The New York Times published “How Will Americans Eat Next Year” where Food Fad Forecasters prognosticated on trends for 2022. I wonder what it takes to be Food Fad Forecaster? Is it prescient ability to see the next great thing? Or wily observance of trends becoming mainstream? Maybe it’s ‘influencers’ priming the pump on trends they willfully make meme? In any case, the food forecast that caught my eye was the Flavor of the Year: Hibiscus.
Flavor of the Year
“Yuzu has its fans, but the even money is on hibiscus, which is adding its crimson hue and tart, earthy flavor to everything from cocktails and sodas to crudos and yogurt.”
Kim Severson, New York Times. December 28, 2021
It just so happens that I have a packet of dried hibiscus on my kitchen counter. NYT calls it hibiscus, I call it Jamaican sorrel and Mexicans call it flor de Jamaica. In Mexico it is steeped in hot water, sweetened with sugar and served cold as a refreshing agua fresca.
I grew up knowing sorrel as a drink which was heavily flavored with ginger, cloves and rum. Lots and lots of rum. My mother made gallons of it at Christmas and served it with slices of equally spiked Christmas cake. It was very sweet and very potent. Having zero tolerance for alcohol, sorrel was never my favorite drink.
Years later, I learned that there were non-alcoholic versions of sorrel.
In December while shopping at my Caribbean grocery store, I spied a packet and thought to give it a try.
It was not bad. Floral, tart and fruity, it reminded me of those Celestial teas that were so trendy in the ’80s.
No surprise that on further inspection, the popular Red Zinger tea is made from hibiscus, peppermint and citrus.
My random thought today is:
Am I a Food Fad Forecaster with prescient ability to pick the next great thing? or am I an old foodie who’s been around so long that I’ve tried every trend? One thing is for sure, I’m no ‘influencer’ picking the next meme. I’d have to install Tick Tok first … or at least, learn to spell it right.