What Exotic Things Will I Be Eating In 2046?

36 years ago, a local paper ran a seasonal puff piece about the holiday traditions in my maternal grandmother's home. In addition to discussing the German and Dutch traditions handed down from my great-grandparents, it offered an array of German recipes, a purloined "secret" cheesecake recipe the publication of which remains a scandal nearly four decades later, and an array of recipes that illustrate just how much our palates have changed in that time. One of my favorite signs of change:


Butter a flour tortilla and place in hot frying pan, buttered side down. Cover with grated Tillamook cheese, chopped Bermuda onion and a chopped pimento. Butter a second tortilla and lay on top of the other, butter side up. When brown, flip over and brown other side. Remove to a warm plate and cut in wedges with a pizza cutter.

I'm pretty sure somebody associated with this whole affair knew that was called a quesadilla, but deemed that term inappropriate for a family newspaper in Orange County, California in 1974. Also, I had not previously appreciated the role of the pimento in easing culture shock.

My youngest aunt — still in the home at the time — reports that guests in 1974 found the "Mexican Hors D'oeuvre" remarkably novel and exotic. Now, of course, my kids have been eating quesadillas their whole life — along with sushi, tikka masala, pad thai, and sole in black bean sauce. What will they be trying to get me to eat 36 years from now, and feeding their own kids?

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. says

    I read a book from 1988 with a paragraph explaining that a mouse is a sort of pointing device used with some computers. Now I think of Clay Shirky explaining how his four-year-old daughter knows that a monitor that ships without a mouse (television) ships broken.

  2. Old Geezer says

    Having spent the first 64 years of my life in California, I ate Mexican food before Taco Bell stumbled on the scene, Chinese food before Panda Express and The foods of many of our foreign-born neighbors. Having spent the last six years in Tennessee, I am still not used to encountering friends who have never tried any of the above. It depends upon where you live, but if I live to be a hundred I doubt many of my neighbors here will have tasted a quesadilla.

  3. says

    If I could get my boys to eat anything besides pizza (certain brands only), peanut butter (not jelly, though, hells no!) and boxed mac 'n' cheese I'd be doing cartwheels. I cannot actually do cartwheels, but I also do not expect to have to make good on that promise so it's moot. Sushi? Hahahaha!

  4. says

    Generally, I think you need to look at the immigration and demographic trends.

    I'm guessing there's going to be a more vegetarian food. Not necessarily tofu/TVP, but you're going to see more meatless foods, both for health/environmental reasons and because of increased immigration from cultures where that's normal.

    I'm surprised the boom of african immigrants in the twin cities hasn't led to more restaurants, but that's certainly a possibility.