As we get into the spring season here in the Pacific Northwest, the options for New American dishes explode! Spring greens and mushrooms are being harvested in full force, bringing some unique flavor profiles to create some amazing combinations.
With so much produce to incorporate into our menu each evening, it’s easy to remember the farm-to-table aspect of the origins of New American cuisine. The local sourcing of these ingredients was such an integral part of how this versatile genre developed.
After World War II, we started growing mostly conventional crops to feed as many people as possible. Many technological advances were made to exponentially increase production, such as mechanization, fertilization, and the widespread use of pesticides. Not only did we lose quality and introduce chemicals that would later hurt us, we lost so much variety, because we stopped producing the stuff that wasn’t easy to grow in mass quantities.
In the 1950s, we hardly had any sushi, pho, Ethiopian or even Spanish tapas. Ethnic cuisines that are commonplace today, such as Chinese and Mexican food, were almost unheard of and untasted by the general population. However, we had a lot of people coming to the U.S. who wanted a taste of home. Restaurants started popping up to feed their communities, and then in the 80s, new generations began venturing out and trying new things with what was called ‘fusion’. So many new flavor profiles and techniques were established, leading to the eventual distinction of New American cuisine.
Meanwhile, people started looking for the best products to enhance the quality of our cuisine. Chefs at the time noticed that the best products were the ones that got from the ground to the plate as quickly as possible. They began preparing creative dishes with locally-sourced ingredients, using inspiration from around the world – the heart of New American cuisine.
Today, New American cuisine not only revitalizes food from the old days, but creates new flavors and combinations. And it’s still evolving! During the bountiful spring season, we see this every day, with so many fresh ingredients to be used in unique ways. When you visit LloydMartin this time of year, you’ll find something exciting and innovative with New American cuisine pretty much each and every night.