Do your dinner plans include meatballs? According to the Boston Globe, the meatball is the latest “comfort food” making a comeback these days. In fact, ever since Bon Apetit magazine named them “Dish of the Year” in 2009, meatball sales have exploded. In the past year alone, North American grocery stores have sold over a billion meatballs.
Douglas Atamian is CEO of Home Market Foods, a company that supplies frozen meatballs to discount stores like Wal-Mart and BJ’s Wholesale Club. He says these days, working families don’t have time to cook full meals at home. Yet thanks to the recent recession, most people want a home-cooked meal that’s cheap and easy to prepare. So meatballs offer the perfect solution. After all, homemade meatballs can be crafted by hand and cooked in minutes. Just about everyone seems to have a favorite recipe for meatballs. In fact, food experts say meatballs were the original leftovers, because in early Roman cultures, people would roll bits of leftover meat with grains, nuts or fruits to help make it last longer.
Also know this: Today’s meatballs aren’t just a topping for spaghetti. Many restaurant chefs now offer gourmet meatballs that you can eat as a stand-alone appetizer. For example: One of the hottest food trends these days is for chefs to flatten meatballs, grill them between two buns, and offer them as “sliders.” In other words, we may be in the middle of a meatball renaissance. As one food expert put it: At a time when many people are losing trust in banks, politicians, and big business, we need comfort foods we can rely on. According to this report, a growing number of us trust meatballs!