10 Food Trends I Want to See Die in 2013
So I really contemplated writing this post and wasn’t going to do it, but then I gave in to temptation (thanks for the Twitter encouragement – you guys know who you are). Then I contemplated actually posting the post, and who knows, maybe I’m still under the influence of the somewhat unexpectedly inspiring Lady GaGa concert over the weekend… but regardless I did it. This post is sparked by 11 Food Trends That Need To Die In 2013 by BuzzFeed.com.
As I mentioned in my Top 10 Vancouver Food Trends 2013, almost all “food trends” are just recycled ideas from the past with modern “twists”, so I’m not even keen on the “food trend” concept to begin with. Ironically, the term “food trend” could die too. Anyway I don’t want to offend anyone, but I also know I’m going to offend someone. My humour might be misinterpreted or not funny, but that’s okay.
This post is all in good fun… maybe more fun for me than you, unless you can’t wait to see these food trends die too. I don’t really want to see them “die”, but I wouldn’t mind seeing less of them… or I’ll settle for less hype around them too. Almost nothing was invented yesterday and most “trends” have been around for years if not centuries.
Just because it’s a “trend” it doesn’t mean it isn’t good either, but I just think these 10 food trends are overplayed and tiresome. They don’t affect me so I shouldn’t really care, but I do… well just enough to write this post. Everyone has an opinion and this is mine.
10 Food Trends I Want to See Die in 2013
Listed in no particular order.
Okay, I think I just heard a crowd boo me louder than the crowd who booed Beiber at the Grey Cup. But c’mon guys! It’s always been there! Enough with these “bacon gods” and “bacon making everything better”. Yes, bacon is good, but it doesn’t have to go on everything! Before you think I’m hating on bacon, I’m not (except for the poor quality cheap stuff).
I’m hating on how bacon has become the easy solution to make things taste better when they’re not good to begin with. Or when it’s added to things for no reason… like a perfectly good martini.
We upset the “bacon gods” long time ago by using them as sprinkles on cupcakes. Yes, I still like some bacon desserts, but let’s try something else now. I get it. Bacon! Yay! Okay, now let’s move on. How about crispy chicken skin? Or Peking duck skin? Or crispy prosciutto? Let’s think outside of the bacon box.
2. Comfort Food with a Twist
This one has been going for at least a few years. Nostalgic food. Everyone loves comfort food and so do I, but lobster mac ‘n cheese, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, and crab pot pie are becoming so predictable. Or did I make a mistake? Is it not lobster mac ‘n cheese anymore? Then let me guess, it’s truffle oil mac ‘n cheese. There is no longer a “twist” when everyone is doing the same thing and now I just miss good old fashioned comfort food.
Sometimes that $20 burger or $20 mac ‘n cheese tasted like $2 too. It is a free pass for us “adults” to order off the children’s menu without being judged. The food is disguised and because we make wages instead of allowances it comes with an adult price tag too… and now I am uncomfortable with comfort food.
By the way, truffle oil isn’t that exciting either – see my post here.
3. Communal Tables/Long Tables
Your hand crafted wooden table from that old oak tree is gorgeous, but maybe I don’t want to sit next to Cindy or Joe. And very likely they don’t want to sit next to me either. My photo taking, obsessive analysis of food and attempt to dissect its history can be annoying. Let’s give everyone some space. And who are we kidding? Nobody is socializing with the randoms around them… unless someone is taking his or her sweet time with the communal barrel aged hot sauce. “Hey, are you done with that?”
And when it’s benches instead of chairs I feel like I’m in an outdoor prison or high school cafeteria. I’ll also admit I am lazy. Having the centre seat at a very long table sucks.
4. Smoked Everything
I listed it in my Top 10 Food Trends for 2013 post and I’m already slightly tired of it. Do I still want a professional grade smoker for my home? Yes; but sometimes smoked ice cream isn’t necessarily.
Photo from Gizmodo
5. Poorly Executed Molecular Gastronomy
I know some of you wouldn’t mind seeing the whole molecular gastronomy thing die, but it might be because most of the time they are not being done right. Runny and watery foams, spheres that turn to gels instead of holding delicious juices, food that doesn’t taste like food, and sauces that are made into gels which should have stayed as sauces, the list goes on and on about why “molecular gastronomy” has gotten a bad reputation. However chefs who have practised the techniques and know how to do it properly, and use it with purpose, deserve some credit. It’s all about execution and just knowing what the heck you’re doing and more often than not it’s in the wrong hands.
6. Gluten Free
I think I just pissed off a lot of people… or had loaves of bread thrown at me. I understand if you are celiac or have a serious intolerance with gluten and I sympathize for you; but there is a large majority of people using it as an excuse to go on a diet without saying they are on a diet. If I was celiac I would be a bit insulted that my unfortunate and very serious disease was a trend some people were pretending to have. There are pros and cons to gluten free and it is sad some do not have the choice.
Yes, gluten does not have many nutritional benefits, but avoiding it means cutting out many foods that contain gluten with nutritional value. Also, you might be thinking you are cutting out carbs and losing that “wheat belly”, but quite often gluten free products have more fat and sugar and less fiber and iron than products containing gluten. Gluten free is not “bad”, but it sure welcomed big corporations to profit off you nicely. And how did gluten free labelling get approved before GMO labelling?!
For those of you who know this blog I should be one of the last to talk about this. I was the one who made Canadian Pie In-A-Jar on Food Network’s Recipe to Riches Season 1, but that was in 2011 (technically taped in 2010)! I didn’t invent the idea, but it worked and held everything together. Yes it’s cute, all vintage and environmentally friendly, and I know it would taste the same in a cup, jar, or bowl, but I actually miss seeing a good old bowl. Unless it is a gift, or filled with jam or actual preserves, or people are taking it to go, or it is from some roadside country farm in the South, the mason jar thing is not necessary and old news.
8. Beet & Goat Cheese Salad
It replaced the spinach and strawberry salad. This went from “trend” to a staple salad found on nearly every North American menu at any time of the year. I love beet and goat cheese salad, but it could use a makeover or some creativity. Are there no other cheeses that go with beets other than goat cheese? Are there no other nuts than walnuts? And are there no other vinaigrettes than balsamic or sherry in the winter and raspberry in the summer? I know some of you have changed up the nuts or are maybe using seeds, but still…
9. Salted Caramel/Burnt Caramel
*Yawn*. Salted caramel ended even before big coffee chains started making mochas out of it. I’m not saying it isn’t good, I’m just saying we can stop obsessing over it. A lot of caramel recipes have always used salt, but now it is just more of it and they are not afraid to advertise “salt” in the title. Now your sodium intake can balance out your sugar intake.
Instead of salted caramel or burnt caramel I’d just like to see a well made caramel that is actually caramelized and not just liquid sugar or made with cheap GMO corn syrup. Also accidentally burning the caramel and calling it “burnt caramel” doesn’t work.
Salted caramel is not creative or interesting anymore. What’s creative is finding other ways to bring salt/savoury factors to caramels besides using the obvious. Personally I think places like Theo’s Mirepoix Savory Caramels nails it. They are the future of the “salted caramel” and even their video gets me excited!
See my article about “The Obsession with Salted Caramel” which includes salt alternatives.
10. The Bad A** Chef
This isn’t a food trend, but a trend in the culinary scene. I like Bourdain, but I’m tired of the chefs aspiring to be celebrity chefs trying to be the next Bourdain… or David Chang or Joe Beef boys etc. Many chefs and “foodies” want to be Bourdain, but the truth is nobody is Bourdain except for Bourdain. Excessive swearing, giving the finger, hardcore drinking, chain smoking and the “I’m too cool for school” or “I know it all” attitude just makes you come off as an overly aggressive or cocky _____. It makes anyone doing it for no reason come off as one.
The following list will open a can of worms and they are much more controversial, but someone has to set them free… and I’m not first to say it.
- “The BEST food” and lists – I’ve done them… while cringing. There is no such thing because food is subjective, personal and relative to what you have tried. Se my full opinion here.
- “Food reviews” – unless you go to a restaurant over and over again and order every single thing on the menu every single time, is there such thing as a “review”? Most of us (including me) are just giving our personal restaurant experiences.
- Eating local – of course I want to support local businesses and I DO NOT want to see this “trend” die, but sometimes global ingredients/products taste better; and without export/import everyone would be cooking the same thing with no global influences.
- The word “natural” – which is just a buzz word now. It is green-washing in another form. The US Food and Drug Administration has not even developed a definition for the use of the term – see here.
- Eating organic – yes it is a good thing and I DO NOT want to see this “trend” die either. It’s great to be educated about organics, but it’s often hard to participate without the $$$ and it isn’t a movement easily accessible for all social classes.