Mid-Year Food Trends 2021

25 Jun

As we transition from this site to my new website blog, I encourage you to sign up for the new Living Cookbook and weekly blog at www.rozannegold.com

Happy Summer!  It is mid-way to the year-end food trends report joyfully undertaken by our company, Baum + Whiteman — a restaurant consulting group dedicated to the creation of immersive food and restaurant projects all over the world. We are excited about the most recent good news! Restaurant sales last month beat all records, besting their previous high recorded in January 2020, just before the Covid pandemic exploded.

With summer travel expected to soar, restaurant sales will continue their upward trend – particularly as vaccinated Americans feel safe about returning to indoor dining.  This surge in restaurant spending seems to accompany a down-trend in retail sales.  That’s probably because consumers have used all the money that the government’s been sending out to purchase almost everything they’ve wanted.  So they’re now redirecting those dollars toward pleasurable pursuits.

However, it’s not all roses.  Next time you visit your favorite restaurant, you’re likely to encounter some startling price rises, and there are three reasons for this.  First, restaurateurs need to replenish their cash reserves after losing about $280 billion since the pandemic’s onset.  Second, shortages of practically everything – from paper cups to chicken wings – are triggering higher prices for restaurant supplies.  And, most important of all, there’s an extreme shortage of labor.  This also suggests that along with higher menu prices, you’re likely in many places to endure disjointed service. (The flip side to that is those who are working seem especially kind and grateful.)

Low wages, tough working conditions and this year’s focus on “worker equity” all have prompted about one-third of restaurant employees to move to different industries – or to move from big cities to places where living is easier and cheaper.  And this labor shortage is occurring as thousands of restaurants are reopening, adding to demands for labor while putting upward pressure on simple hamburgers, lofty rib steaks, or decadent desserts. Value meals, in fact, are disappearing at fast food locations. 

No matter.  The big news is that it’s great to have our restaurants back!

Here are five trendlets for the summer:

— Boozed-up seltzer, with or without added flavorings.  Most contain about 5% alcohol but they vary up to about 12%, which is the same jolt you’d get from a glass of wine.  They’re for people who are drinking “lighter.”  Keto-maniacs like them.  And they offer cheap thrills.

— Tajin.  The perfect summer spice mix from Mexico.  You can make your own simple version.  Or buy jars that contain ground mild chilies, dehydrated lime and sea salt. Dip the rim of your Bloody Mary glass in the mix, or sprinkle the stuff on scrambled eggs, roast chicken or, as they do on New York City streets, dip slices of mango in it.  

— Calabrian chilis packed in oil.  During Covid, house-bound consumers began cooking again, and searching for “interesting” ingredients.  This one, driven by social media, is pretty hot but with lots of flavor.  They’ve gone from esoteric to mass-market in no time – from gourmet shop shelves to Trader Joe’s and Target.

–Upmarket “new Chinese American” takeout. We’re thrilled about the recent New York Times article (6/21/21), “More than Just Take Out” by Cathy Erway, featuring our friends at the growing fast-casual chain NICE DAY by Junzi.

–Devoted watching of “High on the Hog” – a Netflix docu-series illuminating how African- American cooking transformed America (based on the book by Dr. Jessica Harris).

–The global tofu market is soaring and will continue until 2027.  

Buzzwords and favorite bites:

Sake on tap (and sake bars); pistachio-filled croissants at Carissa (in East Hampton); salmorejo (a silky gazpacho-like puree, the color of lipstick – my version is made only with bread, olive oil, ripe tomatoes, garlic and a splash of sherry vinegar); vegetarian Reuben sandwiches made with roasted beets, truffle-infused hot sauce (by Truff); sunflower butter; tonburi, and Friendly’s Forbidden Chocolate ice cream (not kidding).

Will Write For Food

14 Jun

Will Write for Food. Was there ever a better book title to pique your curiosity?

Dianne Jacob, journalist, author, and writing coach, said during our recent chat (she in her beautiful home in Oakland Hills, California, and me sitting in a big comfy chair in my Brooklyn dining room), that the original title of her book was “How to Write about Food.” But “Will Write for Food” engages all the senses, going way beyond didactics, almost begging the reader to explore hidden desires and latent hungers – because, after all, who doesn’t want to scribble about edibles?

Lesson #1.  A provocative title is a good start. But it is the subtitle to Jacob’s fourth edition: “Pursue Your Passion and Bring Home the Dough Writing Recipes, Cookbooks, Blogs, and more,” that says it all. 

I wish this book existed in the mid-1970s when I got started in this business – first, as a chef, and then as a food writer.  I’d have had all the tools I needed and the confidence a new writer longs for. Yet, even now (13 cookbooks and 600 articles later), Dianne’s fourth update still reveals professional secrets to me and I can’t recommend it highly enough.  Each edition is a sociological map of the culinary landscape harkening back to 2005 when the first “Will Write for Food” was published — well before the riotous world of blogging began. The second edition published in 2010 was early to food writing’s more entrepreneurial vibe, while the 3rd edition, published in 2015, inched away from gastronomy’s Eurocentric point of view.  Now Jacob’s newest edition embraces roiling diversity and the artful virtue of “voice.” Not necessarily “storytelling,” according to Dianne, but the development of personality on the page. 

What’s most different today, she observes, is that “to be a food writer also means to be a business person.”  So while Jacob stirs in ample amounts of editorial prowess about how to structure a story, do an interview, or invent a good lede, she serves up multitudinous interviews and real-life experiences shared by the food writers who are joyfully, and successfully, singing for their supper. “I love unearthing this information and talking to really smart people about it. I love the learning.  The people who want to write want to learn,” she said.

In this newest edition, Dianne demystifies the process to make it possible for anyone (imagine!) to write about food.  “And,” she says with great earnest, “there is now money in it. A website with ads and high traffic can bring in a six-figure income.”  

“Is anything being lost?” I innocently asked, “in this bulging-influencer-foodie-zeitgeist?” “The writing is suffering,” she replied. “Those who are interested in business are not necessarily focused on the writing.”

Dianne, for whom writing is paramount, comes armed with two degrees in journalism and decades of positions as an editor-in-chief and senior editor at a handful of publications, in addition to being the restaurant reviewer for the San Francisco Weekly (where she misheard   be “edgy” as be “bitchy,” and so a riveting style ensued.)

More riveting still may be Dianne’s childhood table: laden with Bombay-Baghdadi food, Japanese food, Iraqi Jewish food, and Chinese food. Curious? Her parents, Orthodox Iraqi Jews who lived in China, were obsessed with food, and cooking became a metaphor for identity. Her book is dedicated to them: “For my parents who cooked to remember who they were.”    

I especially loved hearing about a beloved family dish that was prepared for the Sabbath: Hamin, a multi-layered complex recipe of rice-stuffed chicken with more rice and spices and boiled eggs, gets baked overnight, and then served with radishes and green onion.  But that’s another story for another time.

For now, you may enjoy as a special treat, one of Dianne’s personal favorites – about comfort food and memory (https://www.diannej.com/MediaFiles/MumsComfortFood.pdf), or you can simply devour Will Write for Food, 4th edition, 2021.


Rozanne Gold’s Smashing New Website

7 Jun

Radically Simple Recipes: A Surprise Review

19 Feb

Just the other night I came home to an email from a friend/colleague (she’s an end-of-life doula and therapist) which stated: “Yesterday we made Almost Confit, the dark and brooding Onion Soup, and Olive Oil Biscuits. Three meals, no waiting. We love the cookbook and wanted you to know.  –Abby”

That cookbook is Radically Simple, named by Cooking Light as one of the 100 most important cookbooks of the last twenty-five years. “Almost Confit” refers to a super-succulent chicken dish that almost makes itself; “dark and brooding” is a reference to my Onion Soup with Apple Cider & Thyme, and the olive oil biscuits are exactly that. They take 2 minutes to prepare and 14 minutes to bake, so you can make them while your soup is simmering.

This morning I decided to look up Radically Simple on Amazon (something I rarely do) and found a wonderful surprise! A book review written on January 1, 2021, more than eleven years after the book was published! What I respected most about this particular review was the reviewer’s skepticism: Would the book and the recipes reflect the way we eat now?, she pondered.  I love what followed…

I was recently alerted to this cookbook. It was published in 2010, so I thought it might not reflect the way we eat now, but I was proved wrong. The author, Rozanne Gold was clearly way ahead of her time when she wrote this. The intensity of flavors in the dishes she creates is as fresh and new as any by Melissa Clark or Alison Roman. If you like those two chefs’ ways of cooking, you will very likely love Rozanne Gold. The ingredients – primarily, spices like za’atar, sumac, and such – that were probably much more difficult to find when the book was originally published, are largely available in many regular supermarkets now.

The first thing was trying to choose which of the delicious-sounding recipes to make. They are all easy and fairly quick to make, and so far have been crazy delicious. And although this is a general cookbook, I have found that most of the recipes fit well into my grainless lifestyle.

I started with the
~ Reddened Steak with Pimiento Cheese. It was so easy. Both the steak and the pimiento cheese sauce were independently outstanding, but together, they were sublime. I recommended this to a friend who made it over the holidays and received raves from her family.

Next, I made the
~ A Radically Simple Chicken Parmesan. It has no breading and was too easy to be as delicious as it was. It was the best thing I’ve made on a sheet pan in a while. My husband asked for it again two days after first trying it.
~ The “Little Black Dress” Chocolate Cake was a 4-ingredient, flourless chocolate delight. Super easy yet special enough for New Year’s Eve dessert. It was like eating a wedge of chocolate ganache truffles. The suggested fresh raspberry accompaniment was the icing on top… without being icing! As a dessert for company, it will be hard to beat.

I have another chicken dish planned for tonight – one with prosciutto, tomatoes and white wine. And a Pork Loin in Cream with Tomatoes, Sage and Gin for Sunday. Or maybe Lamb Shoulder with Figs, Lemon, and Chartreuse. Or perhaps the Miso Chicken with Fresh Chicken.
Are you with me yet? The Seafood Dishes and Salads all look amazing as well. Very highly recommended.

If you don’t have the book and want any of the recipes, just let me know (rozannegold@mindspring.com) and I will email them to you. The book is slowly going out of print but will thankfully be republished by Lemur Press. This may be the perfect time for something radically simple in your life. 

Warmest regards, rg.

The Unofficial Spokesperson of Israeli Food

11 Dec

It’s not every day that you’re called a food prophetess but here it is! With enormous thanks to the beautiful food writer Leah Koenig for diving into the genesis of modern Israeli cuisine, which happens to be my story as well — as a young “gastronomad” scouring the world looking for good things to eat. My first trip to Israel was in 1980, when I truly believed that Israel’s food scene was the “greatest story never told.” Look what happened! Forever grateful to chef Shalom Kadosh (Israel’s Paul Bocuse), to Aliza Begin, and to Yehiel Kadishai (PM Begin’s Chief-of-Staff) whom I met at Gracie Mansion (when I was Mayor Koch’s chef) and whose friendship would inspire me for decades to follow. Leah Koenig (author of many wonderful cookbooks, including Modern Jewish Cooking and recently The Jewish Cookbook) brings her own special charm to the telling of this tale.

This Week on One Woman Kitchen: Ruth Reichl

1 May

94572135_2841260125928133_63092060260925440_nI am thrilled to have Ruth Reichl as this week’s guest on One Woman Kitchen. Ruth agreed to be our first “remote” guest to talk about her remarkable career, her books, her beginnings as a cook in a Berkeley collective in the 1970’s, her days as a food writer, restaurant critic and editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine — and all from her desk at home. There are few people in the food world who have been game-changers in the way that Ruth has. She is a thought-leader and food advocate, but ultimately she is a storyteller who cares as deeply about the people who grow our food as the people who cook it. Currently Ruth is involved in an important new project documenting the changing nature of our food supply during this challenging time. Why not listen as you cook one of Ruth’s recipes? She has so many to choose from. No matter, you won’t want to miss this most inspiring story. 

Ruth is so open and generous and would be happy for you to find her on Instagram (@ruth.reichl) and on Twitter (@ruthreichl). Her cookbooks and memoirs are also a source of great inspiration these days.

Below is Ruth’s legacy recipe, Pork and Tomatillo Stew


2 pounds pork shoulder, butt, or loin
1 pound tomatillos
1 pound Roma tomatoes (coarsely chopped)
1 bottle dark beer
6–8 juice oranges (to make 1½ cups of fresh juice)
1 bunch cilantro (chopped)
2 jalapeños (minced)
1 lime

1 head garlic
vegetable oil
2 large onions (chopped)
1 can black beans
white rice
sour cream

Serves 6

Begin by cutting the pork shoulder, butt, or loin into 2-inch cubes. Sprinkle them with salt.

Remove the husks from the tomatillos, wash the sticky surface off, and quarter them. Put them into a pot with the tomatoes, the dark beer, and 1½ cups of fresh orange juice. Let that stew for half an hour or so, until everything has become tender.

Brown the pork in a casserole, along with 8 to 10 whole cloves of peeled garlic, in a few tablespoons of grapeseed or canola oil. You’ll probably need to do this in batches, removing the pork as it browns.

Put the onions into the now empty casserole, along with the cilantro and jalapeños. Add salt and pepper to taste, and be sure to scrape the bottom, stirring in the delicious brown bits.

When the onions are translucent (about 10 minutes), put the tomatillo mixture along with the pork and garlic back into the casserole, turn the heat to low, partially cover, and cook very slowly for about 2 hours.

Squish the garlic cloves into the stew with the back of a spoon, add a cup or so of cooked black beans (or a can of drained beans), and cook for 10 more minutes.

Serve over white rice.

Stir the juice of a lime into a cup of sour cream and serve as a garnish.

Books to Love: HUMMUS (Magica, 2019)

29 Mar

It’s been hard to focus.  Yet the spaciousness created during this unprecedented time allows us to control, analyze, and make adjustments to the rhythm and meaning of our days. It took me a week to calm down enough to welcome time for reading.   And what did I read? HUMMUS, written by three colleagues: Dan Alexander, Orly Peli-Bronshtein Ariel Rosenthal. What might have begun as a cookbook project morphed into a triumphant work of non-fiction, with the Biblical chickpea, as its protagonist.  But there are as many important characters in this enormous undertaking as there are characters in a Dostoevsky novel. While HUMMUS may sound like the title of a recipe, here it summons a way of life whose subtitle tells a bigger story: “on the hummus route: a journey between cities, people, and dreams.”

So here we go!  During this time of isolation and seclusion, we can take our imaginations on a trip and follow the borderless migration of a legume worshipped by cooks and poets alike.  To tell the story of the chickpea is to sing the story of mankind – with all its joys and hardships. From Cairo to Damascus, Gaza, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Acre, and Beirut, the chickpea has no country of its own – the very point the authors long to make.  It makes its home everywhere.

And so the book opens with an introduction by Dan Alexander…”a Palestinian, a Lebanese, and an Israeli walk into a bar…”  Not a joke exactly, but the first step of the journey that takes the reader back into history, to biblical roots, and agricultural routes (including a recipe that’s 1000 years old) – to the childhood memories of celebrated cooks (Claudia Roden), of superstar chefs (Sami Tamimi, Ariel Rosenthal), and of the men and women in both exotic and humble climes, who unabashedly, and unknowingly, share a common love.  While the authors explore nine locales or “hummus hubs” in the Middle East, there are no doubt hundreds of cities elsewhere in the world that could be added to their colorful, hand-drawn map. But the book is already 400 pages, and thousands of miles, long.

It is truly a cookbook as there are seventy mouthwatering recipes to enjoy (from Egyptian koshary, to Palestinian hummus with hot peppers, to hummus with buttered lamb from Aleppo). But it is also an art book, directed by Dan Alexander, one of the world’s most accomplished graphic designers with gorgeous images and personal stories of more than thirty contributors. Most of all, HUMMUS allows us to become vicarious travelers,  inspired cooks, and citizens of a larger community, one chickpea, and one page, at a time.

One Woman Kitchen: Allison Kave of Butter and Scotch – Queen of Baked Goods and Booze

3 Aug

67401798_2489937457736067_5220001117236101120_nAllison Kave is this week’s awesome guest on “One Woman Kitchen.” The co-owner of the trendy “Butter & Scotch” in Brooklyn, where cakes and cocktails happily coalesce, she is the author of “First Prize Pies” and co-author of the “Butter & Scotch Cookbook.” Once upon a time Allison may have been a successful gallerist and art historian, but now she’s happier than ever as social activist, community-builder, brilliant conversationalist, and hipster restaurateur. Get ready for the world’s best pie crust recipe and a kitchen tip of my own.

Listen here and subscribe!

Enter My One Woman Kitchen With This Week’s Guest Anita Lo

27 Jun

65157727_2228864083834410_1513340694637314048_nChef Anita Lo has been a beacon of mastery and modesty since I’ve known her. She is an extraordinary role model to so many in the food world. Whereas Anita’s beautiful Michelin-starred restaurant Annisa is greatly missed, we now get to marvel at Anita’s evolutionary tale — as author, mentor, and trailblazer of culinary travel adventures. She has so much to share and we have so much to learn from her. Hope you enjoy our conversation.

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast and follow me on Instagram @RozanneGold!

One Woman Kitchen: Naz Riahi, Founder & Creator of Bitten

6 Jun


I’m thrilled to share this interview with Naz Riahi: Writer, creative director, experience designer, and curator of the brilliant annual food and innovation event series “Bitten. ”  An indomitable spirit, Naz is the author of the upcoming memoir “Bad at Love” (2020), and considered one of the food world’s great connectors. She is very proud of her Iranian roots, food and all, and I learned a lot from her about all of it — including tadig.  Tune in to this week’s One Woman Kitchen. You won’t want to miss her story. Enjoy listening and be sure to subscribe.

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