Entice with Spice

The right spice can help you create authentic, flavor-forward, global-influenced menu items students can’t resist.

When you contemplate eating out with loved ones, what are your “go-to” foods? In my family, my daughter loves Italian, my husband craves Mediterranean, my daughter-in-law prefers Mexican, my 8-year-old granddaughter yells “Indian,” my son asks, “What about pizza?” and I throw my hands up in the air! With so many new ethnic restaurants popping up all over the country, aren’t we fortunate to have an abundance of diverse cuisine choices? Yep, global food flavors are here to stay, and they have been identified as one of the top three food trends, according to expert trend-trackers.

In my book, global foods are cuisines and dishes that originated in and/or are identified with another country. For example, growing up in India, I considered pizza, tacos and burgers as “global,” while here in the United States, cuisines from India, the Middle East, Japan and so on are likely to be thought of as global. The important thing is that over the past decade, the increasing diversity reflected in the U.S. population has been a significant driver in exposing our children to many flavor profiles, whether they are eating at home, at restaurants—and even at school.

While a culture’s comfort foods still dominate dining choices, there is clearly an interest and willingness to explore the new foods and flavors. If you look at trends in commercial foodservice, it’s clear that students are craving diverse menu options! And while there is an “Americanization” of many traditional Latin, Asian and Mediterranean favorites, basic principles of flavor authenticity still apply, else diners won’t “bite” at new menu opportunities...

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