What was the silliest food fad of 2013?

What were the silliest food fads of 2013? And there were many. I'll begin with "gluten free everything". Less than 1% of the world's population is celiac and they don't all live in Brooklyn. Next up, the Paleo diet. Yeah, your ancestors drank raw milk and if they were lucky they lived to be about 40 or 50. What's next on the horizon for 2014? I can only cringe in anticipation of what atrocity these simpletons are going to inflict on us.

  • Posted by: pierino
  • January 2, 2014


Mo3b January 10, 2014
I don't want bacon in sweets!
susan G. January 10, 2014
Bacon ice cream, bacon scented candles... surely this is the end of the road! or is the 21st century the era of take it and beat it til it's unrecognizable? Maybe 'midwestern food' is the reaction to the trivialization of food/we've had enough frou frou?
boulangere January 10, 2014
Bacon is so 2012.
sexyLAMBCHOPx January 10, 2014
Too funny MTM.
MTMitchell January 10, 2014
I want to preface this by saying that I love bacon, and my lunch has bacon in it...but I knew we had gone too far when a friend showed up at my house with a jar of bacon-flavored mayonnaise that was VEGAN. Too. Much. And my friends and I used to have a running joke that bacon-chocolate-cake was the grossest thing we could think of, and we'd throw it out to each other all the time to make someone go "ew." If only we'd have known then how many menus it would be on now....
Diana M. January 9, 2014
"No alterations" policies at restaurants that take themselves WAY too seriously. Father's Office, nothing more than a burger and beer joint in LA, enforces this policy. Want the burger with out cheese? Not possible. I don't understand why everything in the US has to be so extreme!
amysarah January 9, 2014
This brought this scene to mind - still great: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wtfNE4z6a8
mensaque January 10, 2014
I'll have my toast with a side of Jack Nicholson,thanks amysarah!Yumm!
petitbleu January 8, 2014
Yes, juicing is mildly irritating. I mean, if it "works" for you, fine. I don't want to be the food police. But drinking a lot of juice--even veggie-based--is basically drinking a lot of sugar. Bad for your teeth, metabolism, and blood sugar.
I do love kombucha, but all the high-priced kombucha-related paraphernalia could stand to go. Why buy a $50 kombucha kit from Williams-Sonoma when you can get a kombucha mother for free and make your own kombucha indefinitely?
Summer O. January 8, 2014
Back to the question at hand - I'd like to add in Kombucha, kabocha and juicing.
Greenstuff January 7, 2014
Food52 may be ahead of the game on that midwestern food movement. With thirschfeld writing about suppers from his farm in Indiana and fiveandspice telling us what's for breakfast in Minnesota, I think we're all embracing the heartland, at least a little bit.
jamcook January 6, 2014
This thread has taken a nasty turn from silly food fads to snarky arguments about grocery shopping.. Maybe it's just the Polar Vortex.. But maybe everyone should just have a nice hot cup of something...(kindness, maybe?) and move on.
sexyLAMBCHOPx January 7, 2014
I think that was the sole intention of the poster, jamcook. FYI - I heart Trader Joe's.
creamtea January 6, 2014
I'll certainly continue shopping at TJ's and Whole Foods. It doesn't appear to me that they've conducted themselves irresponsibly or stored foods in an unsafe manner; unfortunately occasional salmonella outbreaks are a fact of modern life, one not limited to any single retailer, and unless it's conclusively proven to me that said retailer has unsafe practices or has responded irresponsibly to such an issue, I see no reason to change.
Bevi January 7, 2014
I agree, creamtea. Trader Joe's has brought interesting items at lower prices to many more people, enabling them to expand their cooking skills. Additionally, Trader Joe's accepts food stamps. Because they buy in copious volume, they can offer products found in most supermarkets at lower prices. It does not necessarily follow that their products are of inferior quality.
Bevi January 6, 2014
Thank you for reposting the link to the previous hotline, Cynthia. As noted, Whole Foods Market also carried Glass Onion products, in addition to other retailers. There are many suppliers whose items appears under the private labels of both Whole Foods Market AND Trader Joe's.
bigpan January 6, 2014
...and I have grown weary of the cooking shows with pros and amateurs "creating" something from the mystery box that contains a fish head, box of quinoa, kale leaves, some streaky bacon and jar of peanut butter. And the shows that feature a prickly haired host that thinks a 6inch high hamburger covered with gravy and jalepenos is gourmet dining. Ohhh, bring back Jacques Pepin and Julia Child - THAT was entertaining ... and educational.
Maedl January 6, 2014
In addition to Pierino's response on Trader Joe's: Unless it has changed recently, TJ's is under the same umbrella of ownership as Aldi's, the discount grocery chain. I believe the owners are two rather reclusive German brothers, one of whom died recently I find the quality at TJ's very similar to what I see at Aldi's. Sometimes you find something decent, but most of the time, it is dicey. I shop at Aldi's but it is out of necessity--the selection of stores in my town is not the best.
mensaque January 5, 2014
The gluten free thing freaks me out cause in Brazil even water bottles must carry the fatidic info,but it took me 38 years to meet one celiac.One!Small detail:her husband owns a bakery!This one I find disgusting:foam...on everything!It seems to be falling into oblivion,but it may come back and we must fight it!Looks like dog barf,and I don't care what it brings to the dish:leave it out!Another one from Brazil:all labels now claim their products are "trans-fat free",OK,good for you...but even olive oil.Now,how on Earth (or any other planet for that matter)would olive oil get mixed with trans-fats?
Pegeen January 5, 2014
Now that rabbit and squab are mentioned as future popular foods, I'm wondering why we don't cultivate certain animals for food supply... goats, squirrels, raccoons, badgers, llamas, etc. I am purposefully not putting dogs or cats on that list. Let's not go anywhere near people's pets.

And now I'm wondering what NPR meant by the "midwestern" food movement. Beef? Corn? Soy beans?
Pegeen January 5, 2014
p.s. I don't mean to be snarky... I was just wondering why certain animals aren't food supply. I guess they're not profitable or else they'd be commonly raised?
mensaque January 5, 2014
Lots of goat eating going on for centuries in north-east Brazil...and in Morroco.Not to mention haggis...not a fresh idea,Peggen,hahaha!
luvcookbooks January 5, 2014
Pegeen, I am from the Midwest (born in Wisconsin, America's dairyland). It's kind of meat and potatoes ish with lots of simply cooked fresh vegetables and fruit desserts, freshwater fresh. Fish fries are popular on Fridays. Sunday afternoon dinners still happen. Football associated meals are popular-- tailgate parties and Super Bowl type menus. It's a nice kind of food, although it has limitations.
Diana B. January 5, 2014
And if those weren't bad enough, here's what NPR thinks you have to look forward to in food fads for 2014! www.npr.org/2014/01/05/259788506/eating-tea-and-other-food-predictions-for-2014
Harper S. January 5, 2014
For someone who has celiac disease, gluten-free is absolutely essential. Reactivity varies, but an accidental bit of gluten can mean utter, painful incapacitation for 18 hours, illness for weeks. I don't see why some people view celiac disease as funny.
dymnyno January 5, 2014
I think that if you read the above comments you will see that no one disagrees with the fact that celiac disease is a serious matter. However, many people jumped on the gluten free bandwagon for no good reasons…just because it was a fad that some famous people had tried.
pierino January 5, 2014
Actually rabbit and squab sound pretty good to me. I'd like to see goat sneak in there too. But for me this will be a year of charcuterie as I have excellent sources.
Pegeen January 5, 2014
"frica" may also be spelled as "freekeh"
Pegeen January 5, 2014
Well, we have some fun stuff to look forward to in 2014 according to a show I just heard on NPR:

tea leaves (Starbucks is opening its first tea shop which will sell tea leaves not just ready-made)

teff (a cereal grass from North Africa)
frica (another African grain, green spelt)



professional foragers

goat, rabbit and pigeon (squab)

za'atar, sumac

midwestern food movement
petitbleu January 8, 2014
Don't get me wrong--I don't do much shopping at Trader Joe's. I do think the location near us has a very high turnover rate, though, because I've never had a problem with their produce. When the farmer's market is going, I don't get produce there, but right now it's a nice resource to have.
petitbleu January 5, 2014
I have to say, I really like Trader Joe's for a few specific things--they have frozen peeled pearl onions; their dried fruit and nuts tend to be good; they have better looking fruit than the other grocery store close to us. They even had persimmons, satsumas, and meyer lemons the last time I was there! It's not all pre-made food.
I have to agree with most of the posts here, though. Banning foods altogether is silly--it doesn't create an effective deterrent and why exactly is the production of foie gras any worse than keeping chickens in horrible conditions? Angels on the head of a pin.
I'm over gluten free as a marketing term for everything from corn tortillas to fruit juice. It's beyond silly, and there's some strange association between being gluten free and being healthy, which I don't think is true at all.
I'm also over the rock star chef phenomenon. It's just another way that cooking culture has been masculinized beyond recognition. Gratuitous tattoo photos, spiked hair, general mindless "badassery." What ever happened to just cooking really good food without all the brouhaha?
Maedl January 5, 2014
Interesting that you like the produce at Trader Joe's. The quality must differ from location to location, because the produce in the TJ's near me is just terrible. I returned things so many times that I stopped buying anything from their produce department. On the other hand, when Greek yogurt first came on the market, I was always able to find it there.
creamtea January 5, 2014
I agree with petitbleu. I like their peeled pearl onions and dried fruit nuts too. We love their peppermint Jojos in the winter. We always have decent produce at our Trader Joes--the crates of peaches in summer are quite good. And their many certified kosher products. They always put the symbol on the face of the product--may be a corporate decision, but I find it respectful,and helpful that I don't have to go searching for it with a magnifier. I like certain products, not necessarily the prepared meals. I do think some of the products vary in different cities. They tend to limit preservatives and over-engineered ingredients. One of their chocolate bar varieties is excellent--I use it for ganache.
pierino January 5, 2014
I'm suprised anyone see's any value in Trader Joe's "fresh" products as there are practically and seldom of good quality. As a reminder earlier in the Fall, Trader joes had to recall 90 tons of their packaged, grab and go, chicken and greens salad. It sickened around 300 people in the western states. Salmonella.
boulangere January 6, 2014
The issue of the salad greens recall was addressed here: http://food52.com/hotline/22409-what-s-your-favorite-trader-joe-s-product It was not "their" product, but rather was produced by Glass Onion Catering.
pierino January 6, 2014
Trader Joe's doesn't actually "produce" anything. They just broker the lowest price. In the case of the salmonella salads they did carry a Trader Joe's label and went through their checkout lanes. The point is that the quality of what is sold at Trader Joe's leaves something to be desired.
Diana B. January 5, 2014
I'm not sure if this qualifies as a 'food fad,' but if I never hear another television chef say something takes a dish "to the next level," it will be too soon.
Jackie January 4, 2014
Baby talk: sammies, brekky. Are sandwich and breakfast tongue twisters?
dymnyno January 4, 2014
"Probiotics" is on it's way.I just saw a probiotic hot sauce!
sexyLAMBCHOPx January 7, 2014
My local gourmet market has a designate shelf for probiotic supplements, ingredients and products.
Greenstuff January 4, 2014
There's a foie gras ban in New York?? Hudson Valley Foie Gras is a great firm with wonderful products.
pierino January 4, 2014
Maedl you've just reminded me of another recent food fad of the last couple of years; the ban on the sale of foie gras in California and in New York. This is ridiculous hippie nonsense coming from otherwise well-intentioned people. It's an anthropomorphic overlay. Ducks and geese don't have the same anatomy as humans. For one thing they don't have a larynx and waterfowl can swallow a whole fish. The fowl actually run to the feeding tube, apparently because they don't have to work to gorge themselves.
Even though it's banned in my state I was able to score some yesterday, over the counter. I'm not going to say where. I asked the woman working the counter, "where did you get this from?". She said, "I don't know". Apparently one of her partners sourced it. I'm not going to ask any more questions.
Maedl January 5, 2014
Pierino, I think one of the things I dislike most about the food world is the extremes to which people take things. They just freak out over relatively minor issues, create demons out of the miasma, or take sensible foods to the extreme. Thanks to corporate food marketing, trendy foods are everywhere--like bacon, salted caramels, salted chocolate. I remember when good bagels were hard to find. Now bagels are ubiquitous, but a truly good bagel is still hard to find. Maybe this is all just a reflection of the crazy political situation that we must deal with. Sensibility and moderation have flown the coop.
Maedl January 4, 2014
Duck fat, butter, cream--yes! Real food produced on good farm land!
Margie January 4, 2014
"Reasonable amounts" is vague and a poor choice of words in a country where obesity is an epidemic. Consumed with other saturated fats at 7-10% of your total daily caloric intake is the recommendation from the AHA, AMA, ADA, AAN.... So why is it being sold by the gallon? Honestly, I agree with you, fats as a nutrient are not all bad, but don't confuse people into thinking they are good.
pierino January 4, 2014
Duck fat rocks!
Margie January 4, 2014
Maede, your NYT post is nearly 2 years old. A newspaper is not an reliable source for most information, nutrition and health included. Coconut oil is more saturated that butter and as far as those chains of triglycerides go, coconut is 60% MCT, the other 40% is LCT. MCTs don't cause weight loss, just eating less total calories than you need does. Furthermore raising levels of HDLs has not shown, believe it or not, to have an effect on heart disease. Whereas increasing LDLs, is proven to have negative consequences. Cold pressed/virgin coconut and refined are the same nutritionally and chemically. You are better off eating meat as a source of saturated fats, at least you get the nutrients that come along with those fats (protein, iron, etc). But since this is a cooking forum, its great for the vegans out there and people who like the flavors. Bottom line there is no health benefit to coconut oil, still reach for the liquid vegetable oils, nothings proven well except when I put it on my hair, it is a lovely conditioner. Ha, another testimonial!
Maedl January 4, 2014
I don’t believe I said coconut oil was good for you. I said it was not bad for you in reasonable amounts. Yes, the article is two years old, but studies on fats and their role in health still indicate that the paranoia about fats has been misdirected. While newspapers may not always get it right, numerous studies from various sources indicate that we still have a lot to learn about the benefits of fats.
Margie January 4, 2014
Coconut oil. It's bad for you. Hopefully the uneducated will get it right in 2014.
Maedl January 4, 2014
Margie, the understanding of fats is undergoing a transition. While coconut fat is trendy and a bit faddish, it seems that early studies used partially hydrogenated coconut fat, which contains trans fats. A non-processed coconut is not bad for you in reasonable quantities. Of course, 'reasonable quantities' means different things for different people. See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/dining/02Appe.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 You might also want to read up on some of the benefits of fats. They are not always the enemy!
luvcookbooks January 3, 2014
Kale shakes! Not only overused but seems like a terrible mistake on many levels.
Maedl January 3, 2014
I am glad to see I am not the only person who ddoesn't think Trader Joe's is heaven for serious cooks. The nuts and dried fruits aren't bad, but the other stuff they sell? No, thanks.

'Awesome' in reference to food is inappropriate. Those using it need to increase their vocabulary. Ditto for 'yummy', 'veggie', and 'scrummy', unless the target readers are in the 4 to 6 years group.

Finally, perhaps we have marketing campaigns to thank for the ubiquity of kale, bacon, sea-salted this or that, but please spare me! Moderation is a good thing--that should be the guide to sensible eating and enjoyment of food, not the capitalistic exercises of PR types far removed from the production of real food.
LeBec F. January 3, 2014
"Farm to Table". Here in Boston the last 2 years have seen this phrase just used to death. And often thoughtlessly. It's one thing to use it in CA. but if you have a restnt in the north east, Nov to March would be pretty boring if you were truly only farm to table. (Pass the rutabaga plse?)
dymnyno January 2, 2014
I have to agree with Pierino re Trader Joes. When they first opened over 20 years ago they were kind of like a food surplus store with discounted and unusual items. Now, I only go to buy Charlee Bear dog treats for my two PWDs. If you want prepackaged food I guess a lot of people love it.
paseo January 5, 2014
Yes to Charlee Bear at TJs and not much else - though I agree that it was better (back in the pre Aldi days).
susanne January 2, 2014
sauerkraut! why oh why is sauerkraut everywhere? and kim chee, and picked everything. sour has its place, as do these traditional foods, of course, but their flavors are too demanding for constant use.
bigpan January 2, 2014
I am fortunate to ignore the marketing hype ever since everything you cooked and served had to have loads of cilantro on it. So, kale slipped by me other than tasting some "chips" at the store at a demo. Yes, salted caramel is everywhere and actually I like it. I don't salt often but when I do...
Quinoa came and went from my larder about 6 or 7 years ago. I got tired of the price before the marketing gurus told us it would save our lives.
I still get upset with restaurants that simply renamed their appee dishes "tapas" which have absolutely nothing to do with Spanish tapa dishes (size, taste, price, etc.) How can yam fries with chipoltle sauce be a tapa !
And, before my rant gets too long, I am tired of restaurant chefs creating "con-fusion" foods...taking a simple decent burger and adding curry sauce to it, just to be different - but not in my mouth please. I like my carbonara with pancetta, not bbq chicken strips ! The end. thanks for listening.
amysarah January 2, 2014
1000X yes to the over use of 'genius'...not just with reference to food, but all over (no, pairing those shoes with that outfit does not qualify as 'genius'...discovering DNA's double helix structure is.) Also to the marketing lalapalooza surrounding kale. I like kale, but enough already! For all the hype, you'd think it was Soylent Green.

This may be more local to NYC, but when I finally tasted the much touted 'Cronut' - meh. Tasty, but hardly worthy of the ruckus. I'd take my grandmother's rugelach over it in a NY minute.

AntoniaJames January 2, 2014
Not exactly a food fad, but a food writing trend . . . the incessant use of the word "brilliant" or "genius" has robbed those words of their meaning. (Kristen gets a bye on this one.) I'd also challenge food writers to cut their use of adjectives by 75% and their use of adverbs by 95%. It would liven up their prose like nothing else. ;o)
ZombieCupcake January 2, 2014
for correcting them..
ZombieCupcake January 2, 2014
Quinoa, tons of articles praising it and tons more people mispronouncing it. It's Keen WAH not Kee no ah, then they look at me like I am a jerk.. lol
jamcook January 2, 2014
Salted caramel EVERYTHING! Isn't there someone else who likes caramel WITHOUT salt? I spent a long time with a lovely box of chocolates picking the sea salt crystals off the tops! When we get to gluten free, dairy free salted caramel kale chips.. Maybe we will see that the end is nigh.

Voted the Best Reply!

Pegeen January 2, 2014
Kale. I like kale but if I hear the word one more time, I'll... What strikes me is that we're such a consumer culture, we have dissected and analyzed every bit of our food supply, and are desperate to find a plant or ingredient that seems new and marketable.

But I do like kale. I just can't stand reading about it everywhere. It's reaching backfire proportions.
Greenstuff January 2, 2014
Yours are hard to beat, though I have had a number of friends with real celiac diagnoses this year. One ended up in the hospital before the diagnosis. So, while I hear what you're saying, I'm trying to be tolerant of the intolerant.

'll be just as audacious in my own way and say Trader Joe's. I walk in there, I walk around, and I walk out empty-handed. I just don't get it.
pierino January 2, 2014
Chris, yes being celiac is a serious thing for those unfortunate enough to suffer from it. But seeing "gluten free" as a component of a label on a bottle of water suggests how deep the lemming mentality runs in this country.

I'm totally with you on Trader Joe's. I don't get it either.
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