‘Tis the time of the year where journalists look back at the months that has passed us by, as well as forward at the year quickly approaching, and make observations, judgments and predictions on everything from car trends to celebrity scandals. Food writers like myself tend to make observations about things like food, as we know little about cars or celebrities. Instead of looking into the future of 2013 with an assortment of predictions (and risk being horrendously wrong) I am going to look back at the year in food – specifically some of the worst food trends of the last 12 months. Sure there were lots of innovative and delicious creations out there in 2012, but for now, I prefer to dwell on the negative, the trite, and the plain regrettable. So here goes:
Even though parent company Hostess (also maker of Wonder Bread) has limping along for years with the treat of collapsing in a heap of gooey cream filling, it seemed to come as a big surprise to many when the news hit revealing that Hostess, and therefore the beloved Twinkie, were dead. Hostess called it quits this year with a shut down, sell off, and liquidation of all their assets (somewhere, someone is looking for the trove of liquid Twinkies) and junk food devotes went into mourning, as if the terrorists had won. Don’t get me started on how Hostess has been the scourge of the American diet for decades, and that a few million less Twinkies may serve the country well. But really, before you drown yourself in tears of woeful nostalgia, you should know that the Hostess name is far too valuable a brand to disappear forever. It is only a matter of time before some petroleum conglomerate buys up the rights to the entire Hostess catalog and rains Twinkies down upon the despondent and deficient masses.
All Things Bacon:
I have written too much about the enduring bacon trend to want to write another word about it. So instead I will just say this bacon trend, that seemingly will never die, lives on with gusto in the following forms:
Savory Candy Bacon Lollipops, Bacon-Flavored Microwave Popcorn, Bacon Jam, Bacon Mayonnaise, Bacon-Flavored Dental Floss, Bacon Cupcakes, Bacon-Infused Vodka, and Bacon Personal Lubricant. Need I say more?
Fast Food Desperation:
While many would argue that fast food is as popular now as ever, it seems evident that, because of higher competition and a growing awareness of what are horrendous nutritional choices, the fast food industry is struggling with its own identity. While some fast food outlets have endeavored to clean up their act and offer a few marginally nutritional options, most have gone the way of utter desperation offering increasingly more outlandish and mutant-like versions of their own food. Things like the Jack in the Box Waffle Breakfast Sandwich, which consists of an egg, cheese and sausage sandwich between two sweetened waffles has 268 mg of cholesterol (and, of course the Jack in the Box Bacon Milkshake).
Fans of McDonald’s hugely popular McRib sandwich can now enjoy (at least in parts of Europe) the deep fried McRib. Or if sandwiches are too pedestrian for your taste, you could go with the Taco Bell Taco made with Cool Ranch Doritos, so you don’t have to order chips on the side.
While I am a big fan of pickles and lacto-fermentation, I feel the whole pickling thing has gotten a bit out of hand. This includes everything from pickled shrimp to packaged and sold frozen pickle juice pops (big in Texas). This is just a case of too much of a good thing, or an idea with far too many applications. The situation may have been best summed up by the comedy series Portlandia and their take on the artisan pickle situation (see below):
What are some of the most regrettable food trends you have witnessed over the past year (or so)?