Fusion of foods from different cultures will always continue as cultures live side by side in the same neighbourhood. Their flavours will blend together creating new dishes as a form of evolution in a sense. This process will be ongoing forever. Look at the Peranakan food – a fusion of Malay and Chinese culinary worlds resulting in a unique breed of cuisine. The end result is exquisite. I highly recommend those who have no idea about Peranakan food to try it out whenever they have a chance to visit Malaysia or Singapore.
The latest rave though in the last 6-7 years has been molecular gastronomy with the popular demand for restaurants like The Fat Duck, El Bulli – where to get a table was a 6 months wait or so. Personally fine dining/molecular gastronomy is almost a culinary adventure that is ‘fun’ to take on once in a while but what I always come back to with fondness are good old fashion food, rustic with wholesome goodness possibly cooked by the matriachs of the family and the occasional patriarchs or some very good young upcoming chefs.
I think the main reason for the return of the old food is very much linked to comfort food we once knew when we grew up. Food that always invoke a sense of belonging and wellbeing – and being heartily fed! The food we share with our love ones and no pretensions! Times are now changing and soon the clinical, minimalistic stye modern cooking will not appeal as much as those from old rustic kitchens. I see a return to home cooking possibly in a slightly more modern setting but nothing extreme.
Most restaurants run like Walmart will also start to lose its appeal – we have gone through too many conveyour belt like experiences either shopping or dining and I strongly feel there will be a return to shops where they know what they are selling/serving and particularly those who can create the lasting relationship with you as their customers, listens to you and also undestand there is a new breed of diners that care more about the fresh produce, rather the exoticness of it. Also those restaurants who respects the relationships they have with their supplies and vice versa.
As for the crisis, one lesson is, do we really need all these excesses in life – 5 litre Cokes or XXL size chips. I see the crisis as a much needed correction on how we have been consuming and all the wastages we see around us. Think about it, the planet cannot survive if we continue to exploit it and waste it. Do we really need those extras we seem to end up buying be it clothes, food or cars? Not to mention going into debts for this extravagant lifestyle? Food for thought. I for one have started to be more conscious too about many things around me not just the environment, but really thinking twice before I go out and buy anything.. do I really need it?
Anyways with the economic crisis though some fast food joints like McDonald’s with the right price will continue to draw people and people are still keen on fast food. Although we will see indeed more people eating in and be more conscious about prices. Places that continue to serve good food and at good prices without all the prententions will likely to survive too in these times.
Personally I confess, I may be biased – as you would have guessed – my preference has always been meals in a trattoria or rustic homey restaurant run by people who cares about what they serve and enjoy sharing their passion for food with you. Don’t you just hate sometimes you get into a fancy restaurant where the waiter will assume to know more about your food than you do, nor are they sympathetic enough to adapt to your needs and too prententious to listen to your requests and engage passionately about the food being served and where they come from.
Not forgetting too, I truly admire and honour the many home cooks out there whose families are the only that have the privileged to enjoy their cooking and sadly others will not get to. They are outstanding cooks, do it for love and have many good old age secrets to share which we risk of losing if they do not pass on this knowledge they have to the younger generations. Some of them have actually published books which in a way will help preserve their knowledge – and thank you to those of you who are so generous enough to share them too.
Well, it is late and I am off to bed.. so what is next? I’ll take good old fashion food, anytime ! Good night!