Too many years ago, when I was learning about menu writing, seasons were a serious influence on the dishes chosen to make up the menu. Normally it was a quarterly issue and so Winter would herald great big soups (delicious and profitable), casseroles, braises – more deliciousness and profit.
Apart from the fact, our bodies need different foods for nutrition in the colder parts of the year, there is also the expectation from our customers to see these winter warmers on our menus. There can be no confusion about how our customers’ love of these flavour packed dishes that now days are increasingly mass-produced by food manufacturers and come already prepared to be reheated.
Where I live, in the sub-tropics, I guess I am surprised to see steamed puddings listed on menus in Summer when I would naturally expect to see them only as winter items. However, to me, seeing these profitable puddings on the menu is only an indication that the majority of customers would rarely see these Granny desserts at home. Steamed Caramel Pudding, Sticky Date pudding and self-saucing chocolate desserts, Bread and Butter Puddings and variations on that theme, are always popular and is really easy to prepare.
And that idea goes along with a lot of other slow cooked, flavour packed casserole-style dishes. Even with the advent of slow cookers at home, many people love to eat braised lamb shanks and other similar dishes in our eateries. Why not? They are scrumptious and always profitable for operators.
It is another lesson for us that if we give our customers what they want to eat, they will be satisfied, regardless of the season.