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July 6, 2011

Trends We Hate

Filed under: Restaurants,Top Chef — Twistie @ 9:32 am

Marcel is hurt.

Well, maybe not. He might be smirking all the way to the bank behind that hairy hand and Wolverine ‘do.

All the same, restaurant critic Jonathan Gold’s column for Shine on Yahoo enumerating his ten most-hated recent food trends does include two items that might break Marcel’s heart: sous vide and ‘better living through chemistry.’ Yeah, that last one is Marcel’s beloved molecular gastronomy (or Modernist Cuisine, as practitioners prefer to call it these days).

I have to say I agree on several of the things Gold finds so objectionable. Truffle oil overload and restaurants refusing to leave off a garnish on a plate for fear of destroying their art annoy the snot out of me, too. And while I would actually love a chance to eat something whipped up in the lab by Wylie Dufresne, well, if I never see an other blob of foam sitting like the congealed spittle from a disgruntled waiter on my plate again, it will be far too soon.

I’m tired of cupcakes, too, though the rest of the world now seems to be moving on to pie at long last. Good news for me since pie is one of my all-time fave desserts and the crust is my bitch.

And while we’re at it, could we possibly stop reaching sexual Nirvana at the mere mention of bacon in any context whatsoever? I love bacon as much as the next foodie, but come on people. It’s not Dodo egg omelettes with a side of Triceratops steak. It’s something we can eat every day of the week if we so choose. It’s good with a lot of things, yes, but that doesn’t mean it belongs in every dish from appetizer to dessert to the cheese board unless it’s Battle Bacon on Iron Chef.

Oh, and I’d like to note that bacon soda (no, really, I did try a sip once) is positively the single most disturbing thing I’ve ever put in my mouth? It was accurate, yes, but I couldn’t ditch the flavor or the oily afterfeel for hours, even after eating other things. Never. Again.

So what about you, folks? What trends do you think need to wind up in the dustbin of the nearest greasy spoon? Do you have a passionate defense of inflexibility regarding garnishes or foams? Did you put something in your mouth that you regret as much as I do that bacon soda?

Talk to me, people.


  1. I have a serious chocolate addiction, but bacon and chocolate do NOT go together.

    Comment by Klee — July 6, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

  2. I’m very, VERY done with Tall Food. If it’s a creme brulee, it’s supposed to be squat, and it doesn’t need some vast Lego construction towering over it.

    Comment by raincoaster — July 6, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

  3. I hate places where they put so many garnishes, flans, foams, towers and whatnots on your plate that you forget what it was you ordered in the first place (note to self: NOT the largest item on the plate). On the other hand, the ubiquitious (here, at least) bit-of-parsley-cum-quarter-tomato garnish on the other side of the garnish spectrum could use some sprucing up.
    And verrines. What’s so cool about strata of variously colored/tasting mush topped with foam in a glass? Why should salads, desserts, or mashed potatoes be sexier when eaten from a glass?
    And don’t even get me started on flans, foams and mousses. They’re OK every now and then, but what happened to things you could a)identify at a glance and b)actually chew?

    Comment by dinazad — July 7, 2011 @ 1:47 am

  4. @Klee: So very agreed!

    @raincoaster: Oh man, that one gets my goat, too! If it’s taller than my mouth, it’s not going in there. Besides, being vertically challenged myself, I feel it’s rude of my food to be taller than I am.

    @dinizad: Yeah, texture is important, isn’t it? And when the garnishes crowd out the main dish, it’s a little disconcerting. I’d rather have the naked dish than have to machete my way through fifteen oversized garnishes to get at it!

    Comment by Twistie — July 7, 2011 @ 9:51 am

  5. THANK YOU. BACON IS NOT THAT AWE INSPIRING. I never got this trend, ever. I don’t mean to hate, I can understand the occasional appreciation, but I’m glad to see this trend on its way out.

    Comment by JayB — July 7, 2011 @ 11:13 am

  6. Molecular gastronomy is fun, the one time. After that, it’s basically hard to tell the difference between what’s done to food in one of those Modernist kitchens, and what’s done to food in your standard processed food plant. Also, Ferran Adria started all of this more than 20 years ago, and even he is done with it now.

    I do want to see cupcakes die but they persist. They always disappoint, and to add insult, they’re stingy. And I’d like to see people who sell bagels stop making a “bacon flavour” bagel.

    So, someone really actually made Pork Soda? Wonder if the label looked anything like the Primus album cover. Those boys were always ahead of their time.

    Comment by aurumgirl — July 9, 2011 @ 6:26 am

  7. and in case that doesn’t show up:

    Comment by raincoaster — July 10, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

  8. The whole “backyard yuppie foodie sisterberthabetterthanyou” movement.

    I am a huntress in the extreme out here in Wyoming. I raise my own beef and eggs. But good jeebus I am SO TIRED of hearing about how “empowering” it is to eat what you kill – and it is always given with that condescending smirk of someone with too much money and time on their hands.

    Honey, I’ve been pulling guts out of a chicken’s you know what since I was five, and there ain’t nothing pretty about it, and I am tired of you telling me how great it is, and how much better you are than the people who HAVE to buy supermarket meat because their apartments won’t allow rooftop coops.

    I think that it is great that people are moving towards more humane ways of raising and offing creatures… but they aren’t doing anything that us poor rural folks haven’t already been doing for years!

    Comment by HurricaneDeck — July 11, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

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