As we enter a new decade with the inspiring date 2020, we’re likely to encounter unanticipated changes in the way we eat, shop and socialize.  Some may be revolutionary – cricket burgers at fast food chains – others gradual shifts– vegetarian options everywhere.

Have you seen the packages of “meatless” burgers, “meat” balls and ground “meat” in the butcher’s cases at our local markets?  Pick up the neatly shrink-wrapped Styrofoam tray and read the label. Water, texturized wheat protein, pea protein, potato protein and starch, coconut oil and a mouthful of additives and natural flavors. We all might try it.  But I predict we won’t rely on “faux food” as its been called to improve our diet.

Here are some thoughts I have on what I expect and would like to see on the table in the coming months and years. 2020 New Foods, New Trends, New Outlook for the New Decade

Out with Avocado. Kick the Cauliflower. Squash It.

Rich, colorful winter squashes lend themselves to almost any preparation. If you’re looking to add more vegetables to you weekly diet, think squash. Roast a butternut with warm aromatic spices and some hot paprika.  Pack it into a pit with a tangy yogurt sauce and roasted red peppers. Stuff a Delicata and eat it skin and all. Simmer cubed kabocha squash in your favorite broth or stock, purée it for a quick dairy-free soup. The flavor of winter squash and the variety of colors and shapes makes them an idea foil for spices and sauces, and something meat eaters and vegetarians love equally.

But don’t be surprised when something overtakes squash. It might be cabbage or corn. Just know that it’s vegetable forward cooking from here on in.


Smoke is a way of cooking that tenderizes and flavors foods.  I foresee more people embracing this woodsy flavor in their home cooking in 2020. We think of smoked pork shoulder and beef brisket, but a light smoking makes chicken and fatty fish come alive. We give our stovetop Cameron Smoker a workout cooking whole filets of wild salmon.  I also make my own cold-smoked trout. But smoking works well to flavor cheese, tubers, peppers, nuts and a host of other foods. Stovetop smokers are inexpensive, or you can rig one up using a pot and a rack. And if you’re a serious smoked-food aficionado, check out Swanky’s Cookout Supply a new spot that just opened in Essex, CT.

New in the Condiment Aisle – Ajvar, Roasted Red Pepper + Eggplant Relish

Several years ago, I bought a jar of ajvar (pronunciation: aye var) from an international grocery store in Houston.  This smoky garlicky spread hooked me with the first bite.  It’s a salad or ketchup-like condiment made with roasted red peppers, garlic and olive oil.  Sometimes eggplant is added too. It comes from Serbia and Balkan countries. Less familiar than tapenade (olive spread) or romesco (almond or walnut and red pepper spread), it’s time to make room for ajvar on your grazing table.   You can find it online and I am sure at many specialty grocers locally. But it can be made easily at home. [Recipe coming.] For the best flavor, toast the vegetables over a wood fire. Or roast them at a high temperature in the oven. Although ajvar isn’t fiery, you can slip in a hot pepper or two.



There are many more things that intrigue for the New Year, among them a renewed interest in natural wine and hearth cooking, two things dear to our hearts.  Its been a marvelous decade of cooking inspiration from cooks, farmers and fishermen the world over.  From the chariot of crudités and small salads at la Colombe d’Or to street-side jianbing in Shanghai, quinoa fritters in LA to 100% stone ground rye sourdough from our own kitchen. Cassis and violet macarons, comeback sauce and pimento cheese. Mad foods with the folks at Modernist Cuisine Labs. White truffle toasts two night ago, home-made red wine vinegar, green almond liqueur and bottle cocktails.

Authentic al dente pasta the Neapolitan way too, the note on which I’ll start cooking in 2020.  Something old and traditional yet modern in its simplicity.

Happy new year.