Food Trends for 2013

Adrienne Freeman Originally Published January 10, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated January 8, 2013 at 2:10 p.m.
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Adrienne Freeman

Tender poached chicken perched atop crisp, curly kale over cannellini beans flavored with chorizo sausage bites and finished with smoked, sweet paprika combines several of the food trends expected to be hot in 2013.

Just as hemlines and fashion have a season, so does food. Fads go in and out, but the classics endure. Who can argue with perfectly fried chicken, medium-rare roast beef topped with tangy horseradish sauce or chocolate cake? Even the most cursory look at history proves that what is “old” will sometime be “new” again.

Established food experts such as Bon Appétit, the Food Network, Martha Stewart and Epicurious concur that several foods and trends are hot for 2013. Looking over the list, most have been around as long as our taste buds can remember, but either preparation techniques, seasonings or quality improved versions will move these foods to the forefront in the new year.


Smoke is being used to preserve and flavor ingredients all over the menu. Smoked salt and spices, nuts, fish, pork, beef — the possibilities are limitless.

And you don’t need a fire pit or a cord of wood or even to leave the comfort of your kitchen to try your hand at the trend. Stovetop smokers are readily available at all price points, and all you need is some wood chips and water to get started.


The infinitely flexible bird has come a long way. Agricultural science has given farmers ways to make chickens more tender, moist and flavorful than fryers of the past. Organic, free-range and grain-fed chickens are reputed to have a superior flavor. More importantly, with the sharp price increases in beef and pork, chicken is a less-expensive alternative.


The favorite movie snack is promoted from supporting status to star of the show with exotic spices and flavorings transforming the crunchy kernel. Barbecue, Parmesan and garlic, and wedding cake are just a few of the varieties you can expect at quickly expanding mall kiosks and gourmet stores alike. Expect to see a few carefully seasoned and artfully placed pieces on your plate in a restaurant as well.

Good-for-you greens

In 2012, you couldn’t open a magazine or catch a cooking program without seeing kale on the menu. The cruciferous curly leaf packs a punch on the nutritional scale, providing an excellent source of calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, manganese and copper. Kale will continue to be big, as will other members of the cabbage family, such as chard, turnip greens and mustard greens. Cook until just tender to get the maximum nutritional benefit and maintain the texture.

Teas used as a rub or marinade, as well as a beverage; homemade yogurt spinoffs from the Greek version’s popularity; artisan breads; and every manner of hot sauce creation are all expected to be a big part of our culinary curiosity in 2013.


Adapted from Nigella Bites, by Nigella Lawson


2 cups chicken broth

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached

1 cup kale, trimmed

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

6 ounces chorizo sausage (sliced, then chopped)

14 ounce cannellini beans (drained)

1 teaspoon smoked, sweet paprika


In a saucepan, bring the stock to a gentle boil, lower in the chicken portion and gently poach the chicken until all trace of pink has disappeared, approximately 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Tear the kale into bite-size or manageable pieces. Boil salted water for about 5 minutes (if it’s tough) and drain. Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the chopped chorizo sausage, then the drained cannellini. Heat everything through, adding moisture with a 1/4 cup or so of the chicken stock until the beans are as “soupy” as you want.

Transfer the beans and chorizo into two shallow bowls or lipped plates, arranging the kale on top, and top with poached chicken. Sprinkle the chicken breast with the paprika and serve.



2 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup popping-corn kernels

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon sweet, smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Combine spices in a small dish and set aside.

Heat oil in deep pot over medium-high heat. Add three kernels of corn and cover. When all three pop, add remaining corn and pop, shaking pan often. Remove from heat.

Pour melted butter over the popcorn slowly, shaking the bowl. Sprinkle paprika mixture over popcorn and toss to coat.

Serve at once.