In the mid-1990s, I had the opportunity to visit America for the first time and spent a whole year there. The experience of being in a completely different world was overwhelming. Everything seemed so much larger, from the houses to the streets, and even the spaciousness of my host family’s home was astounding. The topic of food was a big one, with a lot of emphasis on presentation and staging, whether it was in a diner or a posh steakhouse. Food became an experience in itself, and I ended up gaining 25 extra kilos from eating so much.
The food culture in America was different from what I was used to. Everything had to be low cal, low carb, or fat-free, and even yogurt couldn’t just be yogurt. Food was ordered with extra cheese or special crusts, and take-away packaging was everywhere. The service and attentiveness of the staff at restaurants was something I had never experienced before.
I noticed a similar trend developing in my own country. Eating out, picking up food, and having it delivered became the new normal, and it was reflected in people’s spending habits. Restaurants that wanted to thrive in this new environment had to offer more than just a standard menu and provide the food, social atmosphere, and experience that the digital community desired.
The impact of this cultural shift was evident in the food and business articles that were popping up online. It seemed that the way we thought about and interacted with food was changing, and it was clear that this shift was not limited to just one country. Whether it was in America or my own country, the way we approach and consume food was evolving, and it was fascinating to witness and be a part of.