Some inventions in life are better off being forgotten.
All things in life have cycles and the ebb and flow of popularity is a certainty. This holds true with food trends. We love that there is still innovation and excitement about creating something new in the 400 thousand years since humans started cooking their food. But let’s be real. Some food trends just stink. There are a few simple hacks behind a successful food trend. A good trend should have a purpose beyond shock value or just being a talking point. It should add to the dish in more ways than just aesthetics. It should be respectful of the culture and history of the dish. And of course, it should have universal accessibility. That being said, there have been a few food trends that made a splash in the last couple of years which were…questionable. Here are 5 that we hope will die and never be resurrected.
1. Colour Me Charcoal
It was 2017 when all our Instagram feeds started getting eclipsed by a wave of activated charcoal. Ice cream, burger buns, dumplings, coffee, sushi. They all got the charcoal treatment. In its organic form, activated charcoal can be a useful filtration and absorption tool and is often used in the medical field to prevent overdoses. So while it was a potential detoxifier, most foods never contained enough charcoal to have a noticeable effect so all it did was make your food more goth. Even more ironic, excessive consumption of activated charcoal can start leaching away beneficial nutrients from your body too. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t with this one.
2. Turn Up For Truffle
Truffles in themselves can’t be considered a trend. The “diamond of the kitchen”, truffles have always been held in high regard for their subtle taste and luxurious edge they bring to every dish. The problem is, that truffle oil doesn’t contain any truffles. The product came about in the 1980s to make an ingredient that usually costs thousands of dollars available to the mass market. We’re all for that, but in the late 2000s, it was suddenly being doused on everything in overpowering quantities. Basically, olive oil mixed with a lab-created synthetic compound called 2,4-dithiapentane, the pungent condiment doesn’t rival the opulence of the real thing and should not be used as an excuse to triple the price of a dish.
3. Sushi Goes Sus
Up until the 2010s, sushi was still relatively unknown but today it appears on every second menu. We’re glad that people have expanded their culinary horizons to embrace the Japanese tradition so wholeheartedly. But we wish they’d stopped there. Somewhere along the line people decided that simple sushi rolls just weren’t enough. Suddenly there were sushi pizzas, sushi burritos, dessert sushi, and all manner of oddities that defied the simplicity and elegance of the concept. People cashing in on a trend while disrespecting an ancient art form. Not cool.
4. Freaky But Not Fun
Milkshakes, bring it on. Desserts, yes please! Milkshakes posing as desserts? Not so great. Extreme milkshakes or freakshakes have been around since 2016 and like so many unnecessary trends were an instant Instagram fad. But while pretty to look at the idea of having to disassemble layers of cake pops, brownies, biscuits, wafers, crazy straws and chocolate just to take a sip seems counterproductive. Add to that the affinity for slathering the outside of the glass in sticky syrups and it’s the last straw for this calorific nightmare.
5. Winter Came, Dry Ice Stayed
A small amount of theatricality while dining can definitely enhance the experience. But when your table is engulfed in a swirling mist of smoke with every new course or drink it can become a bit wearing. Using liquid nitrogen to create a dramatic flair was most often used on cocktails, but then it invaded the kitchens and every dish was served swimming on a bed of cloudy fog. Aside from giving restaurants an excuse to bump up the price for an entirely useless addition to the meal, it also poses health risks as nitrogen gas can lead to breathing difficulties and can be harmful to the skin. Messy, flavourless and dangerous This is a lose-lose situation for everyone involved.