Last year was surely something else: a year of unsetting politics, a year of continuous turmoil, a year of disastrous natural disaster. Amidst the chaos that shook the nation, we sought for solace in the warmth and comfort of food.
This past year, we played around with charcoal and strayed from the ways food is “supposed to be.” We layered things in mason jars because it was “aesthetic” and experimented with sushi in rather unorthodox forms. We even replaced the beloved carb-heavy noodle with a vegetable creating something unnatural and labeled a “zoodle.” Are these trends to become permanent fixtures as we progress into 2018?
Here’s what graced our palates in 2017, raking in the titles as the top food trends of the year:
To be completely honest, the bright green steaming drink scared me at a glance. I of course had to try this bright green drink that everyone had been raving about, and found myself in love. For those of you who don’t know, matcha is powdered green tea leaves dissolved in almost-boiling water and whisked to a frothy perfection. The tea is a known metabolism booster, is loaded with antioxidants, and even has cancer-fighting properties. For me, my relationship with matcha has just begun and will not wither in 2018.
Acquiring a fan base due to their presumably detoxifying capabilities and aesthetically interesting presentation, charcoal foods found their way to the top last year. What is it? Well, just as the name states, it’s food enhanced with activated charcoal powder, spanning all the way from hamburger buns to soft serve. “Activated” means it is supposed to detoxify the body because of ion bondage and removal, or something überscientific like that. Sounds like an interesting healthy treat, but critics claimed that it turned their teeth momentarily black, had a less-than-pleasant grainy texture, and didn’t score high in the flavor category. I think 2018 will pass on this one though this was a major trend in 2017.
Burgers are cool. Sushi is cool. Sushi burgers?! What?? After first making their appearance in 2016, these bad boys were devoured by foodies and popularized more so this past year. No chopsticks needed. With buns formulated from rice and filled with sushi inners such as tuna, salmon, avocado and mango, the sushi burger took over social media. Beware though, as it registers almost impossible to devour neatly.
Kombucha is not new, dating back to 220 B.C. in China. A fizzy, black tea ranging in flavors, kombucha is created through a double fermentation process involving bacteria and yeast. With words like bacteria, yeast and fermentation involved in the description, how the hell did it become a trendy drink choice in 2017? Probiotics and enzymes provide immune support, increased energy, and help the digestive system run smoothly. Millennials love it and lap it up, willing to pay upwards of $7 for a glass of this stuff. If you can handle the intense carbonation and slightly alcoholic taste, I would continue with this one.
Rolled Ice Cream
As much as I love a good ol’ carton of Ben and Jerry’s, rolled ice cream is a gift from heaven. Well, from Thailand actually. A cooled metal plate, reaching temperatures colder than I want to think about in this frigid Chicago winter, is covered in a layer of cream base, tossed around with an array of cookies and candies mixed in, spread smooth by a spatula, and then scraped into rolls that fit snugly in a cup. Toppings are added, and then voilà, one of the most rage worthy desserts of the year.
What’s more #fun and #quirky than eggs that look like clouds? Actually, a lot of things. These are a one time, if that, food venture. As if mornings aren’t busy enough, you have to separate the yolk from the egg, whip up the egg whites until stiff peaks form, bake egg whites for a few minutes with a gap for the missing yolk, plop the yolk in, and bake for a tad more. And if that wasn’t too extra already, they taste like egg-infused marshmallow with a less than satisfying light texture. Don’t get me wrong, I love trying new things; but, don’t f*ck with my breakfast staple, Instagram foodies.
While we are still thinking about eggs, they were not all a total flop this year. The best kind of porn is yolk porn, oozing bright yellow contrasting so elegantly against the simple pepper-speckled egg white. Yolk glazed over avocado toast, spilled onto bread, or spilled over diced potatoes deserves all the fame it can get.
Easy to eat, fairly priced and filling, I can see why poké shops began popping up all over in 2017. Bowls themselves, have been on the rise, like decadent smoothie bowls and refreshing buddha bowls, poké bowls are no exception. These bowls are packed with rice, raw, marinated sushi-grade fish, veggies and sauces, culminating into a delicious, relatively healthy meal full of fresh flavors. If you can’t vacation in Hawaii, settle for a poké bowl because it’s basically the same thing, well maybe it’s not but still its the closest thing in this horrible weather.
The majestic, mythical creature took its toll on the culinary scene this past year, with the psychedelic range of hues in anything and everything edible. Outlandish ombré pastels and ROYGBIV color order showed up in bagels, breads, bowls and baked goods. For breakfast, 2017 served up unicorn toast, an artificially colored and well decorated slice of bread, paired with a unicorn latte following the same color scheme. A splash of color was nice to contrast the gloom of the charcoal trend, but this fad may have gone too overboard to make another appearance in the new year.
As a child, cauliflower seemed like a bland, boring broccoli; steamed and pushed around aimlessly on my plate, or cold and left untouched on the party’s veggie tray. After 2017 exposed all there is to do with it, cauliflower is nothing less than brilliant. The possibilities are endless: cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower “tater” tots, cauliflower mac and cheese, and buffalo cauliflower (my personal favorite). Restaurants and bloggers finally took notice in 2017, and thank God they did.
This Filipino, purple yam stepped into the limelight when the deep purple vegetable became an ingredient in ice creams, pastries, breads and desserts. The natural vivid coloring is a nice alternative to the overwhelming artificialness we saw in the unicorn trend. Sweet, rich in antioxidants, and unique, ube could be found in foodie hotspots like New York and Los Angeles in 2017. What does the future have in store for this violet superstar?
It was quite the year in food trends, if I’d have to say so myself. At least 2017 did some things right, and I am excited for what 2018 has in store for us.