From quick shortcuts to slow cookers, how we're eating now

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This image shows a recipe for chicken ramen noodle soup. More people are cooking at home these days, and when they do eat restaurant food, theyre often looking for comfort food, experts say. Other trends include simpler recipes, recipes with fewer ingredients, one-pot meals, sheet-pan meals, finger food and pantry-ingredient recipes, all up significantly year over year. (Cheyenne M. Cohen/Katie Workman via AP)

In normal times, food trends often started in restaurants, with top chefs. Maybe they got written up in food magazines or blogs. After some time, you could find the trending ingredients on grocery store shelves.

These days, the pandemic is determining how and what we eat, from quick shortcuts to slow cookers. There's lots more home cooking, and many more family meals.

Even when people do eat restaurant food, they’re often looking for familiar dishes, experts say.

In general, “the trend is looking backwards rather than forwards," says Esmee Williams, who looks at where home cooking is heading for Allrecipes.com, based in Seattle. Recipes from the 1960s and ’70s like chicken Kiev, chicken a la king, cheese fondue and salmon patties have become more popular, she says.

“There’s a lot of disappointment happening in our days, so nobody wants tears at the table. Let’s treat ourselves to something we all will like,” says Williams.

It’s part of a nostalgia wave sweeping many industries, including decor, fashion and beauty.

BACK TO BASICS

A year ago, Williams says, many foodies were aspirational in their diets. Less so now.