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Food trends for 2022

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We may have mentioned one or two or, I don't know, 500 or so times that we really like food around here. I mean, we really like food. We like talking about food. We like eating food. And while there are always new trends to follow, the past couple of years have changed a lot about the way we eat - more at-home cooking and baking because of you know what, but also recipes and cooking techniques that you can learn about on TikTok, with everything from grandma's favorites to the most elaborate desserts. That got us thinking about what food trends might be happening this year, so we've called Carla Lalli Music. She is a chef, cooking show host and the author of the cookbook "That Sounds So Good." She's here to give us a taste of upcoming trends. Carla Lalli Music, welcome back. Thanks so much for joining us, and Happy New Year.

CARLA LALLI MUSIC: Same to you. Always a pleasure.

MARTIN: So what are one or two food trends that you're keeping your eye on this year and why?

MUSIC: At home, I'm definitely seeing big trends in both sober-curious and plant-curious eating. So what sober-curious really translates to is that - not just Dryuary or Sober September, but people are not drinking. And there are a big explosion of, like, non-alcoholic spirits, non-alcoholic wines. So this is going way beyond Martinelli. You can have something that really feels like you're drinking wine and you're not drinking wine.

MARTIN: Hmm. And the plant-based - plant - what did you say? How did you say it? Plant-curious, plant-based...

MUSIC: (Laughter) Yeah, plant-curious or plant-based, which is - I don't know why we have to remarket these things, but people are eating more vegetarian food.

MARTIN: Exactly. Thank you. Hello. Vegetables, right? It's vegetables.

MUSIC: (Laughter) Exactly. And I think the difference in 2022 is that it's not just a health-driven trend. It's really an awareness about the climate and how much energy and resources it takes to raise animals. So it's everything from like ag replacers like JUST Egg, alt milks, Impossible Burgers and on and on.

MARTIN: You know, I was thinking about the fact that the pandemic, which I was trying not to mention but can't avoid, has obviously had a huge effect on food. For example, we know that supply chain hiccups can make it hard both for restaurants and for home cooks to get certain ingredients. I mean, people have been sort of posting on social media, like, when they go to the store and there's no chicken.

MUSIC: Right.

MARTIN: And so I know that you know a lot of chefs. What have they been telling you about this? Is this affecting what they choose to put on their menus?

MUSIC: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, this is huge. The disruptions can make it really difficult at a restaurant to say like, oh, we don't have that menu item. So what you're going to see is a lot of - like, much more simplified menus, so fewer items. If you used to eat out and expect to see eight appetizers and eight entrees, it's going to be more like five and five. And the reason for that is if you have fewer dishes on the menu, if they take fewer ingredients to actually make, then if something is unavailable, it doesn't cause this, like, whole ripple effect of many, many items that you just can't serve.

MARTIN: And so let's just talk about home cooks now because I've just noticed that in the last couple of years, TikTok has really taken off as a platform for cooking. There are lots of recipes, and then there are fun food trends. Like, my personal favorites are like the extremes - right? - where there's the guy who films his grandma, you know, cooking her traditional recipes. And she's so cute. And I just love watching her do her thing. And on the other end of the extreme, there are these incredibly elaborate creations that, you know, I just - I'm just in awe. But frankly, I'm just enjoying this as a spectator. I'm not going to cook any of these things.

MUSIC: Same. And I'm a food creator, and I'm, like, nowhere near making anything for TikTok. I just like to consume on TikTok. But you're going to eat something - you're going to cook something that started on TikTok.

MARTIN: I was going to ask you about that. Is that, in fact, affecting or influencing the things people want to cook?

MUSIC: Oh, yeah. I mean, I don't know if you got through the year without seeing or making the baked feta pasta that was the feta and pasta and tomatoes, and you just put the whole thing together and put it in the oven. That was huge. Nature's cereal was huge. You don't even have to be on TikTok, but you will end up seeing this in one of your other social media feeds, and you're going to make something that started as a TikTok trend.

MARTIN: How do we know this? I mean, is it a thing where, like, back in the day if - forgive me - if Martha Stewart made a certain thing and then the next thing, you'd go to the store and all the candied violets would be out? I mean...

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: ...How do we know - OK, like - am I dating myself? But how do you - how do we know this? Is it just because it's - you're just seeing it show up in so many feeds, you figure that's what people are doing or...

MUSIC: Yeah. You're going to see it explode everywhere. And with TikTok, just like the dances, one person does it, and then it will inspire a bunch of other people to recreate it in their own way. And then it proliferates hugely. And the baked feta thing, there was no feta. And it wasn't just in the U.S. It was like in Norway, there was no feta on the shelves. So everybody was making this dish, and it actually was, like, pretty good.

MARTIN: So before we let you go, perhaps there are people who didn't, for whatever reason, get into the cooking at home and they're still intimidated. Are there one or two trends or techniques that you would recommend for a novice?

MUSIC: I would actually tell those people to support their local restaurants. Restaurants had a really tough go of it. They're still having to reinvent themselves. And if you're going to order in, give out big tips in cash. And if you do want to start cooking at home, there is now a million different home delivery grocery services. So if you feel like you've got the cooking bug, it's really easy to get those groceries.

MARTIN: All right. You know I'm going to put you on the spot. What's for dinner tonight?

MUSIC: Oh, great question. Well, it's Sunday, so every Sunday I make pasta fagioli for my family. And it's a recipe from my first book, but I never - I never even look at the recipe anymore. And it's never the same, but it's always good. And if I don't make it, I get in trouble with the fam.

MARTIN: Tell me more about it. What is it? I thought you were going to say...

MUSIC: (Laughter) It's pasta fagioli.

MARTIN: For some reason, I just knew it was going to be a chicken. You totally threw me for a loop there.

MUSIC: Pasta fagioli is an Italian - very simple homestyle dish. It's essentially beans in a delicious broth. I put a lot of kale in mine. And at the end you put in little pasta shapes - orecchiette or ditalini - and serve that with crusty bread and cheese grated over and a little drizzle of olive oil.

MARTIN: That sounds so good, which, remarkably, is the title of your latest book. That was Carla Lalli Music. Carla Lalli Music, thank you so much for joining us.

MUSIC: My pleasure.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.