Who doesn’t love a fad? No one! That’s how fads happen… One person (usually a Kardashian or Taylor Swift) does something unusual, posts it to Instagram, breaks the Internet and before you know it we’re all extolling the virtues of cupping and PokemonGo.
It’s the same with food. 2016 provided us with a vast amount of culinary stupidity that whipped us into social media frenzies, emptied our wallets and provided almost zero nutritional value.
Here are the best (or worst) of the outgoing fads of 2016, plus those set to supercede them in 2017:
Out – coconut water: What is the deal with coconut water? What extraspecial health benefits does it actually offer that regular water does not? Is it some kind of orally-administered colonic irrigation? Laced with antiageing oxi-poxy agents? I just don’t get it.
In – pine nut water: I’m pretty sure we’re going to press every last drop of moisture from a different member of the nut family each year until we either run out of nuts or turn our attention to the restorative properties of liquid legumes.
Out – freakshakes: These towering homages to diabetic comas kept the #foodporn hashtag alive all year, mainly because they were incredible feats of engineering. The first person to affix an entire bacon and maple syrup waffle to the side of a mason jar using nothing but Krazy Straws and moist fairy floss deserves a medal. But let’s be honest; no one has ever actually eaten one. That is because if you did you would die. End of story.
In – freaktoast: It’s a jam donut on rye! Candied popcorn on rustic sourdough with salted caramel cheese! Hundreds and Thousands stuck on slices of TipTop white bread with Flora margarine! Oh wait, we already have that, and yes it has been recently spotted at numerous house parties thrown by overly nostalgic thirty-somethings, along with Peter Combe cassette tapes and the swimming pool from the Women’s Weekly Birthday Cake Book.
Out – kale: We haven’t heard much from our old mate kale in 2016, perhaps because kale is SO 2015, but also possibly due to the global kale shortage brought about by the invention of ‘kale chips’, followed by hoards of beardy hipsters in need of a healthsome afternoon snack… In my day we just stuck a tray of Potato Gems in the oven.
In – cabbage leaves: Ten years ago I got these free from the greengrocer for my girlfriend’s pet rabbit. Anything that starts free then becomes popular swiftly ceases to be free. Flavour matters not. Get in early and stay ahead of the trend.
Out – turmeric: Let’s talk about turmeric. A year ago this was just a delicious addition to subcontinental curries. It goes in coffee now and people eat it, trying to convince anyone who will listen that it’s a viable alternative to antibiotics and penicillin. At the risk of sounding 45 years older than I actually am, turmeric is this generation’s cod liver oil.
In – calendula: Where’s the fun in following a fad that you don’t have to google first? This plant looks like a common marigold, but don’t be fooled. The wonderflower is packed with antioxidants called ‘flavonoids’ (which, if I had I would ask my GP to remove) and, according to my highly scientific sources, ‘may’ have the power to heal burns, cuts, financial
distress, poor taste in kitchen furnishings and bruises.
Out – coffee that’s not coffee: It was always going to be Melbourne that delivered us the algae latte, a caffeine free, coffee free, pastel blue concoction packed with lemon, ginger, coconut milk and active living organisms. Serve that to a Territorian and they’ll take it to the nearest pool shop to get tested.
In – coffee that’s still not coffee: Coffee has been pressed, chilled, filtered, coloured, assaulted and pummelled for years. Don’t allow yourself to believe it peaked with turmeric, algae or rainbows. There’s a whole cupboard full of Masterfoods spices yet to be exploited, and my money’s on star anise or paprika.
Out – deconstructed anything: Milk, espresso and hot water in separate beakers. Donuts with syringes (for injecting one’s own filling). A slice of meat, a wafer of puff pastry and a thimble of ‘smashed’ potato (which, by the way, is just mash with the lumps still in) arranged symmetrically on a piece of driftwood… Twelve months later most people have come to their senses and remembered that one of the primary perks of eating out is that you don’t have to assemble the meal yourself.
In – reconstructed everything: In 2017 expect to pay twice as much for a regular sandwich as you did a deconstructed one last year, and thrice what a regular sandwich cost the year before that. As the Deconstructed fad withers and dies, it will be up to poor overworked café employees to (literally) put everything back together again. The sheer scope of manual and creative labour involved in layering meat and vegetable foodstuffs between slices of bread beggars belief, so expect to pay through the nose.
On that note, I’m off to the corner shop for a ham ‘n’ cheese toastie on white bread with a takeaway flat white thanks.