Food Trends I’d Like to See Die in 2010, Part One

16 Dec

A new year, a new decade, and a good time to vent about all the overcooked food trends that have become a source of torment for anyone who eats out on a regular basis.

1) Comfort food

Until, say, 2 years ago, I liked mac n’ cheese, short ribs, and steak frites as much as the next emotional eater. Before they achieved ubiquity, these high-fat indulgences were a lovely, naughty, occasional treat. Now they’re just your typical dinner at an average mid-price restaurant.

I’m tired of meals that seem designed to leave diners feeling sleepy and weighed down. I’m concerned that dining out is an increasingly hazardous habit. At the end of the day, adding more fat to a dish is a cheap trick, guaranteed to make food taste great at the cost of our health.

Of course, the blame doesn’t rest solely with restaurants. Customer tastes drive this train, too.

So here’s my new motto: More inspiration, less sedation! Yes, the ’00s were a very traumatic decade for everyone. Can our appetites please move on now?

2) Pork Orgies

A few months ago, I was a judge at a nose-to-tail cooking contest, in which chefs had to prepare a number of dishes from a single pig. The resulting courses were a study in expert technique and inspired creativity. And I was sick for several days afterward.

The human body is designed to digest only so much meat.

You, too, can dig into a multi-course pig-packed tasting menu at any number of local eateries. But I wouldn’t recommend it. In fact, I’d like to see the whole thing go the way of the fern bar.

I’m all for nose-to-tail eating. If you’re going to eat meat, you have a moral obligation to eschew waste and consume as many parts of the animal as possible. Why raise and kill three pigs when one would suffice? Not only are cheeks, bellies, tail, and ears edible, they’re downright tasty.

But the nose-to-tail ethos shouldn’t be an excuse to kill as many animals as possible in an atavistic fit of machismo. How about a return to the concept of a fair share?

What I’d really love to see in the ’10s? All that same effort skill and creativity applied to the humble veggie, which you can eat to your heart’s content.

More tomorrow…

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