Recently, I attended "Innovations '87," a biannual two-day marathon focusing on current and future food trends.
Everybody in the food world seemed to have something to say about the way this nation will eat by the mid-1990. But, speaking for myself (an avowed old curmudgeon who still likes yesterday better than tomorrow) all the trends I noted moving in affected me precisely as I would to a dentist's pronouncement that my molars were moving out.
According to the conference participants, here are some trends one can expect soon.
--Upscale restaurant food served from the pouch-type plastic bags in which they were frozen.
--More takeout food for dinner every night of the week at home with computerized delivery guaranteed in 30 minutes or less. Banquets take longer.
--Heat and cold-sensitive packaging for supermarket foods that will turn a dish piping hot or charitably chilled in seconds at the flick of a tab.
--Fast-food franchises in every supermarket and retail store in America. Tomorrow's shoppers will buy on the one hand, eat on the other.
--Less actual cooking. More microwave wizardry and computerized culinarians; robots that will be programmed for every great cuisine of the world.
--More fruit and fiber, less meat and potatoes in the diet.
--Grilling everything that flies, stampedes or grows in the garden--usually with fruit-based sauces that will add a little sweet to all the sour your stomach is feeling after a few of the aforementioned trends.
I must confess I took some comfort in the last named innovation because my old cooking buddy, Phillip Stephen Shulz, author of "Cooking With Fire and Smoke" (Simon & Schuster: 1986, $17.95) was at the grill the night before the actual seminar, mixing up some tonic fruited concoctions that he devised for the occasion.
In the following devise, Schulz uses guava fruit drink combined with honey, apricots, oil and spices to gild a succulent cut of pork.
PHILLIP STEPHEN SCHULZ'S MAUNA LAI PORK TENDERLOIN
1/3 cup dried apricots
1 1/2 cups bottled guava fruit drink
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup tarragon wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 cup catsup
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloins
Combine apricots with guava fruit drink in small saucepan. Heat to boiling then reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.
Place apricots with liquid in food processor container. Process until smooth. Transfer to medium saucepan. Add shallot, 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, catsup, oregano, salt and pepper. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat. Cool.
Coat tenderloins with sweet and sour sauce. Let stand, covered, 3 hours.
If using presoaked wood chips or chunks (chips for gas) on grill, sprinkle over hot coals or lava rocks. Brush grid lightly with oil.
Sear tenderloins over medium-hot heat 2 minutes per side. Then cook, covered, with vents open over medium-hot heat, basting every 5 minutes with sauce, 15 minutes. Turn tenderloins over and continue to cook, covered, until done, about 10 minutes longer or until meat thermometer registers 170 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes before carving. Serve with remaining sauce, reheated. Makes 6 servings.
The mango sauce, made ready in a blender at the flick of a wrist, is the secret of this tangy kabob. Pass extra sauce on the side.
PHILLIP STEPHEN SCHULZ'S MANGO-TINGED SCALLOPS AND SHRIMP ON STICK
1 large ripe mango
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lime, about
Salt, freshly ground pepper
3/4 pound sea scallops
1/2 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
24 Chinese pea pods
Peel mango and cut away flesh from core. Place mango flesh in blender container. Add olive oil and lime juice. Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Add more lime juice if too sweet. Sauce should be tart.)
In medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup mango sauce with scallops. In separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup mango sauce with shrimp. Let both stand 1 hour.
Cook Chinese pea pods in boiling salted water 30 seconds. Rinse under cold running water; drain.
Place scallops, alternating with shrimp and Chinese peas, on 4 skewers.
If using presoaked wood chips, sprinkle over hot coals or lava rocks. Brush grid lightly with vegetable oil.
Grill kebabs over hot or high heat 4 minutes per side. Serve with extra mango sauce on side. Makes 4 servings.