As Canada becomes both increasingly multicultural and urban, we're seeking out different foods in our everyday lives. In 2011, it was a combination of comfort foods, trendy treats and Delhi dishes.
"We saw a lot of ethnicized comfort foods this year -- comfort food that's travelled a bit," said Dana McCauley, food trends and innovation expert, who just appeared as a judge on the Food Network's Recipes to Riches. "It trickles in from the States where the recession just won't go away, so the comfort food won't go away there. It keeps food costs down and feeds into consumer interests of being comforted."
SEE: The top Canadian recipe searches of 2011, according to Google. Story continues below.
According to many experts, this year was the year of the pork, with pig-filled dishes found everywhere from your general pork chops to bacon-flavoured personal lubricant. But for Canadians, pork tenderloin was where it was at, hitting its peek in Google searches at the end of February.Recipes to try: Jerk Pork Tenderloin With Pineapple Salsa; Pork Tenderloin With Blueberry Chipotle Sauce; Lime-Marinated Pork Tenderloin With Chimichurri Sauce.
It may be closely associated with American Thanksgiving, but that didn't stop Canadians from giving pumpkin pie their best shot in 2011. With search results jumping hugely (and unsurprisingly) right around the beginning of October, this perpetual harvest fave can grace our table anytime.Recipes to try: Chocolate-Swirled Pumpkin Pie; Double-Layer Pumpkin Pie; Pumpkin Pie Bars.
Like spicy tuna rolls are to Japanese food, butter chicken is the gateway dish into the wonderful food of Indian cuisine. With Canada's Indian population going upwards of one million, it's no surprise that many were searching for butter chicken in January -- the sweet, hearty dish is perfect for cold winter nights.Recipes to try: Easy Butter Chicken, Slow Cooker Butter Chicken, or cheat a bit with President's Choice's Butter Chicken Casserole.
Things were looking a little healthier for Canadians towards the end of summer, when people started seeking out salads made with this grain-protein hybrid that makes a great, cool filler. Prepared like rice or couscous, almost anything can be added to quinoa to create a side dish, or even a main.Recipes to try: Quinoa And Smoked Tofu Salad; Toasted Quinoa Salad With Scallops & Snow Peas; Roasted Delicata Squash With Quinoa Salad.
We're going to guess that the influx in searches for cake pops can be attributed to two things: weddings and Starbucks. With numbers jumping at the end of October -- prime time for planning next year's summer weddings, don't you know? -- and coinciding with Starbucks' hoilday offerings, these round cakes on a stick are great for occasions big and small.Try this: Make your own cake pops; or try out Starbucks' kit, like we did!
We're not sure what inspired the Canadian interest in tzatziki at the end of July -- after all, it preceded the debt crisis in Greece by more than three months -- but it could have been how easy it is to bring the yogurt and cucumber dip to any backyard barbecue. Recipes to try: Zucchini-Potato Latkes With Tzatziki; Radish Tzatziki.
Just as school let out for the year, macaroni salad started getting searched more online. Coincidence? We think not. After all, who can resist this perfect lunch of pasta, cheese, and whatever other ingredients you choose to add? Not us. Try these recipes: Macaroni And Cheese Drums; Macaroni Salad Made Over; Macaroni And Cheese With A Crunchy Crust.
Originally a southern food baking favourite, you're able to find red velvet cupcakes just about everywhere these days. And guess which time of year they hit their stride? You know it -- Valentine's Day, when the red-hued batter is an easily themed treat.Recipes to try: Mini Red Velvet Cheesecakes; Red Velvet Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting.
Lisa Gnat, half of sister duo who wrote the Biteme Cookbook, is in total agreement. "I'm seeing a lot of people taking fancy dishes and bringing them down. What we've done with the prime rib roast from Metro is turn them into sandwiches with caramelized onions. It takes the stress out of it by having something reliable and convenient."
"Pulled pork parfaits, made by taking pork from Sunday and putting it together with something more extreme -- those were big," said McCauley. "I blame those Epic Meal Time guys."
On the sweet side, the BiteMe ladies point to red velvet as one product that's been making its way into everything imaginable. "The cakes, the ice cream from Metro ... I can't get my nose out of the tub," says Julie Albert, who works alongside her sister.
McCauley is pleased to see a resurgence in cookie exchanges this year, which she pins to the online world. "I think it's the bloggers who are doing a good job of bringing it back -- I've seen so many cookie swaps," she said. "My mom always made hermit cookies, and I updated them a few years ago: took out glossy cherries and used dried, sour cherries instead. That takes me back to putting milk and cookies out for Santa."
But what needs to go? According to Gnat, it's those cake pops Canadians searched for thousands of times online this year. "Honestly, I find them so dry," she explained. "The whoopies pies as well. But I really hope cupcakes don't go away. Those can stick around forever, as far as I'm concerned."