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Time's Food Trends of 2011

Foraging, pre-prohibition drinks, and New Vegetarians.

Time magazine has released some really excellent Top 10 lists for 2011. These lists help you reminiscence about the amazing year, or make you glad that we're almost out of it. One of the most interesting lists out of the bunch is the one on Food Trends. Time's trends are not necessarily restaurant-based, as are many of the lists we see, but instead focus on food growth and importation processes. Let's take a look at some of Time's top Food Trends of 2011:   

All-American Imports. In decades past, the thing to do in the culinary world was to import exotic wares from other places: olive oil from Italy, cheese from France, meats from Turkey. Now, the thing to do is produce goods in the United States and then use them in American restaurants. Certainly, locally-sourced food --the more local, the more desirable--is hot right now, but hopefully the interest in local food and produce is sustainable, and not a flash in the pan.

The New Vegetarians. Not long ago, vegetarians were relegated to side dishes made into main courses or a salad cobbled together from leftover ingredients. Not so anymore. Vegetarians are treated to fresh produce, vegetarian tasting menus and chefs that don't require proteins to be the center of the plates' attention. Even non-vegetarians are reaping the benefits of chefs who know how to cook veggies better than they do meats.

Pre-Prohibition Drinks. Pre-Prohibition drinks are everywhere from craft cocktail bars to super-trendy restaurants or even old-school dive bars. Gin fizzes, St.Germain-infused martinis, Rob Roys and Sazeracs. It's a fun trend with seriously old-school fedora hats and striped vests, vampy mood lighting and bites to match.

The Rise of the Gastrocrats. For the old elite (you know, the 1%), fine steaks and fine wine were good enough. Now, simple foodie trends aren't enough for the super rich, they have to indulge in hugely expensive, multiple course dining experiences. Time cites Chicago's Alinea restaurant as one of the dining experiences with a manifesto--and a price tag that exceeds $200 per person.

Foraging. Foraging is an interesting trend that completely invigorates the idea of farm to table produce--in foraging, its forest to table and their no farmer middleman between the chef and the diner. Chefs forage for fresh produce like mushrooms, wild greens and--for some northwest chefs in particular--sea foods.

What were some trends you didn't see on Time's list?