10 Fusion cuisine
Food is the new rock ’n’ roll. We get it. It needs to evolve and is subject to the vagaries of fashion and trends, but do we really need to keep fusing cuisines in search of new combos and flavours? We’re at a point now where we wouldn’t be surprised to see Maasaientific cooking (Maasai Mara in Kenya combined with molecular gastronomy) or couscourrasco (Moroccan couscous mixed with Brazilian churrasco). Actually we want to try all of them, because we’re greedy…
9 Extreme calories
…but not greedy enough to seriously consider a 4,000 calorie grilled cheese sandwich or a hotdog so big it needs to be brought to our table in a wheelbarrow. We’re already ashamed enough about how much we eat, so we don’t
need to be offered a week’s worth of calories in just one big cake-infused milkshake.
8 Fad diets
We don’t doubt there’s lots of scientific research that shows a medieval peasant farmer’s cabbage and mule milk diet is better for us than the fatty foods we’ve been scoffing. We just don’t want to live like that. The same goes for the Panda Diet (shoots and leaves), Space Suit Diet (NASA-approved powders so you don’t look like an astronaut walking on the moon) and the BBC – Baked Bean Cleanse. Well-balanced, sensible sized portions and exercise. That’s the first giant step towards weight control and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
7 Photographing food
People are still doing this. If we all start ignoring them at the same time maybe they’ll just stop.
6 Hybrid dishes
Like unnecessary fusion, hybrid dishes put together food combinations we’re not sure we need. Yorkshire puddings stuffed with taco filling, sprou-nuts, barbecue-cumbers and matcha-nachos are all pairings we will try once, probably rave about and never ask to eat again. We just don’t need to create these frankenfoods. Don’t even get us started on stuffed pizza crusts.
5 Deconstructed food
Combining foods gets our goat (especially if you’re serving it for breakfast and calling it goatmeal) but separating them isn’t much better. The deconstructed food trend is a way for a chef to show off their arty side by separating out ingredients and serving them side-by-side. The deconstructed cake that was basically a pile of ingredients we were supposed to mix together ourselves was the last straw. If we’re constructing our own dishes then we’re giving ourselves the tip at the end of the meal.
4 Single-dish restaurants
Perhaps we’re just bitter, rage-filled old traditionalists, but we weren’t born this way. It was hearing about restaurants selling nothing but breakfast cereal, toast or crisp sandwiches that did it. We’re all for smaller menus and more care and attention paid to making our dinner, but the niche restaurant trend is in danger of being a joke taken too far.
3 Wacky plates
The same goes for hipster restaurants abandoning plates and crockery. We can’t separate the reality from the fiction any more. This year we’ve seen food served in mouse traps, on weighing scales, in mason jars, draped from clothes hangers, on a toy train set, by gymnasts spinning on a vinyl record player... Some of those are real and some of them we made up for a joke, but we can’t be sure which is which these days.
2 Food challenges
When restaurants announce “The Hottest Chilli in Doha” or a “Superchunker Big Double Deluxe” breakfast, it’s our obligation, as dutiful Time Outers to eat them on your behalf. Not that we want to try and eat a kilo of steak and triple side orders of fries in less than 30 minutes. We do it all for you and it’s not good for our waistlines.
1 Food trends
Can’t we just enjoy food without it having to appear somewhere on the timeline of culinary concepts? While bloggers argue among themselves about what is going to be “the next cupcake” or “this year’s açaí bowl” would it be okay if we just sat down and enjoyed a bowl of mashed potato without it having to be artisanal?
Will Milner is a regular contributor. We avoid using the word “fusion” in his presence…