I remember the moment well. Partially because I was on my honeymoon, partially because it was one of the most pleasurable food experiences that I have ever had.
Greg and I were sitting in a small local restaurant in Thailand. We opted for the local dives off the beaten path, rather than the well-worn tourist favorites. With little Thai language in our repertoire (and very little English in our waiter’s vocabulary), we managed to successfully order from the menu without getting something that I just wouldn’t want to experience. It has been nearly 13 years, so I can’t remember everything we ordered, but what I do remember, is a bowl of Tom Yum Goong soup.
It is that bowl of soup that we often reminisce about. Its hot and sour flavor was delicious. It was so delicious, that despite our watery eyes and runny noses, we craved for spoonful after spoonful. We wanted to feel the pan – because it was a good pain.
I love spicy and flavorful foods, but I am not a fanatic like most Americans. Somehow the Sriracha craze got by me, as did several other food trends of the past few years – from bacon to kimchi. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy these flavors – let’s just say, we enjoy them in doses not on everything from breakfast to desserts.
At times I feel as if I’m in the minority. In a world where we have all been programmed to seek out the next crazy flavor trend or flavor combination, I’ve been quietly enjoying a variety of flavors, indulging in the trends from time to time.
For me (and my family), it is also about ensuring flavors work together. As I look to the 2015 food trends I see the move towards bitter flavors, honey and, a few off the wall (at least to me) flavor combinations such as butterscotch curry, bourbon caramel pistachio, a Cabernet espresso, or s’mores pancakes.
These see-saw food trends do nothing for my palate. I strive to seek out foods and recipes that provide me with a well-rounded selection of palate-pleasing flavors, as opposed to overpowering mono- or duo-toned flavor notes. Sure, I’m still going to keep a bottle of sriracha in my fridge for those times when I want to recreate my honeymoon in Thailand food experience, but for my every day, I find the spice of life is embracing flavors along the spectrum – some more subtle, but just as exciting on the tongue.