2021, the year without culinary frivolities

Wondering if we’ve already passed the peak of the fermentation hype, what the latest yogurt flavor will be and what we should order when the cafes open again to look a bit up to date, I put on my coffee grounds glasses (a black-rimmed model called ‘Li’) on. Trendwatching has always been a glorified form of speculation, but with a global pandemic it becomes even more difficult to predict the future. As food writer Kim Severson in late December wrote in The New York Times: “Those who engage in the dark art of culinary divination have never faced a more elusive landscape than 2021.”

They are there, the trend lists. So to answer the questions raised above: no, we are far from finished. Coffee. Hard kombucha (fermented lemonade with a tic). But the most predicted trend is that trends will be less trendy this year. To quote Severson again, 2021 won’t be the year of culinary frivolity like CBD-infused poké bowl donut ramen tacos. And this, dear readers, is all in all a positive side effect of that pleurisy virus, isn’t it?

Let me mention two more developments that really make me happy. The first is that, in line with an old Joni Mitchell wisdom (you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone) are re-evaluating the hospitality industry. The second is that the lockdowns have made us cook more. Whether it’s preparing a daily meal for the family, patiently growing a sourdough starter or canning fruit and vegetables from your own garden, we’ve rediscovered how meaningful and relaxing it is to spend time in the kitchen.

Sure, you and I already knew that. But still, good news. As far as I’m concerned, we can leave the rest of those trends for 2021 for what they are. Anyway, I’m not going to list them all here. You will automatically see a number of them pass by. Next week already, then we will make the jollof rice that I promised you in 2019. West African cuisine has been working hard for some time now, so it’s high time for that. And hey, you could also call today’s recipe quite trendy. Because damn it, there are vegetables in it. And vegetables become it according to The New York Times all the way this year.

Gnocchi with creamy kale (4 people)

300 g kale, chopped;
4 garlic cloves (unpeeled);
125 g mascarpone;
50 g Parmesan cheese, finely grated + extra for the table;
lemon juice;
1 kilo of gnocchi

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add generously salt, add the kale and garlic and cook for 6-8 minutes until al dente.

spade Remove the cabbage and garlic from the pan and drain. Remove the garlic cloves from their jackets. Puree cabbage and garlic together with the mascarpone and 50 grams of parmesan into a smooth sauce.

make season with lots of pepper and a little lemon juice. Pour the sauce into a large (snack) pan. Cook the gnocchi in the cooking water from the cabbage. Pour them into the sauce along with a splash of the cooking water. Heat through for a while.

Give add extra grated parmesan.