Bugged by the Huffington Post's "11 Biggest Food Trends of 2011"


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The Huffington Post has succumbed to the temptation of food trends lists. While the Huff-P does politics like everybody's business, why are they now trying to convince the dining public that they're eating more bugs, that pimento cheese is suddenly cool and that macarons are falling from the heavens? Maybe, just maybe, they should stick to reporting Newt Gingrich's latest gas exhalations.

Here's our assessment of the Huff-P's "The 11 Biggest Food Trends of 2011." Although there are a couple of hits, the misses come early -- and often.

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11. Meatballs.

2011's popular cuisine continued the recent trend of previous years: economically-insecure, comfortable peasant food. Meatballs fall roundly into this category, but if the Huff-P is basing its meatball madness on sales of Subway's $5 footlong soy-meat monstrosity, then it's possible that this selection isn't too far off the mark.

10. Butchery.

Apparently meat-cutting is hot, and our white-coated animal-slashers deserve a seat at the trend table. Watching a bloody carcass being sliced and diced never really gets old, but imagining that high-end cuts of meat are more popular when folks have less expendable income may be a stretch in the wrong direction.

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9. Negronis.

Campari+gin+sweet vermouth=a Negroni cocktail, but since hipsters re-discovered Campari after getting bored with Pimm's, this cocktail isn't so much a trend as it is a quick flip-flop until hipster re-discover Pimm's again next month.

8. Macarons.

It's not clear why these confections have been creeping their way onto so many damn lists over the last couple of years, but they've been described as a future trend, a current trend and now a past trend, all without any real evidence of them ever being trendy at all.

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7. Upmarket fried chicken.

Ummm...really? Until Brad and Angelina are photographed sucking on a bucket of legs and thighs, it will continue to be unbelievable that fried chicken of any kind has hit the big time.

6. Foraging.

This Huffington Post trend is legit. Foraging for weird, cool and delicious fruits, vegetables and whatever else can be found in urban, suburban and rural locations is not only hip, it's cost-effective. Hell, with the current economic climate, dumpster-diving may soon be not just a trend, but a lifestyle.

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5. Pimento cheese.

If this blend of Cheddar, mayo and canned/jarred red peppers has moved from the trailers to the mansions, then it's only a matter of minutes before that red Jello-soaked vanilla sheet cake with the Cool-Whip topping is the haughtiest of haute cuisine.

4. Unfamiliar Chinese food flavors.

The idea that "unfamiliar" flavors have trended their way into our American-bred sesame chicken consciousness is a good one, but could it be that smart restaurant chefs have taken to serving the good stuff to the general public that they used to only make for themselves at break times? We can only hope, because anyone who's eaten lackluster crap from a Chinese buffet while watching the employees bring out plates of the great food from the back knows that we have been getting the golden shaft for years.

3. Cocktail bitters.

Again, hipsters have re-discovered bitters, and since they can afford to spend more dough on vintage clothes than the boring straights spend on new threads, catering to them by adding new flavors to an old mixer is a piece of marketing genius that deserves recognition on more than a few lists.

2. Fancy donuts.

The fact that people are catching on to doughnut boutiques like Voodoo Donut is a heartening development, and now that the Atkins diet is just as dead as the cupcake trend should be, that leaves a carby marketing niche dying to be filled like a Bismarck.

1. Insects.

According to the Huff-P, people are eating more insects. Maybe all these seasons of watching Andrew Zimmern chow down on bugs has accustomed the eating public to the cost-effective and nutritive value of vermin. Or maybe bugs really are being eaten in record numbers to the point of being trendy. Because there's no friggin' way that anyone would ever make this up for the hell of it.

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11 comments
ashrafwagdy
ashrafwagdy

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Michelle
Michelle

To be honest, these food "trends" have been pretty ubiquitous in the coastal cities (San Francisco, Portland) that I've spend the last few years in. I mean, the piece de resistance at the San Francisco Street Food Festival this year was moth larvae tacos, written up by your peers at SFoodie: http://blogs.sfweekly.com/food...

Any sign of them in Denver though? Not so much. I had a macaron from famed D-bar the other day and it was a giant bubble -- one of the signs of a bad macaron, as Serious Eats NY laments (http://newyork.seriouseats.com....

Just because these trends aren't prevalent in Denver, doesn't mean they're not happening. Don't be so dismissive, guys.

Mantonat
Mantonat

I think they hit the nail on the head with everything but insects. The semantics of exactly what "trendy" means doesn't change the fact that all of these things showed up on the gastronomic media radar with pretty big blips in the past year. Whether it's hipsters, upscale diners, or midwesterners following the trend, each of those demographics are large enough to call it legit.

The Jennster
The Jennster

I got a good chuckle off of seeing insects on that--or any list. I bought a bunch of "larvettes" and fried crickets (in bacon & cheese, sour cream and onion and Mexican spice no less) at Hot Topic when they had them, and I can't get anyone I know to try them. They aren't bad--very crispy, need more salt--but even at Halloween I could not get so much as a nibble from anyone but me. I dunno; people are mighty broke right now, but perhaps not broke enough to forage that deeply....heeheehee.

GFTW
GFTW

Surely Midson ate some????

Lori Midson
Lori Midson

Just tarantulas for me, thanks -- and toasted ants in Mexico, which were very, very good.

GFTW
GFTW

"Huff-P does politics like everybody's business"

Everybody's radical left-wing plagiarizing business. Anyway, restaurants like The Pinyon and Lou's Food Bar think they're doing fried chicken upscale.

The Jennster
The Jennster

Upscale fried chicken is pretty subjective, I've noticed. And it's a fine line of opinion as to what makes fried chicken upscale versus just well-made. What makes it upscale? Better quality poultry? A smidge of unusual seasonings? Serving it with a side of truffle fries? Spraying it with edible gold and charging a mortgage payment for it? Using artisan flour hand-ground by native peoples of some country most people have never been to? This is stuff I think about in my spare time, when I'm not vexing GFTW with my liberal insanity....*smiles*

GFTW
GFTW

Yeah, it's stuff like free range, "organic", fried in some special oil, that flour, etc. I thought Lou's chicken was bland, and I've heard Pinyon's is nothing special. KFC's tastes better.

It's shameless how Jenn flirts with me!

GFTW
GFTW

You should try out for the new Fear Factor. I read they're really going to up the gross factor on what contestants eat.

The Jennster
The Jennster

It's true--I have no shame. I believe I lost that in 1999. That was also the last year I was cool.

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