Every year, we look hopefully towards the horizon of food trends. Many survive the brutal high noon of summertime, but the wintry sunset claims many fads. Some items on this list were only with us for a short time, while others will be harder to let go.
It’s time we pour some mulled cider out for these five fallen food monoliths.
1. Brussels Sprouts
About a year or two ago, these tiny, rotund greens wormed their way onto menus in various establishments. I will never forget the delight I witnessed on a group of women’s faces when a sizzling plate of Brussels sprouts maneuvered its way towards their table. You’d have thought Bruce Springsteen announced a free concert in New Jersey.
Fast forward to this holiday season and people have figured out that you can only do a handful of inventive recipes featuring Brussels sprouts (typically involving roasting and some form or pork).
Meanwhile, it seems as though people are finding new uses for kale and cauliflower every day (not to mention the ultimate hipster hybrid, the kale sprout). Smell ya later, sprouts. And kale, the clock is ticking.
2. Gluten-Free Diets
Gluten sensitivity seemed more contagious than the flu last winter. Everyone has, at least, one friend who suddenly makes ordering a pizza a nightmare, even though they used to eat half a pie in a single sitting.
The only benefits of this trend are the increased availability of gluten-free products and labelling for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance as people caught on that gluten-free products often aren’t healthier, nor are they the weight-loss bastions people once thought they were.
3. Red Meat
Red meat’s downward spiral has stretched out over the last few years. Recent studies have linked the meat to maladies like cancer and strokes. The U.S. even released guidelines that limit citizens red meat intake but had hardly anything to say about cholesterol-rich foods.
Beyond physical health, people also realize how much of an impact livestock, and beef, in particular, has on the environment. It takes roughly 12 pounds of grain and 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. Efficient they are not.
Additionally, cows and other livestock are the largest producers of methane gas worldwide, which traps greenhouse gases and contributes to climate change. When you take all of this into consideration, maybe more than Mondays should be meatless.
Despite being committed to using local, ethically sourced ingredients, Chipotle served up some sickening news this year. They rang in the new year by informing us that carnitas would be unavailable at a third of their locations. After several false hope announcements, carnitas finally returned in November, just in time for customers to start getting E. Coli.
If that wasn’t bad enough, a norovirus wreaked havoc on over 180 students’ digestive systems in Boston shortly after that. Chipotle may be the fast casual restaurant that everyone loves to rally behind, but it shouldn’t be risky to buy a burrito.
5. All Things "Artisanal"
The word “artisanal” relates to something crafted by an artisan, or someone who practices a trade. It’s pretty open-ended. Your local Starbuck’s barista could technically be considered an artisan.
This isn’t to dismiss the many talented individuals and small companies working to create something local, sustainable and unique, it’s just about throwing the term around everywhere.
At this point words like *artisanal, foraged, farm-to-table *and the ilk are heard so often their meaning gets lost. Sure if someone asks, it’s great to give them the spiel, but otherwise, maybe put it in the corner of your menu or the window and let that be that.