You know it’s December because your feed is clogged with Lists Of The Year, telling you what mattered in the year gone by. On Mamamia, you can tell us. Over the final few days of 2015, we’re running a series of essays on the issues that made 2015. Then, you tell us which one defines the year to you. Welcome. It was quite a year.
2015. It was the year all meals came with a side of shame, suggested hashtags and kale.
This year will forever go down as the year it became socially acceptable to pay $13 for a smoothie. It was the year everything gave you cancer. And it was the year everyone, from WAGs to My Kitchen Rules judges, passed judgement on what you bought, what you ate and when you ate it.
No one quite knew what açaí was – or how to pronounce it – but they ate it anyway because a wellness ‘guru’ on the internet said it was a worthwhile thing to do.
Sarah “I Quit Sugar” Wilson continued to tell us that sugar could stick it. Her I Quit Sugar Facebook page reached almost one million ‘likes’, and her books continued to dominate bookseller’s top 20 lists. And yet meanwhile, sales of artisan jam-filled donuts skyrocketed and calorie-heavy hipster milkshakes actually made people want to visit Canberra.
Paleo Pete said bacon was okay, but the World Health Organisation insisted that too much of it could give you cancer.
The popularity of green smoothies continued to rise and, according to news reports, so did the CO2 emissions and water usage rates from the number of people acting responsibly and growing their own vegetables.
There was a whole section of the beverage aisle dedicated to coconut water. Pete Evans released his own range. And then Doctor Karl told us that all those claims about coconut water being supremely hydrating were bollocks.
Supermarkets slapped the words ‘gluten free’ on bags of rice and charged you an extra $5. It wasn’t unreasonable to pay $7 for 600mls of alkalized water. And $15.50 became the standard price for a bowl of porridge at your local hipster breakfast joint.
Reading a cafe menu required a double degree in food science and 21st century wanker-ism. Salt was superior if it came from the Himalayas. Water was often renamed as ‘filtered H20’. And no one questioned why honey on their buckwheat pancakes was marked as ‘raw’.
Want to make one of those epic milkshakes? Well, why would you? But just in case…
Avocado on toast was fancy. Food trucks were revived. Grilled cheese sandwiches were cool again and after years of being considered ‘daggy’, even the Kraft Single was rumoured for a comeback.
Rumours about that ‘worldwide Nutella shortage’ continued to flood the news cycle. Meanwhile, $12.95 and the patience to wait 30 minutes could get you a personalised jar at Myer.
Everyone was gluten free, but very few people were actually gluten intolerant. Cafes shamed you for ordering skinny milk, but society judged you for not. And a trip to the store wasn’t complete without a small breakdown in the milk aisle over which one to buy.
And just when we all thought ‘f**k this, we’ll just go back to the healthy eating pyramid,’ that model changed too.
In May 2015, Nutrition Australia announced a new healthy eating food pyramid. There was less emphasis on grains and cereals, more on fruits, vegetables and legumes, and a big dirty red cross through salt and added sugar.
Confusing. That’s how I’d describe this year in food.
On a positive note, we all seemed to take more of an interest in the quality of our produce and the nutritional value of our food. It was refreshing to see people eating a donut and not caring about calories.
But navigating the contradictory messages from experts about the ‘correct’ way to eat, coupled with advances from cronut-yielding hipsters, and rising superfood debts left many of us wishing for simpler times.
And that’s why I’d like to leave you with one final news story about food for the year.
The story of USA’s Susannah Mushatt Jones made headlines back in July. Jones is 116 years old and (probably) the oldest person in the world. She is one of just two known living people born in the 1800s.
The secret to her longevity? Jones says she’s never smoked, she has a good night’s sleep every evening – up to 10 hours – and she has a serve of bacon for breakfast every single morning.
What was the food you became obsessed with in 2015?