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What Food Trend are You So Sick Of?

Zest, zest, zest, zest, zest. I'm so tired of that. And red pepper flake. Have you noticed but these days cooks are putting them in everything?

So what food trend are you burned out on?

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  1. Hi Natewrites,


    And sauces smeared on the plate.


    21 Replies
    1. re: I used to know how to cook...

      I'm so with you on cupcakes. I've never had a cupcake that wasn't a complete waste of calories. In fact, while typing the world 'cupcake' I can feel my mouth drying out. Blech.

      1. re: TuteTibiImperes

        Agreed. Never liked cupcakes, I still dont understand how they became so popular.

        1. re: dinnerwithfox

          It's for people who like a higher icing to cake ratio. I admit I kind of like that.

          1. re: im_nomad

            yup yup! It's all about the frosting (and the filling, depending on the cupcake.) This is a trend I love and I jumped right on whole-heartedly. I've never had a dry cupcake. They're usually moist and sweet and delicious!

          2. re: dinnerwithfox

            Kara's Fleur de Sel cupcakes won me over: a moist chocolate cake filled with gooey caramel, topped with chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of delicious sea salt. Sigh. But they're a tiny light in a very dark tunnel of dry and flavorless...

          3. re: TuteTibiImperes

            Indeed. Cupcakes are now invading the UK like a deeply unpleasant plague - all but wiping out our native fairy cakes. It's a food repeat of the grey squirrel invasion which pretty much destroyed our native reds. Please take them back.

              1. re: Harters

                We'll take back our dry, over-sugared, over-frosted cupcakes back if you'll take back your scones! I have no idea if what is being produced in most bakeries is an actual scone, but whatever it is, it's bland, dry, and greasy, all at the same time.

                1. re: Isolda

                  OK, that's a deal, Isolda

                  I suspect that what has happened on your side of the pond is that, unknown to me, my mother in law has been succesfully marketing her scone recipe to your bakeries.

                  The king (or queen) of the British scone is the Yorkshire "Fat Rascal" (although it's not a classic scone)- here's a recipe: http://www.waitrose.com/recipe/Fat_Ra...

                  1. re: Harters

                    Fruit, zest, nutmeg and not too much sugar? That sounds like heaven! I may have to make those!

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    Small sponge, like an American cupcake but less sweet (almost goes without saying) and less decorated. Often not decorated at all - or just the top sliced off, a smear of lemon curd or jam added and the top replaced. Google will get you loads of hits

                2. re: TuteTibiImperes

                  Ah, but you've never had my "kick-ass" cupakes (that name comes from a total stranger who bought one at a bake sale). Dark chocolate and orange cupcakes with chocolate-orange ganache (not a stupid giant glob of buttercream). It takes a whole 6-oz box of dark chocolate to make one dozen. There are good cupcakes, they can just be hard to find sometimes...

                  1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                    Do you not like cake? Cupcakes are just small cakes. If you like cake but not cupcakes, you haven't had good cupcakes.

                    1. re: sandylc

                      the 'trendiness" has ruined the good old fashioned cupcakes
                      cupcakes have become overly-sweet "creations" with a frosting to cake ratio of about 1:1
                      a good cupcake is now A) hard to find and B) costs too much

                      1. re: cgarner

                        Good points. I think that most foods have gone down that sort of route. Really good restaurant food or bakery food is hard to find these days.

                      2. re: sandylc

                        In general I'm not a fan of cake. I will make an occasional exception for punchbowl cake, German chocolate, or a very moist and dense dark chocolate cherry cake with plenty of cherries baked in.

                        1. re: Samuelinthekitchen

                          I prefer it ladled on mine because a smear just isn't enough. I had a lovely shrimp and grit concoction where a very nice helping of Demi glacé was ladles into the bowl on the side and quite enjoyed it. I really just wanted to drink, it because it was that good. The roasted pork belly didn't hurt that dish a bit either.

                      1. So tired of the gourmet burger wars - please make it stop!

                                1. re: irishnyc

                                  Hate hate hate foam. Give some sauce on a plate any day. Better yet, give me a LOT of sauce smeared on a plate with a French sauce spoon.

                                  1. re: JudiAU

                                    Yuh-huh! Assuming a good sauce: Lotta sauce - great. Miniscule, transluscent smear of sauce - torture.

                                      1. re: wekick

                                        Yeah! I know they say that we eat with our eyes and perhaps my eyes are bigger than my belly, but I want more sauce too! If I order eggs benedict then I have clearly made a decision to do a little artery-clogging - give me my Hollandaise!

                                    1. re: irishnyc

                                      I'm not trying to single out anyone who's responded to this thread, but, honestly, how many people complaining about the foam "trend" at restaurants have actually eaten foam in the last five years? It seems like a favorite Internet punching bag despite only appearing at a small number of restaurants.

                                      1. re: lavaca

                                        I refuse to eat foam. Period.

                                        It's still appearing in Paris on a regular basis.

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          Foam seems to have migrated from the kitchen to the craft cocktail circuit. I'm seeing lots more cocktails served with foam as a topping.

                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                            That's not really the same thing, though. Cocktails made frothy by the addition of whipped egg whites were common in ye olden days (before we all developed a fear of salmonella). They're popular again as a result of the renewed interest in cocktails your grandparents drank, not because bartenders have a particular love for molecular gastronomy.

                                            1. re: lavaca

                                              I'm not just talking about egg foam, like in a ramos gin fizz. A local restaurant is known for its pickle martini made with gherkin foam; another uses a lot of lime/lemon foam in their cocktails. I had one "re-imagining" of the Manhattan that used cherry foam. It tasted like rancid cough syrup. I think people have gotten used to foam in high-end meals and are coming to expect them in their high-end cocktails.

                                              1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                I would be very upset if someone replaced the cherries (plural!) in my Manhattan with cherry foam! Yikes!

                                              2. re: lavaca

                                                yea the old school cocktail seems to have made a comeback: vodka gimlets, manhattans, whiskey sours, real martinis (as opposed to appletinis, etc) i dont necessarily dislike it, its just interesting. like, everything old is new again.

                                                  1. re: cookmyassoff

                                                    And now rum and old school Tiki drinks are coming back. And I mean the real ones from Trader Vics and Don the Beachcomber, not the sugary fruit bombs that replaced them.

                                                    1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                      i'll take a good mai tai any day!

                                                    2. re: cookmyassoff

                                                      I loathe sweet drinks with the exception of a Cape Cod, but that shouldn't be very sweet. I love the old cocktails coming back. But, I also happen to love Wiskey in all of its forms. Love traditional martinis as well. I'm usually the only girl in my group ordering such things.

                                                      1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                        Scotch and soda tall for me, thanks. That is a trend I can support in perpetuity.

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  even if it's delicious and enhances a dish?

                                                  1. re: thew

                                                    what exactly is there about "I refuse to eat foam. Period." that isn't clear?

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      the why you would cut yourself off from potential pleasure based on something as broad brush stroked as a technique.

                                                      do you really mean all foams, like mousse and whipped cream as well?

                                                      I understand your words, just not the reasoning behind them. im curious.

                                                      1. re: thew

                                                        No, I mean those nasty looking messes that look like half-beaten egg whites (or something an annoyed snail would leave behind...and yes, I eat escargots...but not their slimy foam)

                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                          so , ten it isn't never eat a foam, it's wouldn't eat some foams. i think it would behoove you to try good ones - you might like them as much as chocolate mousse foam

                                                          1. re: thew

                                                            Given that mousse and whipped cream would be considered foams only as a technicality and are unrelated to the 'spit on a plate' foam trend, I think it's "never eat anything that looks like spit on a plate."

                                                            Food trend I'm sick of: being nagged into trying things by people who can't get their head around the notion that certain foods are just unappealing to other people.

                                                            1. re: mokie

                                                              a technicality? or the definition of the word foam?

                                                              eat what you want. don;t eat what you don't. i, for one, am just trying to understand writing off an entire category of food preparation. i'm not nagging anyone to do anything, i'm trying to wrap my head around around why they won't

                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                A technicality. Compare and contrast: Canadians, Brazilians and Costa Ricans are American, technically--it's all the same continent--but contextually "American" (in English, at least) is understood to refer specifically to residents of the USA.

                                                                Whipped cream may technically be foam, but it is not part of that molecular gastronomy trend referred to as 'foam', and to pretend that rejection of the latter must by rule of semantic pedantry include the former is ridiculous.

                                                                But if we're going with semantic pedantry, then this is indeed nagging: "Even if it's delicious?" and "So you'd cut off a whole category?" and "So, not really never?" and "It would behoove you to try..."

                                                                The why of rejecting foam (defined specifically in this context as "that molecular gastronomical trend") has indeed been addressed: 'half-beaten egg whites' and 'snail slime' just doesn't seem appetizing to some people. Technique for technique's sake fails when the end result turns the stomach--no one should have to ignore the urge to gag just because a silly fad has been placed before them.

                                                                More importantly, the implied "I don't like it" should have been answer enough from the start.

                                                                1. re: mokie

                                                                  I for one hear you. I feel the same way about risotto.

                                                                  1. re: mokie

                                                                    last time i looked brazil was in south america, a different continent than canada being in north america; but yes, all american....

                                                          2. re: thew

                                                            Because I think it's stupid? I like food. Not stuff that looks played with.

                                                            1. re: thew

                                                              I concur. I will try pretty much anything. If I could afford foamed food, I'd eat it and delight in it.

                                                        2. re: sunshine842

                                                          Why the hate? I've never made foam and rarely see out but the times I've had it, it was a burst of flavor in air, in your mouth. I can understand it can be over done but as a technique it is pretty cool if done right

                                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                                            It just seems to me to be about how smart the chef is and how pretty it is. It seems somehow unfoodlike to me.

                                                            1. re: jmckee

                                                              But it's made from food and should be more about injecting flavor into the dish. I understand you impression and the general dislike.

                                                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                because I. cannot. frigging. stand. them.

                                                                If I can get past the off-putting appearance, I find the texture to be genuinely nauseating.

                                                                It's great you like them...eat foam with a spoon if you like.

                                                                But if you're allowed to like them, I'm allowed to not want to be near them.

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    Funny thing I've noticed: a few eateries that used to serve foam on their tasting menus have stopped serving it. They now serve "air," which looks and tastes suspiciously like foam, but that just can't be right. It's not like people are tired of foam and they have to rename it something else, is it? Personally, I can't wait until they stop serving foam and air and start serving "wind." As in "the wind beneath MY PANTS."

                                                              2. re: scubadoo97

                                                                I thought sticking Fizzie's in my mouth was pretty cool when I was a kid, but it's not what I'm looking for in a meal.

                                                            2. re: lavaca

                                                              it's still having a heyday in San Francisco. and i like it.

                                                              1. re: lavaca

                                                                Because the fact it was even copied to begin with indicates it is the height (depth) of celebrity chef douchebaggery.

                                                                1. re: lavaca

                                                                  Au contraire; I was shocked, disgusted and dismayed to see foam on my plate only days ago in sf. And yes, foam is my #1 pet peeve behind people who actually expect restaurants to acknowledge their birthdays.

                                                                2. re: irishnyc

                                                                  I'm sorry to be gross but it meninds me of flavored spit. It has it's place, but way overplayed.

                                                                3. Fruit (like strawberries and blueberries) in savory salads.

                                                                  92 Replies
                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    I so agree. Although as a rule I don't care to mix sweet with savory in any dish.

                                                                    1. re: nvcook

                                                                      Took me ages, and my interest in Moroccan food helped, to "get" having any kind of fruit at all in my savory. And still, most of the time, I'd prefer not to have it. Strongly prefer. Pineapple on pizza is long since past being trendy, but the very thought disgusts me.

                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                        aw..so sad. probably one of my favorite kinds of pizza. =[

                                                                        1. re: dankshwhat

                                                                          Same here- I tried it on a dare and loved it. i like it with pepperoni and sometimes jalapenos.

                                                                        2. re: LulusMom

                                                                          Pineapple on pizza is just plain wrong unless you are making some kind of fruit dessert pizza.
                                                                          Just my opinion I know some people young and old like it but I think it's a sin.

                                                                          1. re: Magnapro

                                                                            I agree. But how does one discern what is "authentic" Italian pizza? Shouldn't pizza at least sound Italian?
                                                                            Wait a minute, didn't the Phoenicians bring the pizza to the Italian peninsula?
                                                                            Ten Hail Mary's and 5 Our Father's for me!

                                                                            More sacrilege; didn't the tomato and the pineapple both originate in the tropics?
                                                                            I do really agree w/ you Mag, but just call me the Copernicus of Pizza. I think too much and the church doesn't like either of us.
                                                                            Pineapple does not belong on pizza, it belongs on ham!

                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                              "Pineapple does not belong on pizza, it belongs on ham" - Amen brother

                                                                              I was speaking to a pizzeria-owner yesterday and he told me some guy ordered a pineapple, anchovey and olive pizza. His comment. "I guess he was hungry and did not want anyone to ask for a piece."

                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                Gimme the anchovies and olives, but hold the pineapple. Hmmm jf, I may just order that next time. Green chile is a common topping here in NM. Everything has green chile.
                                                                                I just got 2 NM green chile cookbooks at the library yesterday. One is the Green Chile Bible and the other a schill for Hatch products. Green chile this and green chile that. Bread pudding? Might improve Mac & Cheese, but come on!
                                                                                I am in a 12 step green chile program, but I get my fix in traditional NM cooking; chile rellanos, enchiladas, burritos, and this morning huevos rancheros.
                                                                                All foods have their limits and boundaries and one needs to know when not to cross it.
                                                                                Don't I sound like an old fart?

                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                  It is sooooo hard being an old-fart and always correct. But it is a cross we all need to bear. :-)

                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                    I don't eat fish, but olive, jalapeno and pineapple is my favorite "regular pizza place" pizza. Soooo good.

                                                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                      I must anal-ize this. Olives grow in Italy; good. Jalapenos and pineapple are not Italian.
                                                                                      You weigh the same as a duck. Burn her! Burn her!

                                                                                      I learned to like shell fish pizza; in Norway; mussels, scallops and shrimp; but they all are eaten in Italy, so I'm saved!

                                                                                      ps My Yankee wife says the jal-a-peen-oh, pinapple olive (green or black olives, California or Greek?) sounds good and that I'm just an old fuddy duddy and to open up a bit. Then I told her that I'm going to make Boston Baked Beans w/ black beans instead of navy beans and honey instead of molasses. She said wait a minute, that's different.

                                                                                      TRADITION! (But whose?)

                                                                                      The Dumkeg

                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                        There are many tasty pies that aren't traditional. I think pizza's evolved to be more flatbread topped with myriad ingredients. While I love the classics, some of the updated, modern versions aren't too shabby, either. I mean, baked dough is basically a blank canvas.

                                                                                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                          I hope you are sensing my humor in all of this.

                                                                                          PUT ANY TOPPING YOU WANT ON PIZZA, JUST DON'T CALL IT PIZZA!

                                                                                          You've just coined the next trendy phrase, "Flatbread topped with myriad ingredients." Patent it quickly.

                                                                                          I used to tease my wealthy Bolivian 4th grade students that my favorite pizza was called The Ronny Ray-gun. A plain cheese pie topped w/ jelly beans. Some parents made it for me on Valentine's Day, cut in the shape of a heart. I was forced by good manners and pride to eat it. The jelly beans of course had melted. Wasn't half bad.

                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                            I always just assume you're messing around. ;)

                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                              The Genie is out of the bottle. All over the world, a "flatbread" with various topings is called "pizza"---though it may not be anything like an Italian pizza. In Poland you can find pizzas with pickle, ketchup, corn, etc... also raw, cold cucumber. In Brazil, dessert pizzas; in New Mexico pizzas with jalapeños. These things are called pizza in all these places--whether or not we like it. Personally, I call Burma "Burma" and not "Myanmar", but still I have to accept that some people call it that.

                                                                                            2. re: invinotheresverde


                                                                                              i have no problem with any topping on a flatbread as long as it is called flatbread and not pizza. you could put some pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss and 1000 island on it and call it a reuben flatbread, but it ain't a pizza. :-)

                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                That's kind of like me saying I have a problem with someone calling a sandwich a Sloppy Joe that's not made from ground beef and red sauce.

                                                                                                Also, when does it stop becoming a pizza? With onions? Sausage? Bell peppers? What if those peppers have been roasted? My uncle is lactose intolerant and gets his pizza without cheese. Still a pizza? There is no ONE term defining a pizza.

                                                                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                  Here is the definition of Neopolitian pizza:
                                                                                                  Isn't food all about time and place?

                                                                                                    1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                      California Pizza; a contradiction in terms?

                                                                                                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                    if anyone has a problem me calling the original sloppy joe, a sloppy joe, nothing i can do about it, life goes on.

                                                                                                    at what point does a martini or a tom collins not qualify as most define it. if i add grape juice, or add orange slices, or how about floating some whipped cream on it. At some point things cross the line and it no longer qualifies as the original definition. some people have a wider definition and others have a narrower. just sayin'

                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                      "At what point does a martini or a tom collins not qualify as most define it"

                                                                                                      At the point that with its new recipe it resembles a differently-named drink/dish that is made according to that recipe.

                                                                                                      Eg, a "sandwich" made using a tortilla instead of bread is not a sandwich, it is a taco

                                                                                                      1. re: racer x

                                                                                                        Sorry, it's also a burrito or AAAAAAaaaaaaa, a "wrap", depending on the defination.

                                                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                          A "taco" that includes beans is not a taco, it is a "burrito."

                                                                                                          "Wrap" is just a goofy marketing term for a flatbread sandwich.
                                                                                                          A taco is a kind of wrap -- that is, if the tortilla is wrapped around the filling.

                                                                                                          1. re: racer x

                                                                                                            Sorry Racer, but in New Mexico a burrito does not have beans unless you are a vegetarian.

                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                              Ok, bad example reflecting my parochial midwestern origins.

                                                                                                              A "burrito" is a "taco" in which the tortilla is made of wheat flour and is folded on itself.
                                                                                                              How's that?

                                                                                                        2. re: racer x

                                                                                                          Sounds good...so where does a pizza convert to a flatbread? everyone has a different break-point

                                                                                                          and totally agree with your last sentence. a sandwich that has been a sliced deli sandwich since the 40's is all of a sudden re-invented to be gound beef and tomato stuff. just feel wrong in the belly and definitely on the tongue.

                                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                                            Pizza is made with a yeast-leavened dough, and usually is topped rather than filled (as opposed to, say, the typical pita).

                                                                                                            Flatbreads usually are made with unleavened dough.
                                                                                                            So a flatbread "pizza" is a dish in search of a name.

                                                                                                            There are exceptions of course.

                                                                                                            (Y'all do realize I was half writing with tongueincheek back about the martini and sandwich, I hope?)

                                                                                                            As for fruit in salads, I love em. Not a trend. A classic and here to stay.
                                                                                                            But I agree that pineapple on pizza is an abomination (and that that combo is not a trend, it's been around way too long for that).

                                                                                                            1. re: racer x

                                                                                                              I would disagree as to the "unleavened dough" description of a flatbread dough. I will not say "every" since it may not be true but almost every receipe I have seen for the dough for flatbread has yeast with the leavening time.

                                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                I, along with racer, was writing tongue in cheek, but if we're being serious, pizza was originally tomato, basil and mozz. Anything else would be flatbread.

                                                                                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                  and a sloppy joe was originally a deli meat sandwich.

                                                                                                                  Tie goes to the runner. :-))

                                                                                                      2. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                        I do take issue with people calling anyone's slop with pasta, meat and some sort of sauce goulash.

                                                                                                    2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                      Hey guys -- if you really wanna get picky, MOST of what you're describing as pizza isn't truly pizza.

                                                                                                      Eat whatever you like. Those who don't like it don't get a piece.

                                                                                                      (heh -- passdumkeg, we crossed the streams)

                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                        Sunshine, the River Rubicon?
                                                                                                        Now ya know why Boston is called Beantown:

                                                                                                      2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                        Tomatoes are from the new world and thus not traditional for italy ... ;)

                                                                                                        1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                          see this very interesting "history" of tomatoes, which states "The earliest mention of the tomato in European literature is found in an herbal written by Matthiolus in 1544 [3]. He described tomatoes, or as they were called in Italy, pomi d'oro (golden apple), and wrote that they were "eaten in Italy with oil, salt and pepper". This provides evidence that the first tomatoes to reach the Old World were a yellow variety, and that they were introduced via the Mediterranean." http://www.landscapeimagery.com/tomat...

                                                                                                      3. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                        pineapple and jalapeno go so well together - it's the whole sweet and spicy/savory thing that makes me love it!

                                                                                                        1. re: pie22

                                                                                                          Pineapple and chilli is a great traditional combination common in SE Asia.

                                                                                                          1. re: limster

                                                                                                            the mexicans in florida put lime and powdered chilli on sweet fruits like mangoes.

                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                              Lime on sweet fruits is also used in SE Asia. I guess the tradition is common because sweet and sour go well together, as do sweet and spicy.

                                                                                                      4. re: jfood

                                                                                                        See Gerge Carlin "it;s bad for ya" about old fart's
                                                                                                        A great bit of fun
                                                                                                        Just watched today and had a great laugh about becoming an old fart.

                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                        "Pineapple does not belong on pizza, it belongs on ham"
                                                                                                        agreed. and standard baked ham doesn't belong on pizza either. prosciutto, or pancetta, or speck perhaps, but not plain ham.

                                                                                                        to quote Danno/Scott Caan) on Hawaii Five-O, "I don't care where we are, pizza and pineapple do not belong in the same airspace."

                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                          Aw jeez, somebody once told me about a coworker who was going to order a pizza and aske him whgat he didn't like. He said 'anchovies, otherwise no problem' but the coworkery got a jalapeno and pineapple pizza, which really freaked this guy out. Well, I got to thinking about it, tried it, and now I really like pineapple on pizza, it's so good for some reason, especially with pepperoni. I'm just sayin', don't knock it if you haven't tried it.

                                                                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                            no intention of yucking your yum - totally your prerogative to enjoy it! i have tried it and it's not for me. i've never been really crazy about warm fruit anyway except in very specific applications, and in this instance i just can't handle the combo of pineapple, cheese & tomato sauce.

                                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                              I knew one of my best friends was going to be a lifetime friend when it turned out our favourite pizza was pepperoni and pineapple. No one else seems to like this combo -- and finally, I had someone to split a pizza with!

                                                                                                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                              Pineapple on pizza is just a matter of taste. It may not be typical Italian or New York or whatever. Who cares. Besides if speck can be on pizza (not a "typcial" Italian food, and certainly not from the region where pizza originates), then why not pineapple.

                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                  I've always just thought of it as the German for "bacon" in English or "tocino" in Spanish, etc... Though, the way in which bacon is usually prepared in the States (strips fried and served at breakfast or on sandwiches) is totally different from how it is consumed in German (or the rest of continental Europe). I also prefer it boiled or baked.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                                                    our "bacon" in the states is different than speck -- not just in how it is prepared for consumption, but the curing and spicing (and i want to say "cut" of the belly), too.

                                                                                                                    i buy speck from olli salumeria here in virginia. it is smoky, slightly spiced, sliced ultra-thin like prosciutto and melts in your mouth. i don't cook it at all, but i could if i wanted -- as if on a pizza or tart or in some scrambled eggs or an omelet. http://www.murrayscheese.com/prodinfo...

                                                                                                                    and here is the bacon that is the top of its national class here in the u.s. http://www.nueskes.com/shop-by-depart... most supermarket bacon, though, is not a s thick as nueske's -- nor really as "smoky." nueske's is really a step above supermarket bacon -- bigger, stronger, more macho. LOL. here is typical u.s. bacon -- http://www.kraftbrands.com/oscarmayer...

                                                                                                                    of course, there are local butchers that cure their own bacon and those can be regional favorites -- and quite wonderful. but i've never had any that were like "speck".

                                                                                                                    what i know of speck is that it doesn't need to be cooked. bacon does.

                                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                      I'm sure that speck as you say is not bacon. But, then I suppose it isn't exactly the same as "Speck" in German. There, it is sort of what corresponds to "bacon"--though the culinary uses and I suppose the cuts (not an expert in that) are different. I know for sure that it can be very thick, in chunks, or cubs, as well as sliced to varying degrees of thickness or thinness, cooked or raw.
                                                                                                                      I'm guessing that in the US, speck has come to mean something very specific and is not just German for bacon. Just like some parts of S America refer to any kind of pepper as "ají" but in the US gastronomic circles it seems to refer to a specific type of pepper. Or American English salsa (a kind of hot sauce dish) is not the same as Spanish "salsa" where it is the generic referent to any sauce (Spanish for sauce), including ketchup and bechamel (salsa blanca). Interesting how a word when traveling into another language actually is part of that language and changes its meaning.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                                                        I'd say the closest to American bacon in Germany would be Bauchspeck = pork belly. Which is sorta kinda what bacon's made of, right?

                                                                                                                        I'm not even going to touch the whole cured/smoked/uncured/whatever, as I find it confusing, to say the least.

                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                          Definitely confusing, and I'm really just approaching it from a language point of view, more than culinary, per se. The Bauchspeck would seem to make sense, I guess plain old Speck would be fatback? Maybe? (certainly not "Rückenspeck--in jest).

                                                                                                                  2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                    Which speck are we talking about? German, or northern Italian (Tyrol)? Or some other?

                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                      It wouldn't make much sense to divorce one speck from another. Especially since "German" as in refering to food (or anything really), as understood in its modern sense can only refer to things since 1871--as there was no Germany before then. There was, however, the adjective German refering to things German (not in the nation sense) to which things Tyrolean were included. Since speck has been around since before 1871, it doesn't make sense to talk about speck as German v/s Tyrolean. Then you'd have to talk about all the fine differences between the specks of different German-speaking places, and you'd be including various regions in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and possibly France. A case where the cuisines haven't really caught up to modern border realities.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                                                        Mario calls this 'speck' a smoked prosciutto'

                                                                                                                        It sounds quite different from the back bacon that others have been discussing.

                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                          It's one type of "speck"--the term is broad. Just out of curiousity, I wonder if "regular" American ham is refered to as "prosciutto" in Italy/Italian, since Italian for ham is "prosciutto". Hence terms like "ham" or "speck" or "meat" are broad.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                                                            If I want to buy Speck, I ask my German butcher for a slab of double smoked Bacon, which looks and behaves as Speck bought in Germany as I remember it. It is sliced off the hard skin and is usually cut/diced into small chunks, rendered and then added to whatever dish.

                                                                                                                          2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                            Speck is also a generic word for fat in German. Perhaps that's what's so confusing.

                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                              Is Schinken the generic German word for ham?

                                                                                                                        2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                          Yeah, really. Not much of a difference. Unless you're planning on having a conversation with the speck.

                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                            Or it wears its traditional outfit--no lederhosen if it's from north of the Danube.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Wawsanham

                                                                                                                              that's definitely ham in those pants, tho '-)

                                                                                                                  3. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                    Yes, pineapple on ham, on feta, on jalapenos, on pizza. Guilty secret! (This isn't public, is it?)

                                                                                                                    1. re: Suzettem

                                                                                                                      Hey, I used to eat Bolivian pizza w/ corn and enjoyed it.
                                                                                                                      In the CCCP in "69, there was no pizza, just "authentic" Soviet food. Grracck yuck.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                        ah, but now you can have Sbarro pizza right there at Domodedovo airport. Fear not, comrade.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                        What about pineapple AND ham on pizza? Delicious! But, then again, I enjoy the occasional sin.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Magnapro

                                                                                                                        pineapple is not a food trend. it's been there for years.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sandcake

                                                                                                                          As far as a martini goes, I would take start with a definition of gin or vodka + vermouth + olive. If you change or add one ingredient, I could see calling it a something 'tini. If you change or add more than one ingredient, then you really don't have a martini anymore. So I'd call a dirty martini a martini, but if you mix vodka, creme de cacao, kahlua and triple sec, it's a totally different drink, not a chocotini.

                                                                                                                          As far as pizza goes, I think that's one of the foods that the whole world has made it's own. After having eaten takoyaki pizza (octopus, mayo, fish flakes and wasabi), kimchi beef pizza and red bean and cheese pizza the presence of pineapple is not going to upset me.

                                                                                                                          And the above mentioned pizzas were eaten at Pizza Hut!

                                                                                                                          1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                            Original martinis contained orange bitters and a twist, too (minus the olives and vodka). Jus' saying'.

                                                                                                                      3. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                        I really like fruit and savory mixed--it's very big in German/Central European food (apples in red cabbage, blood sausage with apples and fried onions, green beans and pears, etc...). Delicious!

                                                                                                                      4. re: nvcook

                                                                                                                        I can not emphasize how much I disagree!! I love fruit in a salad; the contrast of sweet fruit, crispy lettuce, maybe some salty cheese and crunchy nuts. Mmmmmmmmmmmm. I am still thinking happily of the salad I had last night: arugula, nectarine, some sort of blue cheese (really good, just can't remember what), walnuts, red onion, balsamc vinaigrette. Delish!

                                                                                                                        1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                          Pears and apples, that's as far as I'll go. Strawberries? no way.

                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                            I'm with ya. Did not like strawberries on a salad, but I don't mind oranges or cranberries on occasion.

                                                                                                                            1. re: MichelleRenee

                                                                                                                              I love strawberries in savory salads - and I'm not generally a big fan of sweet and savory mixed together. For example, I come from an ethnically eastern european/jewish background and there are lots of savory dishes that are sweetened with added sugar and raisens etc. I find all of those dishes pretty gross and I am very thankful that my maternal grandmother felt the same way and passed down versions of all those dishes that are savory with no sweet additions. (LIke a completely savory noodle kugel for example. I simply cannot eat sweet versions of this dish.)

                                                                                                                              But fruit in salad? I do it all the time, and I make awesome salads, if I do say so myself.

                                                                                                                          2. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                            Now THAT sounds like heaven on a plate to me.

                                                                                                                            1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                              I agree that it is good. But when my Mid-20th-Century-Culinary-Hell mother in law serves strawberries on her iceberg lettuce tossed garden salad with an assortment of Kraft bottled dressings, after the Cheez Whiz based appetizers, the fad is in a place from which it cannot recover.

                                                                                                                              1. re: AsperGirl

                                                                                                                                Is it true that you can use Cheez Whiz to patch tires? :-}

                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                  Haha, maybe you could use the cheez whiz in the pressurized aerosol can (my favorite cheese presentation, by the way).

                                                                                                                                  I know you can dry clean clothes with cheez whiz: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/1...

                                                                                                                                2. re: AsperGirl

                                                                                                                                  Ouch! That is one un-yummy sounding salad.

                                                                                                                            2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                              I'm always going to like that. Especially with a little brie in the salad, too. I had no idea it was "trendy", or something people even could get sick of. Just ask them to leave it out.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                A fruit and a nut in a delicate salad with a light vinaigrette is delicious.

                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                  Like I said, apples and pears I'm ok with, and definitely nuts. But I don't want really sweet fruits, like strawberries or raspberries covered in vinaigrette. Just goes to show why they make both chocolate and vanilla.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                    Oh, and I love strawberries in salad precisely for their bit of tartness, and don't care for pears at all for their sweetness unless there's something good and funky like gorgonzola going on in there as well. (Spinach, bacon & strawberry is my favorite in the spring.)

                                                                                                                                    Bear in mind, however, "in the sticks" doesn't even begin to describe my location, so everything everyone else is sick of is just now becoming commonplace in our area.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                                                      Completely agree that a pear in a salad needs a funky cheese to go with it.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                        A funky cheese and some bitter greens, mixed i with some soft lettuce, and a drizzle of good aged balsamic... overdone? Maybe but undeniably delicious

                                                                                                                              2. Bacon. I'm biased, 'cause I don't eat meat, but even if I did, I probably would still look askance at chocolate-covered bacon, or a martini-type drink served in a bacon-rimmed glass (both available within a twenty minute walk from my house).

                                                                                                                                41 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                  OMG so with you on that, and I'm an omnivore. It is so overrated, we should all be over it soon. Besides, it's pricing itself out of the market- double in the past year, for Oscar Meyer? No thank you.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                    I will never grow tired of bacon.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: donovt

                                                                                                                                      I'd grow tired of Oscar Meyer...blech! I only eat applewood smoked bacon from my butcher. The best stuff that no one could ever tire of....no one.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                                                        This mystifies me. There are many foods I love, but I can't imagine not getting sick of them if I ate them all the time. I'm not talking about basics like eggs or bread - I eat those every day. But uni, stuffed artichokes, pecan pie. Is bacon in some special "anyone who likes it would eat it at every meal if possible" category?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                          Good point. Considering the OP is asking about food trends, my guess is the bacon poster has an issue with bacon showing up in various places...salads, bacon wrapped scallops, etc. Of course, that is an assumption on my part.

                                                                                                                                          It could be they eat it every day, but then that's not so much a trend as a habit or part of OCD...give or take.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                                                            Psst. *I'm* the bacon poster. And you assume correctly. But I don't eat it every day. I never eat it. Which is why I mourn a perfectly good uni dish being sullied by lardo (I know, not really bacon, but you get the point), as it is at Marea in Manhattan. The trend I'm bitching about - and it's probably waning, anyway - is the "whatever it is, throw some bacon at it" frenzy that has swept the nation. Or my part of the nation, anyway.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                              Oh you're the bacon poster! :-)

                                                                                                                                              Anything lardo on uni is sacrilege...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                                                                late to this, but i think i could eat proper lardo on uni everyday of my life. til i died an unnaturally young death. :P

                                                                                                                                              2. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                Yeah, I live in the south, and don't eat pork. And man, they throw bacon onto just about everything. Somehow it makes a beautiful piece of fish more "special" in the restaurant's view. yuck.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                  I don't know. That seems like quite a generalization. I live in the south, too, and eat out fairly often, but rarely encounter bacon on fish. Pork belly has been trendy lately, and pork products are used a lot, but not all that often with fish. For a while--but it has been a while--prosciutto-wrapped fish was popular. I personally love pork, including bacon, but don't want it on everything.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                    North Carolina - land of the Pig. Seriously, the fancy places in town often serve the fish with bacon.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                      I've only eaten at a couple of places in NC that would be considered fancy, and I don't remember the bacon quotient, but I can definitely see the porcentricity all around! (Attended two weddings there in one year--at both, BBQ was the main attraction at the reception.)
                                                                                                                                                      In the past few years, I've been in Charlotte about every six months or so--and almost always eat Indian food there (so no pork).

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                        Indian would be safe! And you may have heard about the famous feud between eastern (where I am, in Chapel Hill) and western (where Charlotte is) BBQs. I don't have a horse in that race myself, obviously, but man, people here take it VERY seriously.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                          I've heard lots about the BBQ wars, but you know, I've never eaten BBQ in Charlotte. I have eaten good BBQ in Chapel Hill-Raleigh-Durham area (and that's where the BBQ wedding feasts were that year).
                                                                                                                                                          I often forget that the south I live in is different from the rest of the south. Pork is definitely eaten here, but it's one of many players on the average restaurant menu. And we have no BBQ culture here.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                            You live in one of the best food towns in the world, don't you? NOLA?

                                                                                                                                                            I love where i live, but when I first moved to Chapel Hill the sheer amount of pork everywhere was overwhelming.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                    Lol. I'm a big bacon fan, but I've got to admit that the fish topping is a little bit much. I once had a stuffed baked potato from the Table is Bread.* It had an awesome crab/crawfish flavour to it, but they decided to burn some bacon and crumble that into the potato. Each time I'd crunch one of them, I had this moment of, "Oh no. A piece of shell!" and then the totally out of place bacon flavor would arrive and I'd realize, "Nope, just really crunchy bacon in this creamy, buttery, soft, and even squishy dish.."

                                                                                                                                                    * Not hating, I actually like the place.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Altarbo

                                                                                                                                                      I think that's probably one of my biggest peeves -- a current culinary trend, be it a technique or an ingredient, and some guy in the kitchen (I can't use the word chef here) who decides to display how cool and hip and trendy he (or she) is by using it indiscriminately -- so you then end up with crap food because you've got someone wielding a technique or ingredient that they don't really have the vaguest idea how to use.

                                                                                                                                                      Saddle of venison made into bourguignonne...damned crying shame to serve what was once a gorgeous saddle of venison cooked to death and beyond.

                                                                                                                                                      the above bacon on a seafood baked potato -- what the hell were they thinking?

                                                                                                                                                      Stuff like that that's just completely misused or badly paired and just highlights the incompetence of the kitchen staff -- not the hipness as they were hoping.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: donovt

                                                                                                                                            I agree, but in the "fashion" of anti-current trends and even then, shunned bacon wrapped filet and scallop and other foods that so readily take on the flavor of bacon. However, bacon used in properly cooked Southern cuisine should be elevated to it's own food group ~~

                                                                                                                                            1. re: donovt

                                                                                                                                              You can usually have mine, except for pasta carbonara. The way I learned about carbonara is considered an abomination here, but I still love it- uses bacon. and cream. So sue me.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: donovt

                                                                                                                                                Okay, you can have mine, if I can have your sausage. :)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: donovt

                                                                                                                                                  NEVAH NEVAH EVAH! the more bacon you put in things, make it the star of, the happier i am.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                  I go to a local gourmet type store that has a real butcher and get applewood smoked for $6.99. It's way cheaper than Oscar Mayer, and you get an entire pound.

                                                                                                                                                3. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                  but wait you missed the maple bacon flavoured coffee that just made its debut!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Yummer

                                                                                                                                                    Throw a pancake in there, and it's breakfast in a cup! I breathlessly await the introduction of the McDonald's bacon milkshake. And then, of course, the apocalypse.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                      I have a friend who has a bakery, and he makes a cupcake called "Pancakes & Syrup," which is garnished with a 1.5" strip of bacon.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                        i'd much prefer that as a doughnut.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                        "I breathlessly await the introduction of the McDonald's bacon milkshake. And then, of course, the apocalypse."

                                                                                                                                                        LOL. Thanks for the laugh.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Yummer

                                                                                                                                                          I ordered a Bloody Mary at a place the other day and they brought out the most wretched bacon flavored thing with a giant slice of bacon it it. It was gross. I sent it back for a martini, which was good. I am a drink purist. That thing was just uncalled for.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                          You must live near Traif.
                                                                                                                                                          We call bacon "meat candy" at our house.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Motosport

                                                                                                                                                            Not that far as the crow flies, but I'd have to hoof it across the Williamsburg bridge, so I'll wait for warmer weather to check it out. A good portion of their menu looks really good to me. And some of it isn't even traif!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                              I'm going to traif for the first time on Friday. Can't wait!!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: donovt

                                                                                                                                                                Please post your findings (on the appropriate board). I could be convinced to make the trek.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                            Ugh, YES... Here in New England, restauranteurs who I can only assume are not native to the region have taken to sprinkling bacon bits on CHOWDER. As a non pork eater and a traditionalist, I was aghast.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Basiorana

                                                                                                                                                              Isn't chowder traditionally made with salt pork? I can see how bacon bits would not be traditional but I thought there was always pork in chowder.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pranksy

                                                                                                                                                                yes, it's made with salt pork -- but it's not smoked, and it's not cooked until crispy.

                                                                                                                                                                Bacon + chowder = bad.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                  I know but I was referring to the fact that Basiorana eats chowder and is also a non pork eater.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pranksy

                                                                                                                                                                    ah, yes -- can't complain that there's pork in it (and not sure how Basoriana was led to believe that there wasn't) -- but bacon is worth a drumming-your-spoon-on-the-table hissy fit!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Basiorana

                                                                                                                                                                One- up-manship. New England restauranteurs, that have never lived outside New England and have no Spanish speaking staff and run a Mexican restaurant! Run don't walk to the nearest exit!

                                                                                                                                                            2. Everything with sea salt, especially sweet/savory combo.

                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: highforpie

                                                                                                                                                                but the fleur de sel dish soap at williams-sonoma is soooo good.

                                                                                                                                                              2. All the above, except for sea salt.

                                                                                                                                                                1. People with adopted food issues wanting all restaurants to change everything so they don't have to feel "limited".

                                                                                                                                                                  I like zest when it works, but not just to be.

                                                                                                                                                                  I did not like cupcakes back in the second grade 50 years ago, that has not changed for me.

                                                                                                                                                                  If you smear a sauce, better be enough for me to use it as an intrinsic part of your dish. If not step away from the paint brush/squeeze bottle.

                                                                                                                                                                  Salt is salt. Gotta work hard for me to appreciate the special of regional salt. I actually
                                                                                                                                                                  adore sea salt, have for years, but now that it is "it!" it is mis-used.

                                                                                                                                                                  Pork rules, pork fat rules, smoked pork and fat rules, But not the world, only a few specific places.

                                                                                                                                                                  Mostly I don't like picky people who to justify their "adopted" food issues, then demand everything to be that way.

                                                                                                                                                                  True food issues are major life issues, It is hard. No one chooses to have them for real. so those who adopt them to set them special apart are hideous.

                                                                                                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Quine

                                                                                                                                                                      I don't know if this is at all what you're referencing, but people who are not gluten intolerant/insensitive insisting on eating gluten-free. Why??? For people who legitimately have this issue, it seems like such an intense and probably painful process of adjusting to not being able to eat a whole range of foods. Why anyone would deliberately limit themselves in that way is beyond me.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                                                                                        Exactly. Unless you absolutely must avoid gluten as I do, you would have no idea how extremely challenging it is (especially to eat out - resaurants, potlucks, peoples' homes). I would give a LOT to be able to eat out without stress and worry. I cannot fathom choosing to do the GF diet. I would be back to eating gluten in half a second if I could. I've been to restaurants with others only to find I could not have ANYTHING on the menu. It's not just the physical agony but mental. Knowing I cannot have such and such for the rest of my life is utterly painful.

                                                                                                                                                                        Thankfully some higher end establishments get it but there is nothing like that around our area.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                                                                                          Well, there are some food sensitivities that won't land you in hospital, but are mighty uncomfortable just the same. I know IBS people who have had some relief with gluten-free or other eliminations, same goes for migraines and other foods.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                            im-nomad, I wasn't referring to people who have genuine physical discomfort associated with gluten intake. I meant people who have adopted some misguided notion that eating gluten-free is healthier for some reason. For instance, I know personal trainers that push all their clients toward a gluten-free diet, which is just absurd to me unless someone actually has a sensitivity or intolerance.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                                                                                              I think you'll find that people who adopt something like gluten free (or carb free, etc) because they have some vague trendy idea that it will be healthier for them aren't actually doing it with the same sort of painful rigour that is required by people with something like celiac disease.

                                                                                                                                                                              So they cut bread and pasta out of their diet, and eat gluten free versions of processed food, but they aren't scanning ingredient packages with a chemical dictionary to ensure food is safe, or worrying about cross contamination in the restaurant kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                              And I agree it makes things difficult for people who do have serious problems, because they are outnumbered by the trendoids, and aren't taken seriously because the last dozen people who ordered gluten free didn't really mean it.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                                                                                All I can say is AMEN. Thank you for understanding!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                                                  And another amen! My sister has celiac, and the trendy GF folks have made it easy for it to be trivialized. That sometimes results in my sister getting extremely sick because restaurants thing a little flour won't really hurt her.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: arashall

                                                                                                                                                                                    I know - it's unbelievable! Many people seem to get other diseases such as diabetes but celiac? Not so much. It is extremely frustrating to say the least. Most people have no clue that 80% of products contain gluten and that we have to be diligent with every single morsel that goes into our mouths, including toothpaste.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: mollyomormon

                                                                                                                                                                                Then there are the people who for whatever reason have decided that they need GF because they misguidedly think that it will cure some issue they have. They go around proudly proclaiming (almost bragging) that they are gluten-free, dairy free, etc... People who legitimately have Celiac can't even have a drop of gluten. It's serious. I feel like all of these people who have adopted it are really "spitting in the face" of people who do have it. The one positive that has come out of the gluten intolerance adoption trend is that there are now more product available for those who actually do have Celiac.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Quine

                                                                                                                                                                            People with adopted food issues wanting all restaurants to change everything so they don't have to feel "limited".

                                                                                                                                                                            Absolutely. And that doesn't include people with real allergies.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                              TY E.

                                                                                                                                                                              Those people who say that have an allergy to something to redesign the dish have desensitized the staff to those of us with ral allergies. Man up and say you do not like something and if your request is denied, suck it up. I do not like Uni, never have. I always asked for no Uni. Sometimes I was told nos substitutes. I just pushed it to one side. Or you would not believe the "exchange" rate between Uni and Eel. I could get 2-4 eel for one Uni. Now that's turning defeat into victory.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                (stands on table, applauds) This is one reason I hate eating out with my MIL. She claims many allergies and intolerances, so when my son has to declare his very real, quite deadly nut allergies, I'm afraid they won't take him seriously, or they'll just write us off as a high-maintenance table.

                                                                                                                                                                                And there is nothing wrong with just pushing the unliked (but not deadly) item to one side, as you have done. It's more polite and doesn't require you to give the wait staff a pseudo-medical history.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                  Here is an example:

                                                                                                                                                                                  The chef made a mistake with the side dish and gave me one with nuts (i have an allergy but not life threatening). One bite and Oh Crap!! I tell the server, she tells the owner's spouse and i walk over to the spouse to ask for the closest CVS to run for Benedryl. She is on the phone and keeps raising her index finger as in "1 minute." When she arrives I tell her I need a CVS and what was she doing on the phone. Response..."I was taking reservations for Saturday night." Insert palm slapping forehead.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yep- desensitized, or maybe just uncaring. There are those too.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                      and those who don't truly understand (or believe) that food allergies can be, like, fatal and stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                  " Man up and say you do not like something and if your request is denied, suck it up."
                                                                                                                                                                                  Yay jfood!

                                                                                                                                                                                  Why did we lose the courage of our convictions and start to skulk and hide behind allergy and sensitivity issues to try to force kitchens into kowtowing to our preferences? Oh- I think I just answered my own question . 'Desensitized' on the part of kitchen staff is a perfect way of putting it, I'm guessing they've been bombarded by people who vaguely and passive-aggressively threaten anaphylactic shock or vomiting in the dining room as a weapon. Chickenshits. You give people with real allergies a very difficult time and should be ashamed.

                                                                                                                                                                                  BTW, I don't like uni, either- thanks for the heads -up on the un-eel exchange rate. You have in fact snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. How about high prices, and weird combinations.? I am tired of all the new restaurants opening up with mediocre food and high prices. Fortunately, I want good food, and not what is the newest or latest invention of food. I always look at the menu online first, and then decide if the food looks like something I would be interested in. If nothing really interests me other than what my husband calls the default menu(steak), I skip it. We are not into pork, so all the stuff with the bacon, and pork belly etc. is not for us.
                                                                                                                                                                              I guess times are harder, and if I am going out I want to know that I am getting something I am really going to enjoy.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. Vegan sommeliers? Sous vide? Smoked lettuce?

                                                                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                                                                  Oooh had not heard about the smoked lettuce, care to explain/share?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Quine

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, I am also completely flummoxed by the very thought of smoked lettuce. WTF?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                      "smoked lettuce" = the money one has burned in trendy places with average food, minuscule portions and inflated prices.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                                                                        I have yet to encounter either a vegan sommelier or smoked lettuce, which makes me sad, since I like to think I'm at least aware of trends. Where'd you find these?

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                                          nor I... but I have encountered a smoked sommelier and vegan lettuce

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chickenbruiser

                                                                                                                                                                                            Ohhhh. That does make more sense. New trend: scrambled modifiers. Eat up!

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Describing anything with the phrase "xxxx of xxx-y xxx-ness."

                                                                                                                                                                                          Bowl of chocolatey goodness, plate of porky deliciousness....pfeh.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Bring me my spear of ow-y sharpness...

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: beethoven

                                                                                                                                                                                            First time I've laughed out loud all day! Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. cupcakes for sure

                                                                                                                                                                                            deep frying everything

                                                                                                                                                                                            the overly priced upscale sandwich - sometimes just leave a good thing alone & charge me less

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Pork belly. I love pork belly, but could happily not eat it again for five years.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Craft cocktails. I love a great cocktail, something new and inventive at a place where the people know what they are doing. But it seems that everyone is jumping on this bandwagon now, and many are doing a pretty poor job of it. If you don't have a great bartender, just stick with the standards. (FYI: I've had two experiences in the past couple of weeks with really disappointing cocktails being produced by inexperienced bartenders, so I'm a bit grumpy about it! Lesson learned, and I am going to order better in the future.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I agree with several already posted - cupcakes, foam, sous vide.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I know this is probably really awful, but I am really not a fan of the huge gluten-free movement that is overtaking all the restaurants. I like my bread and pasta, and I don't have a problem with it. I don't want gluten-free "bread." I feel very bad for those who have this problem, but I don't get why it's being singled out so much as compared to any other food issue or allergy people might have. Can't we just treat the gluten issue like the peanut issue? If it's a problem for you, ask the right questions, and eat where it's safe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  37 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Do you mean that the gluten free breads and pastas are only being offered exclusively and regular bread etc is now off the menu?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                                      As someone who suffers from Celiac Disease people have no idea how difficult it is mentally and physically to be unable to eat out much when it is your passion. I always have to call a restaurant ahead, grill the server on cross contamination issues, and then end up having to settle for an undesirable menu item that I desperately hope is safe. Where I live there literally are ZERO safe places to eat. It is incredibly, incredibly difficult. It is also socially embarassing, not to mention terribly restrictive. Imagine not going to potlucks, restaurants, bakeries because there literally is nothing you can eat. Most things are off limits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've had plain old salad without dressing brought out with croutons. Well, that plain boring salad must be re-made so I worry whether that is actually done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      So, it infuriates me when people avoid gluten in faddish ways as opposed to having to avoid it because it is a matter of life and death. (Not bashing you, rockandroller - just angry when I see celebrities doing this, for example.) There. Vent done! :-p

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                                                                        A huge number of restaurants in NZ and Australia put a GF next to items on the menu that are gluten free. Very common here, and it would be easy for your to eat here (currently on vacation here myself).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Really? That would be amazing. I have only seen that once or twice and never, ever even remotely close to here. I am hoping, however, that will soon change!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, it is huge. I'd say even bigger in NZ than in Oz, but both seem to take it very seriously. I wonder if maybe for some reason the problem is bigger here, or it is just more recognized.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Definitely, I do live in Australia and almost all restaurants/cafes have a GF opition, if not many or even a seperate menu dedicated to GF. Which I think is great to be honest, I know a few people who cant eat gluten and it's nice for them to be able to eat out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dinnerwithfox

                                                                                                                                                                                                                How incredible! Man, I need to travel there. So few people seem to know about GF where I live that I am almost always met with a blank stare (not a good sign).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Australia was a little quicker on the uptake when it came to celiac disease. They're more aware of it, doctors are better trained to observe symptoms and correctly diagnose. And the food industry is better equipped to accommodate people with the allergy. Here in the U.S, knowledge about celiac disease has been slow moving. The tests aren't as accurate. Doctors are less concerned about it. And restaurants less accommodating. Probably because of all the politics surrounding food and the corporations that produce it. It's tough around here to get concrete facts about anything at all regarding health and nutrition, if you ask me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  II can't imagine how difficult it would be to live with Celiac's disease. But I also think I understand, and see the benefit, as to why people without the allergy (or who haven't been diagnosed) choose this lifestyle. The fact that it's a larger movement probably actually helps those who truly have the disease. The demand for gluten-free food is larger, so the production of gluten-free food is, also. And I think some people choose to eat gluten-free because they're not quite sure if they have it (and know the tests in the U.S aren't always the correct kinds of tests), and some people develop these allergies over time. So, maybe they just prefer to live that lifestyle, just in case. It's a bit of a paranoia, probably. But, I completely understand it.... Gluten-free diets are also good for other ailments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MichelleRenee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We seem to be behind the times in Canada. However, I am pleased that there is some progress! It is not all doom and gloom. Plus our label laws change officially in August 2012 - all labels must include any form of gluten (now they do not which makes it tricky and annoying to always have to contact each company re their products).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I see what you mean about the demand for GF food becoming larger which is a good thing. Plus there truly are people who are undiagnosed who truly believe they have Celiac or are gluten intolerant. So, for those people it is understandable that they do the diet. When I hear of people who go GF (halfheartedly) as a fad it really gets me. Some try it as it is cool (which it is NOT) or their friend does it. But I'd love to see them strictly adhere to it, really and truly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    On the positive side, thankfully those of us who are so obsessed with food and cooking have an advantage of those who do not when it comes to creativity with GF cooking. I cannot fathom being devastated with the celiac diagnosis as a single 19-year-old guy working on the oil rigs, for example. Or the person who has never had an interest in food or cooking - they initially resort to purchasing the expensive and icky GF snack products.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, a true gluten-free lifestyle seems ridiculously hard to maintain. I read that you can find gluten in certain kinds of spices/seasoning, in makeup, lotions, shampoos/conditioners/soaps... and gluten doesn't need to be listed there. And, from what I understand, even the teeniest amount of gluten can be bad for someone with Celiac's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MichelleRenee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So true. I've become a great detective! Lea & Perrins Worcestershire contains gluten in Canada but not the U.S. W. Sauce is tricky to replicate, as is soy sauce. I've had to switch make-up and so on as you mention. Plus when you bake GF goods the texture and flavour do not even come close to the real thing. Spices are tricky but thankfully I like to buy whole spices and grind my own, anyway. Same with making ketchups, mustards, BBQ sauces, dressings and vinaigrettes. Thankfully I've made those for years before this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        All it takes is literally one grain of wheat (or barley or rye) to cause serious reactions in some. Thank goodness I am not a sensitive celiac but whether you have symptoms or not the damage is still being done inside (even with that one teeny grain or its equivalent). It is even more dangerous for silent celiacs as we do not even know whether we have ingested gluten or not (i.e. at a restaurant). Regardless, it is imperative that we are absolutely 100% strict.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thankfully I can have as many potatoes and rice as I want!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm currently in the Sydney United lounge, and even here they have labeled GF items. Cakes, all sorts of things. Much more than the options for me (a semi-vegetarian). Once again, there is one veg. option and the rest has bacon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have no idea, since I don't eat gluten free myself; but having been in the midst of this conversation i thought it was worth mentioning it. They only had one veg. "main" and that as a sort of quiche thing (never mind then, vegans). I realized later that it was likely actually an Air New Zealand lounge, which probably accounted for the fairly large number of GF things. but still and all, if you are a United customer, and want to push the issue, mention the lounge in Sydney and say "if they can do it there, they can do it anywhere."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: MichelleRenee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have a 7 year old son with a wheat allergy. It's moderate - meaning if he eats over a certain portion of wheat (like a slice of bread), he will suffer a painful belly ache for about an hour. It's gotten so that he is very good about watching his intake when he is away from us (at school or whatever). And we got a note from his doctor that we gave the school and they are VERY dilligent about making sure he has NO wheat in anything he eats. If only restaurants were so detail oriented. His school takes the issue VERY seriously even though his allergy is not acute or life threatening (probably because they deal with more acute cases routinely). But the pastas he eats - made with rice flour - in my opinion are just plain nasty and when he decides he's had enough, I don't give him any grief over it. I am grateful that Costco sells gluten free pizza that tastes good though. He misses wheat products very much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Cremon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          what do you think of those shirataki noodles? my sister says they're passable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hey Alkapal! It's been a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You know I haven't tried those - but anything that my youngest might find good that's a noodle I would love to try. He used to love eating ramen noodles and macaroni. The "wheat free" macaroni at whole foods has an unappealing texture when you bite it and it's tasteless. The cheese sauce that comes with it barely makes the mess palatable. I will have to try those Shirataki and see if he likes them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Cremon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              hey cremon! i saw some shirataki on sale, so i guess i'll get off my duff and buy & try! i'm trying to reduce carbs, so i'm anxious that they work. i'd be especially happy if they compare well to cellophane noodles -- which aren't particularly low in carbs. i could be happy eating an asian style soup with noodles for breakfast every day. ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Cremon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            corn and quinoa noodles are way better than rice pasta, but are also a lot harder to find. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: adventuresinbaking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for the suggestion. Rice pasta has no flavor and a disagreeable texture (unless its the clear noodles used for pad thai). My son doesn't like rice macaroni at all. I will look for corn and quinoa noodles - I appreciate the input very much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Celiac is common enough in Ireland that when I visited in 1999 the grocery stores had specially marked gluten-free goods; I didn't think to check restaurant menus that closely, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So that's another potential happier vacation destination, eh?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mokie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, it is! We travel to Europe a lot and it is interesting to see how countries differ in their knowledge of Celiac Disease. Some get it, some do not seem to have a clue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You should try asking for a decaf coffee in Europe sometime. First the eyeroll, then the caffeine filled coffee that is handed to you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Really? Everywhere in Europe, people roll their eyes when you order decaf? Not something I've experienced in Germany, which admittedly is only a small part of Europe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It was that way not too many years ago -- and in Germany, they'd bring you Sanka (ugh. Horrid nasty stuff)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now, though, you can buy and order decaf just about anywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (and I do get regular once in a while when the server can't be arsed to make decaf...just like in the US)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow. Never heard of Sanka. I assume it's that crap we used to call kinderkaffee - made from grains. I actually liked it as a kid, but now I can't do without caffeine. The world around me is thankful '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I distinctly remember getting it in restaurants in Bonn and Cologne in the mid/late 90s. Sanka was a US brand, but I don't know how it came to be in every restaurant in Nordrhine-Westfalia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It was crap, so I'm very, very happy they have seen the beauty that is decaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (I can't even breathe right without my 2 cups of high-octane joe in the morning...but after about 5 pm I have to knock off the caffeine or I find myself typing posts on Chowhound at 12h30....!!!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's so funny you were in Bonn & Cologne. I grew up in that area and moved to Berlin in 99 -- about 10 years too late, if you ask me - which you didn't '-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      that's still one of my very favourite areas of Germany (schweinhaxe or sauerbraten with a glass of Koelsch!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      One of my German tutors was from Trier, and the other from Frankfurt, and I had regular business in Koeln, so it bothers people that my awkward German bears a pretty heavy Nordrhine accent, from what I'm told.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sanka (sans caffeine) was widely distributed and seemingly popular worldwide-in the Middle East as well. Postum was the brand of beverage made from grains. I tried to avoid both on trips outside the US. They ironically were in competition with one another probably due to their instant quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Another brand popular in worldwide distribution and as tasteless was Nescafe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry, I didn't see your post before I said the same above. The gluten-free trend for people who are able to eat gluten is maddening and I can only imagine how much it would be for someone who actually physically can't eat it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do feel bad for you, and I *do* know what it's like. I not only have a very peanut-allergic nephew but for many years when I was very sick with GI problems I was completely lactose intolerant and had to do a lot of questioning and being overly selective myself, plus there were lots of "regular" foods I had to avoid as they set off my problems. So I do understand, truly, but it's really overtaking so many things now. Whole restaurants here are going gluten free, it's not just like a small presence here and there. I just don't understand why it's making such a big impact when I don't believe (and I could be wrong) that there are significantly more people affected by this problem vs. other legitimate food allregies and intolerances.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's not hard to eat gluten-free without having special menu items. Meats, fruits and veggies, tubers if you can tolerate them. Truly, not that hard and I don't understand why people try to make it hard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MandalayVA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The difficulty where I live is that there are no good restaurants that "get" cross contamination so I cannot trust them (i.e. gives me a salad with croutons, take off the croutons and return the salad thinking that is ok). They just are unaware. At home I have no problem - it is eating at others' homes, restaurants, events that is challenging for me. Not to mention the yummy food I can no longer have but that is another issue entirely. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. Small portions and cooks calling themselves chefs. (I love cupcake, by the way)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: beevod

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The entire "executive chef" deal. If its a multi star restaurant, then fine. If its a diner, your a short order cook with delusions of grandeur..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Sliders and the general trend to miniaturize foods. Cupcakes are being further downsized to mini-cupcakes that can be swallowed whole in one bite. What's next? Molecular cupcakes?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I feel a little like that with the mini-teeny-cheesecakes I see sold at farmers markets etc. I'm sure they taste ok (have never purchased, I make full cakes).... but for starters what an enormous p.i.t.a. to make all those tiny little things. One of the things I like about making cheesecakes is that it all goes in one big pan (and I can sell it that way)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The mini cheese-cake I can see - if you're single, it's not a good idea to buy and eat an entire regular sized cheesecake (or other kind of cake), and slices tend to dry out or fall apart more quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. cupcakes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            chocolate lava cake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            PBR in a brown bag
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            squiggly lines on dessert plates..prefer the schmear
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            short ribs..for Fakey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            regards to 'smoke lettuce'..I've had char romaine caesar that is delicious but don't see it much on menus..is that what you mean?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Any 'tini's that are not mar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Whoopie pies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. "Exotic" and "healthy" starches like quinoa and bulgur. I was actually so turned off by the trend I didn't even realize I really do like bulgur...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And seitan. If I hadn't grown up with it I probably would dislike it. I tend to dislike things that health food nuts try to push on me...which is why I try to taste it before it becomes a fad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Goji berries is another. What, was "wolfberry" too simple a name?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DJade

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Second goji berries! They don't even taste good, in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm also pretty tired of the whole chef is god mentality that seems to be cropping up in the new restaurants near me. I understand no substitutions, but if I can't have you hold the cheese on the gourmet burger because it compromises the integrity of your artistic genius, I feel you may be going too far. Of course, it's the chef's right as it is mine to not return, but the amount of restaurants I don't want to return to is starting to add up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What I dislike is this idea of the Great White Chefs "discovering" something for the American middle class palate that billions of people (literally) elsewhere in the world have been eating cheaply for centuries, and then charging a premium for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Goji berries have been an ingredient in Chinese cooking and medicine for a very long time. Bought at a Chinese grocer or pharmacy, they're cheap. At Whole Foods, not. But the average person is going to get their food pellet from the dispenser that they are familiar with. I guess we're all guilty of that to a greater or lesser degree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I dislike the fact that marketing people decided that the "Goji berries" name should stick, because it sounds more exotically Asian than "wolfberries" and therefore white people are more apt to try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also dislike the mystification of the East as an exotic bastion of ancient secrets. Asia is not a Zen garden. It's largely chaotic, dirty, maddening, surprising, disgusting, delicious and infinitely fascinating place. I'm convinced that your average Asia-loving Whole Foods junkie would absolutely hate the reality of Asia. The American branded idea of it is much more appealing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    my gosh, you're so right. I get goji berries (because I love them) at the Asian market for $35 for 8-12 oz, but Dole or somebody has little tiny ziplock foil packets of them for $6- maybe a couple of ounces. They may be fresher but i usually put them in soups and noodle bowls anyway so they plump up regardless. The Asian market is a lot less 'hygenic', with a lot of "gross" or unrecognizable products that scare people. I think they're interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You pay how much?!?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I can get a good sized bag (sealed) for about $1 or 2.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I guess I pay a little more than you, but at least I'm not getting the equivalent of Craisins (aka the generic dried cranberries) for a premium price in a politically correct mylar ziplock bag.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Where are you, by the way? I have goji envy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I"m in Taiwan - they're a totally normal and unremarkable part of traditional cuisine here, particularly medicinal foods. It was only in this thread that I discovered that they are trendy (I know them as Chinese Wolfberries in English).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, exactly!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I suppose what I find most offensive is the marketing behind these things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Someone, somewhere, decided that White People should know about This Particular Item. Out of all the thousands of ordinary, mundane Chinese food, the Great American Marketing Gods deemed that This Chinese Wolfberry should be destined for Greatness.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Who knows.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They're Asian, and a part of traditional Chinese medicine, so you know there's going to be an automatic audience of wealthy, Asian-loving, Whole Foods shoppers who will just sop up those unverified health benefit claims without making any effort to learn or know about the Chinese medicine philosophy behind them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also, perhaps their marketing potential comes from the fact that they look like raisins, or cranberries, something Western people are already familiar with, so it would likely be a quick sell, as opposed to the tons of other Chinese herbs which look like wood, or dried bugs, or have that distinctive medicinal herb aroma, or other unappealing, indigestible characteristics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hey, there's nothing wrong with them. I kind of like them in soups and such... not so much when they're covered with dark chocolate (Gojiettes!) They're a little bitter to eat straight, but they're palatable enough to my taste. I just resent people charging upwards of $15 for exactly the same bag I could get for $2, just because the package is fancier and marketed to a demographic wholly unfamiliar with the history of the product, or what a fair price for them should be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In the end, it takes advantage of people's ignorance of a particular product (in this case Goji berries), and that doesn't sit well with me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I actually find it kind of interested what gets flagged as trendy in an international market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You need something that's exotic enough to be alluring - preferably with some sort of ancient wisdom/health benefits spin to it. But it needs to be familiar and/or non-threatening enough to be saleable to a broad range of people, and safe enough that people won't make themselves sick though ignorance (water caltrops, for example, are tasty and look really cool, but have to be cooked to kill parasites).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I actually like a lot of the traditional medicinal soups, although they certainly are completely foreign tasting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now, if I wanted to go into the food business in Taiwan I'd start off trends in mulled wine and flavoured cream cheese, based on the reactions I've got serving them to friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ah, thanks for the heads up! I never knew what those little bullhorned nuts were called in english (and never knew about the danger of parasites either)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Here they get marketed as being from Tibet, which adds to their mystique.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Aha. I'm in Arizona, and just today I ordered a goji berry plant online. From what I read they may grow well here. Anyway, you're in Taiwan which is why you get them so cheaply.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Lucky you- they're one of the Holy Grail fruits right now, along with acai berries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Grilling everything.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But more than that, artsy fartsy "mock foods". Oh, I'll mix olive essence and agar and drop it in dry ice, then drop it into that artsy fartsy (not mar-) 'tini. Just give me an olive, will ya?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Calling anything a slider if not produced by White Castle
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Calling a Manwich a Sloppy Joe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sushi - just had this conversation with some colleagues.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Add me to the anti- 'tini brigade
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Calling something a pizza because it is served on a flat bread
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Calling something a hotdog when a cow or pig never graced the inside of the tube
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No-fat cheese
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Truffle oil, especially on fries

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wow...this is very cathartic...Thanks a ton

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        35 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mrs Tanker has made me add basalmic vinegar. Tasty when used properly, but on everything?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tanker64

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            have her take a whole bottle and boil down to a syrup, outstanding addition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            BTW - keep the nose away from the fumes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: tanker64

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm with her on the balsamic, but I think it has passed the trend line and become just an excepted "specialty food."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              >>>>Calling anything a slider if not produced by White Castle<<<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Is that where "sliders" started? I've never eaten one, anywhere, kind of on principle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It is very much a cult thing. I ate them growing up when they were 8-cents each.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Here is a history.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You should try one, but it may be an acquired taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There was a White Castle in my little town in NJ. I never ate there. I've never eaten at one anywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A good principle; they're called 'sliders' for a reason, eh?!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hamboney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i have eaten thousands in my life and no ill effects.As for me they slide off the grill and into the bag.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Must be my gut, had to stop more than a few times on the way home from Indy...oops, way TMI; my bad!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Methinks it must be time to try again, thanks jf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I did think they tasted great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: hamboney

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's not just you. I've always known white castle burgers as "belly bombers". That being said, I think they're worth it 3 or 4 times a year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For me, it's more that I'm drawn to burgers only four or five times a year, and I'd rather get a big one. Though I discovered I like Five Guys last year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          With none within 30 miles it is rare a get them any longer, but it is like a hug from the past. and i just do not get the 5g love, but it is hard to put a stake in the ground with WC and then criticize 5g,...to each their own. I ate at a place White Manna in NJ a couple of weeks ago, even Michael Symon did a show there, and they had an interesting presentation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You're lucky, jfood, i don't think there's one within a thousand miles of here. Only ever had the frozen ones, which I actually like, but I doubt they measure up to the fresh. Ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I love White Castle burgers. OMG. I had some when traveling. I think about them all of the time b/c we can't get them in Texas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Good uns; and calling Talor Pork Roll, Talor Ham, northerner!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah...dontya hate it when us dang New Joisians call Taylor Pork Roll, Talor Ham. "-)).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BTW - Just had some outstanding pulled pork tacos. And it even had a little spiciness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The breakfast buritos at my high school are better tahn amny commerical ones; green chile and chorizo, please.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            not fair...the best thing my cafeteria served was a half pint of chocolate milk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now pork roll I *loved*, especially on a hard roll with cheddared scrambled eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I just discovered truffle oil so i'm glad it hasn't been banned yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's funny, because I was just going to say I was tired of people trashing any use of truffle oil that contains an artificial flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            YES I KNOW IT'S INFUSED WITH AN ARTIFICIAL MOLECULE. BUT SO IS THAT XANTHAN GUM NOODLE YOU'RE SERVING WITH THAT FOAM BUBBLE.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: AsperGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't give a fiddler's fart about the artificial molecule, either, I just like the way that smelling and tasting the essence of truffle makes me feel. I REALLY like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                doesn't a fiddler's fart smell like a truffle?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's a nice variation in the right dishes, used with a light hand. It seems to me to also be a nice way to get started trying out more truffle products, like truffle butter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do have a HUGE pet peeve of people calling sweet mixed drinks martinis. Just b/c you put it in a martini glass does not make it a martini. A martini is gin and vermouth with an olive or lemon peel. Vodka martinis made with vodka and vermouth are an acceptable variation, as is making a martini dirty. Beyond those ingredients, it isn't a martini.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I LOVE martinis. Everyone who has ever tasted a martini I am having at a bar or restaurant hates them. So, why try to associate yourself with a drink you hate by bastardizing it? If you don't like it, you don't like it. If you don't like it, don't drink it. And, quit calling those candied up concoctions martinis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                >>>And, quit calling those candied up concoctions martinis.<<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                .,.that way people can look all grown up but be drinking a kiddie cocktail. ;-). i'd bet that they wouldn't be so enamored if it was served in a highball glass.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sweet bacon Jesus, this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pretending boozy juice is in any way a real adult drink is almost as bad as wasting perfectly good liquor on someone who can't even drink it unless it's masked in juice, sugar and flavorings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mokie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I actually like a sip of one of those drinks if I'm in the mood. But not much more than that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: sisterfunkhaus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  +1 I love REAL martinis. Gin, NOT vodka.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cremon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Haha yes, so true. One of my favorite things to snicker at when I was tending bar in college was people who would gripe about fruity drinks in cocktail glasses being called martinis, but would then order a "vodka martini" and think they were really drinking a martini.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: twyst

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Great way to get lots of tips, for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well of course you wait to laugh at them until after they leave :P
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I worked in really upscale places, we weren't allowed to harass the clientele even when they made fools of themselves :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: twyst

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My 1984 Mr. Boston Official Bartender's Guide has a section for Martinis. In this section, it lists the Vodka Martini.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. Truffle fries. Please make it stop!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Places with craft cocktail menus and no training. I've been burned too many times to take chances on a bartenders by ordering real drinks at many places which is sad in its own right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Klunco

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Duck fat fries. Like your truffle fries, make it stop!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Klunco

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gourmet burgers.$20.00 for a burger..please
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Fire grilled" everything.As apposed to what?water grilled?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      cardamom on everything.. yuck!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Donuts are the new cupcakes!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Klunco

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        +1 on the truffle fries. (Wow, I'm in a really hateful mood today.) My son's perfectly good steak frites was ruined at a restaurant last week because someone felt the need to further grease up his fries with truffle oil. Nasty, nasty, nasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. FOAM - won't say what it resembles but it should not be allowed on food!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Wisey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I should have read your post before I commented on the same annoying trend (below).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. gelee. really not a fan of the texture...could have easily just been a sauce or something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. There is an easy way to avoid all these irritating trends (and they are all irritating). That is to eat at places which don't pay attention to trends. The polish sausage stand where you have to eat standing up. The corner deli where you can get a sub sandwich with 3 kinds of meat for $5.99. The sketchy-looking Pakistani place full of cab drivers. The super-old-school Italian place with red-and-white checked tablecloths that hasn't changed their menu or their decor since the Rat Pack era. THESE are the restaurants worth your time (and your dollar).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. food other than candy in "lollipop" form
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                pomegranate in everything

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Ruining wonderful dishes by sticking in goat cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cavandre

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ditto for candied walnuts. I love both goat cheese and candied walnuts, but I don't want them in every salad I eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. The Hatch chile pandamonia. Go thirty miles in any direction and by the same chile at 1/2 the cost. Name recognition costs ya.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alliegator

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Double the +1 for me (that's a total of +3)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Panna cotta. Bad, boring desserts in general. And I still see tiramisu on menus of restaurants that should know better. If Asian restaurants can serve Italian desserts, why can't everyone serve mango sticky rice? That would make me happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        as soon as the big food wholesalers start selling mango sticky rice at 89cents a portion, it'll start showing up. :S

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I love panna cotta. My grandmother used to make it for Christmas or Thanksgiving. Nobody in my family liked pumpkin pie, thank god.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And it just could not be any easier to make. Love it, love it, love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Mango sticky rice = three things I'm not crazy about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            How do you makle mango sticky rice? It sounds wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I really like both panna cotta and mango sticky rice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But hold the cupcakes. I didn't even like them as a kid (not a big frosting guy, esp when combined with stale cake).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bob W

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There are a lot of bad cupcakes out there giving cupcakes a bad name. A soft, moist, flavorful cupcake with an appropriately sweet frosting in a reasonable amount can be really delicious.