2019 food trends: Celtuce, cheese tea, salad robots

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(CBS News) — Cheese tea, salad robots and celtuce. Welcome to 2019.

The New York Times’ Kim Severson predicts those things, along with low alcohol or no-alcohol drinks, and plant-based meat are some of the trends that could rule the culinary world this year. She joined “CBS This Morning” to break down some of the unusual things we’ll be eating – or at least seeing – this year.

Celtuce and hybrid lettuces

Thanks to two outbreaks of E.coli in romaine lettuce this year and the apparent overexposure of Little Gem lettuce, there’s room for a new star in the salad world. Severson is betting on celtuce, a Chinese lettuce known for its big stem and slightly bitter leaves but also said to keep your eye out for hybrids.

“So we had the health scare and people are now worried about romaine. That’s gotten a bad rap,” Severson said. “There’s a lot of vertical and urban farms that are growing hydroponic lettuces so chefs are customizing the exact kind of lettuce blends they want.”

Cheese tea

Cheese tea is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s green or black tea with a cheesy cap of foam – similar to cream cheese – that you sip the tea up through. It may not sound appetizing but Severson swears the popular Taiwanese drink isn’t bad.  

“I think that cheese tea’s biggest problem it doesn’t have a good PR agent. It needs a new name.”

Lighter drinks

Millennials are opting for drinks with more of a culinary twist either lighter or entirely free of alcohol.

“The idea of socializing and having cocktails that are more kind of culinary forward, so vinegars, shrubs, herbs, and instead of maybe gin, you would have prosecco as the alcohol or no alcohol at all,” Severson said. 

Salad robots

While a salad robot sounds like something that would just put people out of work, as Severson pointed out, if you’ve ever been stuck in an airport at midnight you’ll understand why this could come in handy.

“There’s no fresh food around, so this is a machine that has 10, 15 tubes, chilled tubes, that are restocked during the day and you press your order in an iPad, a bowl comes under and the vegetables, whatever’s in your salad, drops down with the dressing and you have a freshly made salad. Which, like I say, if you’ve ever been anywhere midnight and everything’s closed, it might work.”

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