I’ve been reading about food trends. Now, if you’re like me, you don’t think of Wisconsin as being a particularly trendy place. What worked for us Wisconsinites yesterday, we go ahead and do again today. You can see this best in the ways we raise and prepare food. Our artisanal cheeses, meats, and beers have always been popular. But if we haven’t been boasting about them it’s because we here in this frigid northern clime don’t like jumping up and down calling attention to ourselves, unless of course we need to thaw our toes. Our state’s never had a reputation for fancy food, just food that tastes awesome.
So it made sense to read in Mary Bergin’s February article in Madison Magazine that Illinois chefs are supplying their restaurants with Wisconsin foods. The article focuses on the buy-local movement which I guess to Chicagoans means buying from Wisconsin. Because chefs are raving about the superiority of Wisconsin food, it’s now trendy to dine at upscale Chicago-area restaurants serving food from Wisconsin farms. But really, what’s the shocker? – that food picked yesterday tastes better than food picked two weeks ago in California? Perhaps the surprise is that people are willing to pay a little extra for better food. Mary’s article points out that urban Wisconsinites are increasingly fed up with eating old food trucked in from 1000 miles away. Membership is surging in Community Supported Agriculture groups through which Wisconsinites weekly buy large boxes of fresh produce directly from farmers.
But eating Wisconsin farm food is not a new trend. It’s more like something Wisconsinites always used to do and then stopped for a while. Most of the Wisconsin senior citizens I know grew up on farms. For them, eating farm food is old hat.
And it’s to these old farmers that younger Wisconsinites such as myself now turn when I want to participate in a new national food trend. You see, I also recently read a list predicting 2010’s trendiest foods. Wisconsin produces some of them, – such as the artisanal goat cheese and buffalo meat. But how can I eat the newly trendy tropical fruits such as coconut and pomegranates while also being trendy by buying local? What to do? Click on “Continue reading…” for my solution and a Wisconsin farm woman’s recipe for chocolate sauerkraut cake.