HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Baffling Food Trends


Some things going on in the American food world at the moment just boggle my mind.

Who decided putting pasta on a sandwich was a good idea?

Who the hell wants a liter of coffee all in one sitting?

Why does Guy Fieri still have a job?

What are your food culture peeves?

  1. Good points. You know that these days anything goes and everyone tries to push the envelope a bit further

    1. Pasta on a sandwich? Haven't seen that one. But agree, that was not somebody's best idea.

      19 Replies
      1. re: gaffk

        I've known lots of people that like spaghetti sandwiches. Never was tempted myself.

        1. re: gaffk

          Don't forget spaghetti tacos! Granted, it's more of a kid thing...

            1. re: fourunder

              All the foods in that slideshow are just wrong on so many levels.

              1. re: gaffk

                I would respectfully disagree with you on the last one.....the Carnegie Deli Pastrami/Corned Beef/Swiss Cheese Sandwich.

                1. re: fourunder

                  My general rule of thumb is if a food requires me to unhinge my bottom jaw to eat it, it's too much. Although, unlike most of the other foods, that sandwich at least looked like good, fresh food (just enough for a family of four ;)

                  1. re: gaffk

                    My general rule of thumb is if a jewish deli has a sandwich that requires me to unhinge my jaw it is worth a 50 mile drive. A prominent hound did a caricature of me as a snake in bow tie, gorging on a sandwich at Katz's. It's proudly displayed on my fridge.

                    1. re: Veggo

                      I'd love to see that caricature. I have never been successful unhinging the lower jaw.

                      1. re: gaffk

                        She posted an image of it here, I'm clueless how to find it. It's dated 9/08.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            You are amazing. Don't reveal the secrets of your magic. And that's a very entertaining old thread. Thanks.

                            1. re: Veggo

                              always a pleasure. and i had never seen that thread before - i rather enjoyed it.

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Hysterical--wonder why it's not Veggos' avatar?

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Awesome! Lucky you! yeah that's Katz's. :-)

                        1. re: fourunder

                          Ditto on the poutine.... besides, it's not like most people eat that stuff every day.

                      2. re: fourunder

                        There's not a thing on there that I wouldn't eat. Some of it I'm almost anxious to eat.

                        My neighbour has been to Heart Attack Grill and said it's only okay. Nothing special outside of the calories.


                        1. re: fourunder

                          We saw the chocolate syringes in the Venetian (I think) in Las Vegas… it is disturbing watching adults walk around ‘injecting’ chocolate ganache into their mouth with a syringe

                        2. re: gaffk

                          Pasta on pizza is big in my area. I just saw "ravioli pizza" on a takeout menu for a nearby pizza joint.

                        3. Guy Fieri still has a job because he's excellent on DD&D. The rest of his shows we can do without.


                          14 Replies
                          1. re: Davwud

                            Just curious; has anyone eaten at his restaurants?

                            1. re: mucho gordo

                              I've tried a couple places in Seattle. The places were solid, nothing to flip over but still good.

                              1. re: dave_c

                                ive been to a couple of the places he has highlighted. no regrets, enjoyed the food, but not places I would eat every day if i expected to live past 60. never been to one he owned.

                              2. re: mucho gordo

                                My husband and I recently ate at one of his featured restaurants, Joe's Farm Grill in Gilbert, Arizona. The food was excellent and we liked that they use produce from the next door community farm and local beef. We'd be back there again soon except that from one end of the Phoenix metro area to the other is approximately eight million miles.


                              3. re: Davwud

                                >>>>Guy Fieri still has a job because he's excellent on DD&D<<<<

                                Excellent at being the mayor of Annoyingtown, from his office on EyeHateTheEnglishLanguage Boulevard. I still can't decide if Guy Fieddi (sic) or Sean Hannity was the last straw the day I quit cable.

                                1. re: Jay F

                                  As annoying as Guy Fieri Is, I would enjoy seeing him much more than Sean Hannity, who is both a bully and a punk.

                                  Thing about Guy, I have to respect him because he owns and runs a few businesses, and does quite a good job at what he does.

                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                    +1. and he's extremely charitable and generous. his style may not appeal to everyone, but you can't deny that he's a good person. i used to be one of his biggest defenders because i loved DDD, and though i've stopped watching it (mostly because i hate seeing them feature all the gluten-laden dishes that i can never try), i still give him props for what he's accomplished for himself, and what he's done to help a lot of these small places.

                                    i feel the same way about Oprah...i can't stand to watch her - something about her delivery just irks me - but i respect the hell out of her for all she's achieved.

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      We like him. We enjoy his show, and would eat at most of the places he chooses.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        i just realized my last comment doesn't read the way i meant it to - i can't stand watching Oprah, but i don't mind watching Guy...what i meant to imply was that even though i've stopped watching DDD regularly, i still like & support him...though i am a bit concerned about his health with the way he scarfs down so much fried, breaded, fatty and salty food for the show. he's looking a little bloated and not-quite-right these days.

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          though i am a bit concerned about his health with the way he scarfs down so much fried, breaded, fatty and salty food for the show. he's looking a little bloated and not-quite-right these days.

                                          I read somewhere that Guy actually only takes a few bites of the dishes he samples on DDD. Rarely more than 2 or 3 bites just for the camera. And if there is a need for a retake it's always of the before/after shot reactions, never of the "eating food" camera shot.

                                          I worry more about Adam Richman, maybe "worry" is not the right word -- perhaps "fascinated" is more like it. How that guy stays as svelte as he does given the ginormous amounts of food he eats on every episode is truly astounding.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            I love that you're concerned about his health. I can see why you would be too!
                                            I like to watch DDD as well, but his other shows completely turn me off.
                                            I find myself watching it less lately, because I'm trying to get in shape again and the food featured on that show is so unhealthy! The portions are crazy too.
                                            This should be an immediate turn off, but I think it makes me go into snack mode.
                                            I like that he talks to real people all over the country, and it's fun to see how they do what they do.
                                            I wish they'd do a DDD lite show. He could visit sushi bars and pho houses!

                                            1. re: rabaja

                                              I wish they'd do a DDD lite show. He could visit sushi bars and pho houses!
                                              i was watching it yesterday and everything he tried was either deep-fried or pan-fried in a boatload of oil & butter. i started daydreaming about what it would be like to have him show up at my restaurant - which i'm DETERMINED to open someday - and discover that it's possible to churn out high-quality, delicious & healthy alternatives to all the stuff he eats at these places :)

                                      2. re: Jay F

                                        Hilarious! I think I have met several other residents of Annoyingtown:)

                                      3. re: Davwud

                                        Agreed. I tivo DDD all the time.. it's entertaining and he's annoying but funny. Some of the dishes he tastes look pretty horrible to me, but others have actually given me some ideas that I've used. Some of the cooks he's featured have great personalities and others have some tasty looking food..

                                      4. I used to drink 1.5L of coffee in one sitting when it came time for the invited speaker presentation. People would gauge my interest by how fast I could finish my mug.

                                        Since I don't watch Guy Fieri my equivalent would be to ask why Michael Smith is still employed.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: wattacetti

                                          Best line about the new Starbuck's size comes from Wait Wait Don't Tell Me on NPR: Nobody who's ever finished one of their previous largest size ever said, "YOu know, I could go for another."

                                          1. re: jmckee

                                            They never met my husband, or his mother. Coffee cup ALWAYS within reach, from dawn to bedtime.

                                            1. re: jmckee

                                              I just wonder.. wouldn't a 32oz cup of coffee get cold before it's finished?

                                          2. Darn I really enjoy eating a pasta sandwich with drinking coffee while watching Guy,,, hell some places that sounds like a heck of Friday Night...hahahah JOKING

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess

                                              but what if you battered and deep fried that pasta sandwich? a pasta monte-cristo so to speak.

                                            2. My mother, back in her super hyper-thyroid days, used to enjoy a cold spaghetti sandwich when she woke up in the middle of the night with the munchies.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                In my Elementary School days, Spaghetti was served with meat sauce and a side of soft white bread and a “salad” of a few pieces of ice burg lettuce and a slice of anemic looking tomato (oh and a pat of butter for the bread)
                                                Hello, isn’t that just asking kids to make a spaghetti sandwich?
                                                They were my favorite back in the 5th grade

                                                I never understood foams, nor do I understand the point of what people like Wylie Dufrense do with food. Molecular gastronomy escapes me.

                                              2. I will watch Guy Fieri everyday, and twice on Sunday, if someone can send Sandra Lee to a glaxy far far way and make sure the earth never ever sees or hears her again.

                                                1. I *THINK* I may have heard of Guy Fieri, though there's no buzz about him in the circles I inhabit. I've managed to stay clear of most of these things, except of course for the cold spaghetti sandwich, to which I was addicted in my youth. I might like it still, if it didn't really require the kind of bread I don't eat anymore.

                                                  The biggest coffee container I have (Thermos) holds a quart, and when I'm getting the car's scheduled maintenance done I will consume that in one sitting. I think I could easily manage the extra three or so ounces.

                                                  My biggest food culture peeve is people taking themselves and their opinions more seriously than they do food. But then I hate that about literature, music, art, politics … it's the thing we're trying to DO here, you guys, not what we think about it or want to call it or whatever.

                                                  1. Nothing was finer as a kid than my grade school cafeteria pre-chopped spaghetti squished between two slices of white Wonder Bread.

                                                    I routinely drink 2+ litres of coffee almost every morning.

                                                    Guy Fieri makes gobs of money for Food Network (and for himself and his sponsors). That's why he has a job.

                                                    1. Have you never eaten spaghetti with a side of garlic bread? that's the same thing, isn't it? yum. i can't get into the white bread spag sandwich tho, just didn't grow up doing it.

                                                      my BF wants that much coffee. he's having my share of it since i don't like the stuff.

                                                      I do not have an answer for you re Guy Fieri.

                                                      i can't think of any right now.... maybe they'll come to me. but i can't wait to read that post about Veggo unhinging his jaw!

                                                      eta: ok, that was hilarious, top to bottom. alkapal should be doing illustrations for all of chowhound!

                                                        1. Liter of coffee? Sure, if you're a lightweight.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Bob W

                                                            Haha! My thoughts exactly.

                                                          2. I am baffled and peeved by the "pick and choose" versions of vegetarianism going the rounds. I mean, if you are going to eat eggs, and fish and diary, then you aren't a vegetarian, right? Vegetarians eat...vegetables, or grains and legumes; pretty much any form of plant product that is edible.

                                                            If you eat anything that is an animal product that would mean that you aren't a vegetarian anymore. I just find it too confusing to try to figure out what any given persons individual version of vegetarian happens to be. That doesn't mean you have to eat red meat or chicken or whatever you don't like or object to. Just don't call yourself a vegetarian. I do appreciate knowing when someone is a vegan, though because that's really clear, no animal products for them at all. I may not agree with that but hey, it's their choice and I don't have to cook for them, thank heavens!

                                                            30 Replies
                                                            1. re: aggiecat

                                                              It's fairly commonly accepted that vegetarians might eat eggs and dairy. Fish, not so much (as fish are actual animals), though I think in the 60s it wasn't uncommon for the term to include people who eat fish.

                                                              As you point out, a vegan is someone who eats no animal products at all; I'm not sure why you would expect the term vegetarian to mean the same thing.

                                                              1. re: debbiel

                                                                In the 60's, Kennedy was the first Catholic who was elected President. This brought Catholicism to many people in the world. Catholics did "not eat meat on Fridays". They did eat fish.

                                                                The rules regarding 'not eating meat' have changed for Catholics, but some people still adhere to not on Fridays.

                                                                It is one of the reasons the soup of the day on Fridays, still, is clam chowder.

                                                              2. re: aggiecat

                                                                No, most vegetarians eat eggs and dairy because you don't have to kill the chicken or cow to get them. They can legitimately call themselves vegetarians. Vegans are a more restrictive type of vegetarian who want no products from an animal, including honey. People who eat fish are, obviously, not vegetarians at all, because fish do not grow in a garden and must be killed before being eaten. It's actually pretty simple.

                                                                Personally, if I'm cooking for someone, I find it easiest of all just to ask: Is there anything you don't eat? I don't need to know the reason.

                                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                                  One disturbing trend that started in the last year or so is the "Haute dog". A bored chef takes a hot dog and gussies it up with all sorts of fancy toppings that do not belong and only serve to mask the flavor of the frankfurter. Truffles, foie gras, raspberry wasabi sauce are only some of the ridiculous toppings put on a hot dog that costs an arm and a leg. Well, let me tell you that THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!

                                                                  The hot dog is a simple unpretentious food that is best enjoyed with mustard and a minimum amount of toppings that enhance rather than disguise the taste of the meat (preferably natural casing) that should be the focus of the taste expreience.

                                                                  It's only a matter of time before someone somewhere stuffs a hot dog inside a deep fried twinkie.

                                                                  Below is something I posted last summer regarding this trend which I hope is only temporary.

                                                                  The hot dog is an icon and an important part of American culture. People don't want it messed with. Two unfortunate souls in New Jersey (the hot dog capital of the world) learned this lesson the hard way. They tried to bring the "haute dog" concept here with predictable results. After much hype and fanfare plus glorious reviews by the biased liberal media, the place was struck by lightning! A sure sign from above and a warning to cease their foolishness. They did not listen, and as a result their business died a slow miserable death. The guys were never heard from again.

                                                                  It was so bad that the rats and pigeons wouldn't even eat the left over scraps from the "haute dogs" that were in the dumpsters. Even rats and pigeons have standards!

                                                                  Contrast this to Rutt's Hut, an old school Jersey hot dog legend. You can't even get across the parking lot without encountering pigeons who are so bold that they try to take bites of hot dogs from people who are walking to their cars. These pigeons are so brazen that they routinely shake down rats for lunch money.

                                                                  Any faux "chef" would be appalled upon enetering this stronghold of American hot dogs. The decor hasn't changed since 1928. The only toppings you can get on your dogs would be mustard and Rutt's special relish. No kraut, no chili, no foie gras. If you ask, they not so politely tell you to go somewhere else. They stick to what made them a legend. Their loyal customers wouldn't stand for any frivolous changes. By the way, their relish is like no other and goes perfectly with their deep fried dogs. Created by an old German gentleman rather than some fancy pants "haute" chef. None other than the bambino himself, Babe Ruth, used to eat at Rutt's Hut.

                                                                  While todays "haute" ballplayers perform on steroids and amphetamines, the Babe, a true American hero, did it on hot dogs and beer from Rutt's Hut.

                                                                  1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                    Great post, hotdoglover.
                                                                    I seem to have read this before in another thread. Have you posted it before?
                                                                    Still, it is good to read some good historical account of the good old American hot dog.

                                                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                                                      Yes, I posted it on a similar thread and copied it here.

                                                                    2. re: hotdoglover

                                                                      Thank God for us hot dog purists.

                                                                      Have 5# of Don's Best Dogs in the freezer just waiting to be grilled for next week's Super Bowl.

                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        And Thank God for hot dog purists like hotdoglover, who write well and express things that most people have likely not thought about. I am hardly a hot dog fan, but even I was moved by the rousing message enough to remember that I had read it before.

                                                                        Thanks again, hotdoglover.

                                                                        1. re: Tripeler

                                                                          Good point T. HDL guided me to my favorite dogs to which I will always be grateful.

                                                                      2. re: hotdoglover

                                                                        The hot dog is an icon and an important part of American culture. People don't want it messed with. Two unfortunate souls in New Jersey (the hot dog capital of the world) learned this lesson the hard way. They tried to bring the "haute dog" concept here with predictable results. After much hype and fanfare plus glorious reviews by the biased liberal media, the place was struck by lightning! A sure sign from above and a warning to cease their foolishness. They did not listen, and as a result their business died a slow miserable death. The guys were never heard from again.


                                                                        1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                          I love rutt's hut! You are so right though, "haute"dogs are a very annoying food trend.

                                                                          In Branchburg NJ Geenie's Weenies recently opened with all kinds of fancy hotdogs, I will be curious to see if it lasts.

                                                                          1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                            I don't really like hot dogs, but last summer, on Lopez Island, my husband bought one from a stand that served it with chipotle sauce and jalapeno jelly. Don't know if you'd call that "haute-" I certainly hope not. But it was very tasty.

                                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                                              Just a bit further north, Japadog has been doing well in Vancouver.

                                                                          2. re: Isolda

                                                                            But you are killing the chicken that would have been when you eat the egg, right? Although if it's a non-fertilized egg that you could say that it wasn't ever going to be a chicken. So while I'll go along with the dairy, I'm still on the fence about the egg and let's not even get into the fact that you are killing the creature that was the fish, shellfish or mollusk.

                                                                            So it seems to me that for most vegetarians, it's just the cute furry animals that they won't eat and anything that's ugly or doesn't have a cute face they will eat? I just get tired of the sanctimonious tone "vegetarians" of my acquaintance take when they start on their soapbox.

                                                                            And truly out of curiousity, will vegans eat yeast? It's an animal after all and it's killed in the process of breadmaking. Hummm. I mean if you don't eat honey because it's an animal product....

                                                                            1. re: aggiecat

                                                                              And truly out of curiousity, will vegans eat yeast? It's an animal after all and it's killed in the process of breadmaking.
                                                                              it's not an animal, it's a single-celled fungus/micro-organism.

                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                I've wondered myself why vegans eat yeast - it's still alive. Only multi-celled organisms are worthy, poor yeast doesn't count? I suppose they could still eat naturally fermented sourdough with only the wild yeasts that gave themselves willingly to the cause.

                                                                                1. re: babette feasts

                                                                                  Vegans don't eat animals or animal products. Yeast is from the fungi kingdom, not the animalia kingdom. Plants are also living organisms, and yet vegans eat those. Because that's not where they have drawn their line. They have drawn it at animal and animal products.

                                                                                  1. re: babette feasts

                                                                                    well, technically ANY foodstuff found in nature is alive until it's harvested.

                                                                                    heck, regular vegans are practically omnivores compared to strict fruitarians - they won't eat nuts or seeds because they contain future plants, and refuse to harvest anything so will only eat fruit that has fallen naturally from a plant or tree.

                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                      SAY WHAT? A fruit fallen from a tree has those "seeds because they contain future plants" thangs in them? or has the Acorn, apple, tomato etc fallen WAY too far from the tree?

                                                                                      1. re: Quine

                                                                                        i'm not kidding. Google "fruitarian."

                                                                                        1. re: Quine

                                                                                          Or possibly on their head.


                                                                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                          Are they mis-lead? By definition:
                                                                                          n. pl. fruit or fruits
                                                                                          a. The ripened ovary or ovaries of a seed-bearing plant, together with accessory parts, containing the seeds and occurring in a wide variety of forms.
                                                                                          b. An edible, usually sweet and fleshy form of such a structure.
                                                                                          c. A part or an amount of such a plant product, served as food: fruit for dessert.

                                                                                          I guess so!

                                                                                    2. re: aggiecat

                                                                                      "it's just the cute furry animals that they won't eat and anything that's ugly or doesn't have a cute face they will eat?"



                                                                                      1. re: aggiecat

                                                                                        And I get tired of vegetarian stereotypes tbh.

                                                                                        1. re: aggiecat

                                                                                          The eggs are non-fertilized, so correct, they would never have been a chicken. So why do you see that as some sort of contradiction?

                                                                                          Fish, shellfish, mollusk: These are animals. Vegetarians don't eat animals. Yes, there do seem to be folks who mistakingly refer to themselves as vegetarians even though they eat these things; there are also omnivores who mistakingly call themselves carnivores. Sometimes people misapply labels.

                                                                                          1. re: debbiel

                                                                                            But there is an old tradition (in the Middle East) of eating shellfish on religious 'fasting' days when meat, fish, and dairy are not allowed. Modern science classifies shellfish as animals, but that does mean that all cultures have used the same categories or boundaries.

                                                                                            Vegetarian and vegan are relatively modern ideas, and do not exactly match more traditional practices and taboos.

                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                              Oh, I do know that PaulJ, and in fact alluded to the changing definitions in a post a few days ago. I just grow tired of the "Oh yeah, so why do vegans eat THIS" line of thinking. So, in this response, I was mostly growing weary from that and my response reflected that.

                                                                                          2. re: aggiecat

                                                                                            As I said, people who eat fish aren't vegetarians, and most commercial eggs aren't fertlized. Yeast isn't a member of the animal kingdom.

                                                                                            Personally, I don't care how people label themselves as long as they tell me what they don't eat before I make the food.

                                                                                          3. re: Isolda

                                                                                            What's a barcontarian?
                                                                                            Someone who adds bacon to everything
                                                                                            A vegetarian who sneaks in some bacon

                                                                                        2. As far as Guy Fieri, I agree that he is very annoying, HOWEVER I find Rachel Ray far more offensive. She goes ahead and puts her face on Nabisco products and Dunkin Donuts, and then turns around and tries to speak out about childhood obesity and getting families to cook more! What a hypocrite!

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: DetectiveGrace

                                                                                              - 2

                                                                                              There's a difference between eating a few cookies or crackers from a package, or eating one doughnut from the box......than allowing the child to consume the whole package or box.

                                                                                              Frankly, I do not understand the argument against the products endorsement and with correlation to suggestion of home cooking.

                                                                                              1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                Bubba Watson on the Wheaties box next week?

                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                  Who needs Chef Sean Foley....concentrate on those (inside) ten to twelves skirt steaks.......

                                                                                                  1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                    And no lips. He center-cut all of them. Impressive.

                                                                                            2. The sudden explosion of tasteless gluten free products and menu items.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                actually, the "explosion" itself is hardly surprising given the recent increase in awareness and diagnosis of Celiac Disease & gluten intolerance. what baffles me is the continued inability of these companies & restaurants to offer GF options that actually *taste good.*

                                                                                                1. Folks, this thread is getting pretty unfriendly and off-track, so we're going to lock it now.