Professor/Chef Adria; Pancake preferers; Gluten-free intolerance; Pigeon pastrami; Kombucha boom

A compendium of food, dining and beverage trend information from the U.S. and the world

Reported by the Associated Press:

Acclaimed Spanish chef Ferran Adria who concocted treats such as ravioli made from squid and freeze-dried foie gras will teach an undergraduate course in culinary physics this fall at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The course willuse cooking to introduce students to soft matter physics, which involves the study of suspensions and gels.

Reported in Restaurants & Institutions:

R&I’s 2010 New Diner Study offers insights into customers’ habits and what they want from restaurants at breakfast. Breakfast sandwiches (52.5%) by far are the most popular food choice for weekday breakfasts at restaurants, in particular among Gen Y diners, blacks, Southerners, single diners and diners with children. Pancakes, preferred especially by matures, blacks and Hispanics, rank second at 30.9%. Muffins, doughnuts and other sweet baked goods are a top choice for only 15.9% of consumers.

Reported by foodnavigator-usa.com:

The mainstream adoption of gluten-free diets is a movement on the way out, according to trends forecaster Suzy Badaracco, president of Culinary Tides. Gluten-free foods have rapidly increased in popularity over the past few years – partly as a result of better diagnosis of celiac disease. However, there has also been a mass movement toward gluten-free products by those who have self-diagnosed wheat or gluten intolerance or who believe gluten-free to be a healthier way of eating. And the gluten-free market has boomed, with an average annual growth rate of 28 percent since 2004, according to market research organization Packaged Facts. However, Badaracco told FoodNavigator-USA.com that people who have tried adhering to a gluten-free diet for reasons other than celiac disease are drifting back to gluten-containing foods, and that this drift is likely to pick up pace. “This is a house of cards just waiting to fall,” she said. “It’s a medical diet, right? It’s hard to stick to.” As well as her trend forecasting business for the food industry, Badaracco is also a qualified dietitian, and she said that those who choose to avoid gluten-containing foods often end up with poorly balanced diets. However, wider availability of better, tastier gluten-free products could be one of the longer lasting consequences of the gluten-free movement, as food manufacturers have worked hard to formulate better quality products.

Reported by www.jamesbeard.org:

“Though it probably won’t catch on anytime soon at Carnegie Deli, pigeon pastrami might be one of the most interesting dishes we serve at the Beard House all year. ”

Reported by the New York Times:

Naomi Most, a devoted brewer of a fermented tea called kombucha, keeps her “big momma” in the garage. The big momma in question is a 20-pound pancake of gelatinous and, well, rather gross-looking bacteria and yeast floating atop a vat of kombucha, a drink that enthusiasts tout as a tonic for digestion, haor loss, and all manner of bodily ailments. It’s not for everyone. “I live with my boyfriend and he finds it really weird,” said Ms. Most, 30, a manager for a nonprofit group in Palo Alto, Calif. “He doesn’t like the smell.” Looks and aroma notwithstanding, kombucha is gaining popularity among those who favor organic beverages, and it is showing signs of turning into a gold mine for some companies. While the poor economy and worries about health and the environment have diminished the national thirst for soda and bottled water, sales of kombucha and other “functional” juices in the United States topped $295 million last year, up 25 percent over a two-year period, according to SPINS Inc., a market researcher.

(For an inside look at the booming American kombucha industry:  The Kombucha Report: http://www.teareport.com)

Listen to Radio Nibbles, John Lehndorff’s weekly food conversation and  commentary program,  at 8:25 a.m. Thursdays on KGNU – 885 FM, 1390 AM, and online at  www.KGNU.org.

Comments: lehndorffj@aol.com

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