past year, we’ve seen OG soda brands making a splash with flavors and brand extensions designed to drum up loyalty and nostalgia. Food Network readers keep on clicking on our coverage of special soda releases, from as Coca Cola Dreamworld (pictured above) and Starlight to Nitro Pepsi.
Concurrently, dirty soda has taken off, particularly on Tik Tok. Swig, a Utah-based chain that specializes in unique fountain sodas, originated Dirty™ Soda: a mixture of diet cola, coconut syrup, lime juice and either half-and-half or non-dairy creamer. Musician Olivia Rodrigo shared her #dirty soda on TikTok and sent the community into a frenzy. Variations of soda + syrup + sweet cream are popping up all over. And alcohol-spiked spinoffs, like the Dirty Shirley Geoffrey Zakarian demoed on The Kitchen (head over to our story on the Dirty Shirley to learn all about it), have gained traction.
Extra Dirty Martinis
Speaking of dirty booze, dust off those flared, stemmed cocktail glasses because martinis are back and they’re dirtier than ever. Bartender Luis Serrano of Bemelmans — the legendary New York City-based cocktail bar — makes over 1,000 martinis a night and is using more olive brine (that’s the ‘dirty’ part) than ever before. He speculates that people are in a festive, post-pandemic mood and want to get their buzz on, quickly. It doesn’t hurt that celebrities like Dua Lipa are also big fans of the boozy, briny drink. Learn how to make a dirty martini like a seasoned pro — and don’t forget the olive juice!
Tequila on the Rocks
Gone are the days of quickly downing shots of the agave-based booze, then waking up with a terrible hangover. Tequila is getting the bourbon treatment and is delightfully sippable thanks to distillers touting different varieties, aging processes and flavor characteristics. And celebrities are also driving this trend: Nick Jonas is taking a cue from actor George Clooney (whose tequila brand Casamigos sold for millions of dollars in 2017) and launched a ultra-premium tequila that comes in 3 different varieties: silver, reposado and añejo. And for those times when you just need a quick refresher, trendy ranch water (tequila + mineral water + fresh lime juice) is beyond easy to make and is finding its foothold in ready-to-drink canned cocktails too.
What do honeydew, lime, mint, olive and sage all have in common? They are all hues of the hottest kitchen color: green. The outdoors comes inside and a verdant pop. We’ll happily exchange muted millennial pink for the entire spectrum of green: from the new electric acid green from Always Pan to the deeper, almost khaki-colored Le Creuset pots. If you started an indoor herb garden during the last couple of years then you know just how happy and healing green can be.
Speaking of green, for our next trend: we love the sagey ceramic plates that TikTok sensation Emily Mariko unboxed for us from Heath Ceramics — dishwasher-safe pottery that is individually handcrafted in Sausalito California. Ceramic serve ware sets are truly the modern day equivalent of China – and young couples (Food Network staffers included) are putting them on their wedding registries in droves. But ceramics don’t end with plates: the internet’s favorite ceramic mug seems to be constantly selling out and cookware brands like Caraway rely on the slick ceramic coating on their metal-based pans as a PFOA-free nonstick surface. The quality and craftsmanship of ceramics means we will be cooking with and eating off ceramic-clad pots, pans and plates for years to come.
Vintage-Inspired Colorful Glassware
Over the summer, you might have seen ditsy floral tablecloths adorned with jewel-like pink, green and blue goblets. Brands like Internet-famous Estelle Colored Glass are drawing inspiration from vintage glassware, with bigger box names following suit, and people are loving the maximalist color and designs. Transition your table from summer to cooler seasons with amber and smoky colored glassware.
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