Food Fashion. What’s In (Our Mouths)?

“Remember when sushi was so popular? So what’s in now?”

My son was asking as we passed a former sushi restaurant turned deli, next to the old theater turned rug store.

Hard to say. Almost anything goes. We have endless food fusions and varieties – Chinese/Japanese, Italian/Afghan, French/Californian, Thai next door to Mexican, Hawaiian next door to Indian, ice cream and yogurt next door to cupcakes.

What’s in seems to be two extremes. On the one menu-held hand, we have farm-to-table and organic restaurants and juice bars. On the other, we have some new restaurants featuring old-fashioned comfort food, where the chefs like to show off their childhood and family favorites. If they’re from the South, they fix lots of fried chicken, catfish, mashed potatoes, biscuits and gravy. If they’re from New York or New Jersey, pastrami, liverwurst or submarine sandwiches, deep-dish, pepperoni pizza. If they’re from Kansas City or St. Louis, how about them ribs?

DiningWho doesn’t want to go back to childhood sometimes, especially before we worried about measuring our cholesterol or waistlines?

If we do stuff down too much fattening food, we can walk, drive or roll over to the other, lean end of the street. Self-righteously order a wheat grass and beet smoothie, or even better, a two or three-day juice cleanse! Get rid of all the toxins! I swear this obsession with being “toxic” is the New Age version of Original Sin. We can never be good enough and so have to accept (without any scientific proof) that 20 carrots and apples a day will absolve us.

Give me (or let me buy) fresh, whole foods any day! Yes, I like the idea of eating organic foods and enjoying farm-to-table cuisine, even if it does conjure up images of cows and chickens walking through the door. If this is the latest trend, I think it’s a good one, encouraging us to eat healthfully, cook creatively, and respect the environment and animal rights. I’m not a vegetarian myself (some fish and chicken), but admire those who are and aim in that direction. Most of us would live longer with less ailments if we ate fresh fruits and vegetables and less meat. Of course, there are no guarantees. We’ve all heard of or know the 45-year-old vegetarian marathon runner who drops dead of a heart attack or the 95-year old aunt who smokes cigars and drinks bourbon and eats steak every day.

As long as I can have my cupcakes occasionally and eat them too, I am happy – and so far lucky enough to be healthy.