Too Cool for School/Blame the Hipsters

August 11th, 2015
Catering for Home Events

Even though I’m not in A La Carte’s kitchen doing the cooking very often now, I work hard to keep us current on the latest dining trends. So when my friend Dennis sent the article below, I held my breath while reading it, thinking, “Please don’t let any of our menu favorites be on this list of clichés.” Especially since I was testing a batch of Pickled Mustard Seeds when he sent it.


While pickled something was on the list, it wasn’t mustard seeds, and I was relieved.

It’s funny to think of food as trendy, but it is. And while clients do want themed parties (I’m talking to you, ABP, about your rad 1980s blowout), there are foods and presentations we try to avoid. White chicken chili, anyone?

It’s like those What’s In/What’s Out lists that appear at the end of the year telling you which trends to embrace and which to avoid. Do you find yourself on rooting for things on both lists or disagreeing with the author? Because really, why would bacon ever be out of style?

More than a few years ago now, El Bulli took the food world by storm with molecular cuisine: foams, potions, sleight of hand, and a dish named Mentholated Pond (not kidding). The trend now has gone the opposite direction with being on a first name basis with your farmer and what day your beets were harvested. Do diners really care?

At the end of the day, your party’s food should taste great: it’s a reflection on YOU and why you’re hosting this event. So if you want to go trendy, or ironic, let’s do it – and make sure your food tastes wonderful!

And now for that recipe:

Pickled Mustard Seeds

  • 1 c. mustard seeds (we use half brown, half yellow)
  • 5 c. water
  • 5 c. cider vinegar
  • .5 c. brown sugar or .25 c. honey
  • 1 T salt

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and gently simmer for 45 minutes. Stir frequently. Add water if they start to dry out. Allow to cool, cover them and refrigerate. They’ll keep for months.

Use with cheese, on sandwiches, pork, beef, chicken, salmon, deviled eggs – anywhere a little mustard flavor and textural “pop” will work.