I’m pretty sure it was the episode of “Sex and The City” where Carrie went to the (now very famous) Magnolia bakery and dived head first into a cupcake, that made them take off as a ‘food trend’ faster than the speed of light. It’s not as if people weren’t eating them before that, of course they were, cupcakes have been around forever, (well, since the early nineteenth century, to be more precise!) It’s just that their appearance on the hit show made them all of a sudden “trendy”, “desirable,” a “must have.”
Like fashion, food also has fads and phases. There are times when certain foods are “in” and times when they’re “out.” That’s not to say you have to eat them when they’re in, and that you’re not allowed to eat them when they’re out. That’d be like telling someone that they were forbidden from wearing a hypercolour t-shirt because it’s not 1991. But, without question, there are times when it’s all the rage to be eating something and then, seemingly rather quickly, it’s not. I mean, if you were to go to a friends place for dinner and on the menu were Prawn cocktails, ‘Devils on horseback’ and Chocolate mousse served with whipped cream and fanned strawberries, you’d be hoping the evening had a 1980’s theme. Serve that up today and (unless your guests were too polite to say anything or just very grateful for the feed) you may be laughed at.
So while there are still a very large number of cupcake bakeries around that appear to be doing reasonably well, gone are the days of the nightclub-style, three hour queue out the front of the store to buy one. Gone are the signs in the window stating “Only six cupcakes per person. We want to ensure that everybody who has lined up for these sweet treats today gets some.” Gone are the ‘celebrity cupcake endorsers.’ In fact, I think these things have been gone for a while, and the reason for that is that the next trend came in with such a bang that it knocked them out. And what was that next thing? Why the macaron, of course!
The macaron. A crispy-shelled, creamy-filled delight that makes its consumer weak at the knees. Typically served in jewelry-like boxes and often dusted with gold leaf, how could we not fall in love? Across the globe, plenty of big names were churning these out. But now? Now you can find packet mix on your supermarket shelf that allows you to be the master chef in the comfort of your own home, pumping them out for friends 20 at a time, no problem. We’re on to the next big thing.
After this came the cakepop. I must admit, this is one trend I personally didn’t buy into. I really am not sure why, but the thought of them just never appealed to me. And again, like cupcakes, the varieties were endless. Creative, crazy and clever, every flavour imaginable was invented and sold to whoever felt that they may be missing out! Or, who just liked the taste!
Desserts in jars, in fact all foods in jars, became a hit after the cakepop. For a while there you couldn’t attend a bridal shower, baby shower, or even dinner party without being handed a jar and spoon at some point throughout the function. To be honest though, cakes in jars just don’t make sense to me. When I eat cake, (and this is a real first world issue), I like to attack it from every angle. Not just from the top but from underneath, from the sides and often, straight through the middle of the slice. Call me crazy.
Frozen yoghurt, churros, and salted caramel everything have also come and gone as fads recently, but this piece would not be complete without the mention of the trend of the moment. The deep fried, layered, crispy mound off deliciousness that is ‘The Cronut.’ Half croissant, half doughnut, conceived in New York City by Chef Dominique Ansel, this is the food fad that people around the world are losing their shit over. I have not been to NYC to sample Ansel’s creation but (unfortunately) my local patisserie has started selling them and so I have had my fair share to date and can confirm that they are incredible.
But like cupcakes, macarons and desserts in jars before them, their time will no doubt be limited. Which begs the question, what will be next!?
What has been your favourite food fad of recent time? Have you embraced them all? Tried a cronut yet?