Tapas

As long as humans have teeth to chew and mouths to talk, there will be food trends that come and go. Some fads take hold and become a permanent part of the collective culinary consciousness, such as sliced bread, ice cream sundaes and salt-rimmed margaritas. Other food trends are over before they began.

Have you tried them? Here are the seven worst food trends of 2013.

1. “Healthy” Fast Food. Big food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King are trying to ride the natural living wave by offering healthier menu items such as salads, fresh fruit and grilled chicken sandwiches. While these choices are indeed healthier than a meal of a double-patty cheeseburger, large fries and orange soda, they gloss over the fact that large fast food companies are bad for the environment, the animals, and the people who work there. You may be eating apples at McDonald’s, but you are still buying them from a corporation with questionable business practices.

2. Instagram. Seriously, please stop posting pictures of your delicious breakfast, your artisan lunch and your foraged dinner. No one cares. “I’m eating” is pretty much the most boring status update on the planet, next to “I’m breathing” and “I have to go to the bathroom now.” Save the social media posts for truly engaging topics, or else start a blog to publish your amazing eating choices. Maybe your mom will read it.

3. Small Plates. By now, we’ve all tried the small plates trend, cozying up in a restaurant with our fellow diners to share many different flavors, tastes and textures during one meal. We’ve also all realized just how much more expensive these small plates experiences can be. While the idea claims to appeal to today’s thinner wallets, in reality we all know that a menu of small plates means that you can count on spending more than you would have on one large plate. Maybe next year the trend will be normal-sized plates.

4. Vegetable Desserts. Dessert is supposed to be a course of indulgence, of decadence, of freedom, and of chocolate. Healthy eaters such as yourself dine on kale and eggs for breakfast, spinach salad for lunch, carrot sticks for a snack and several more vegetable courses for dinner. For the love of everything holy and sweet, dessert should be a time to let go of nutritional aspirations and enjoy a sweet symphony of flavors and fat. Dessert is not the time to get one more serving of beets in for the day. Children across the nation are crying.

5. Liquid Smoke. Smoke is a big trend now in the food industry, and everything from smoked fish to meat to cheese are enjoying surges to the top of the menu. But some places are jumping on the smokewagon, hoping to capitalize with a smoky cocktail here and a smoky appetizer there, with nary a fire in sight. Using “natural” liquid smoke is a quick alternative to create smoke taste, but it’s delivering the flavor in a very unnatural way.

6. Lichens for Dinner. Foraging for food is seeing a boom in popularity, with people in the country searching for mushrooms and edible ferns and urban dwellers jumping in dumpsters to find treasure troves of day-old bread and not-quite-rotted fruit. But some upscale restaurants are taking the trend to new heights by serving lichens and moss on the menu. While it’s good to know that we can eat these ground coverings come the post-apocalyptic era, let’s lose the ostentatious attitude and agree that some things just taste bad. Like lichens.

7. SodaStream. High-calorie, high-sugar and devoid of any nutritional attributes, soda is basically liquid candy, and SodaStream is a D-I-Y soda fountain for home use. While SodaStream deserves props for cutting down on plastic bottle waste, having a soda fountain in the home isn’t doing anyone’s health any favors. Soda is already cheap as is – making it even cheaper just encourages people to guzzle even more. Skip this trend unless you are aiming for obesity.

Image: Oscalito