Monday, December 2, 2019

Around the Kitchen Table: Food Fads + #BookGiveaway



Around the Kitchen Table 

What do chocolate fondue and kale have in common? They started as fads fueled by a public relations campaign. Food fads fascinate me. 


While writing Final Fondue, my 3rd Five-Ingredient Mystery, I learned about the PR behind fads from a book I devoured—The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up with Fondue by David Sax. Fondue, hugely popular in the 1970s, has since fallen out of favor, though never disappeared entirely. Will kale meet the same fate?

Maybe not, because some food fads persist. Greek yogurt was mostly unknown in the U.S. until 1990s. Thirty years ago yogurt occupied a small space of the dairy section. Today it has its own aisle in my supermarket. Grocery-cart traffic jams are the norm in that aisle, and you need an eagle eye to find a non-Greek yogurt. I never cared for yogurt before the Greek version became available, but now I have it for breakfast every day.

Another food fad with staying power began when Starbucks introduced Pumpkin Spice Latte in the early 2000s. Nowadays, pumpkin and/or the spices associated with it (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger) turn up in all kinds of food. My least favorite time to shop at Trader Joe’s is the fall, when items I regularly buy at the store disappear to make way for pumpkin somethings.  

Lately, avocado toast has popped up everywhere. I love avocados. I love toast. The combination with stuff on top does nothing for me. I’ve tried it in a seafood-and-steak eatery, a national chain, and in an elegant restaurant Zagat extols for its afternoon tea. Both times avocado toast left me cold, though I enjoy guacamole on fish, meat, or veggie burgers. I expect avocado toast to fade away, but you never know. Last night a bistro we often visit for happy hour had a new menu item—cheese fondue. 

So, what current or recent food fads do you like or hate? Have you incorporated any food fads from the past into your cooking? What fads have staying power and which are doomed to die?
~MAYA

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LESLIE: Fun conversation, Maya! Since I live in the back of beyond, many food fads have passed me right by. By the time kale chips showed up on my local grocer's shelves, they were mainstream! And, they're not for me. Kale itself I quite enjoy -- turns out I've posted several kale recipes in my nearly 5 years on the blog. Love this simple Sauteed Kale, this yummy Kale Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing, and this Penne Pasta with Kale and White Beans, which became what it did only because I couldn't find the ingredients the original recipe called for!

Chai's been trendy the last few years, but I suspect that like kale and pumpkin pie spice, it's gone mainstream. I had fun playing with it in CHAI ANOTHER DAY. Not long ago, I read an article in Taste magazine about the rise and fall of sundried tomaotes. Seems they became so popular that suppliers couldn't keep up and began rushing the process, turning it from artisanal to industrial, and losing much of the flavor and appeal. Almost overnight, they rapidly vanished from menus -- and from Costco, leaving us to indulge in the occasional small jar, imported from Italy, at the grocers. Seems like that's the life cycle of a food fad -- suddenly here, suddenly everywhere, suddenly gone. And if those of us who really, really like the taste are lucky, it will inch its way back. 

Hmm. Maybe I'll dice a couple up and toss them into our next fondue!


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VICKI: I love thinking about food fads. Oh, yes, I'm old enough to remember fondue parties. I was recently watching Back in Time for Dinner, a British show about how the food we eat has changed and one thing that struck me was in the 1970s 'housewives' were suspicious of processed foods so the companies came up of ways to use these products in recipes. so the cook would feel she was actually cooking. That's how canned soup in everything became popular at that time. I guess canned ingredients is a fad. I have a can opener - somewhere.

Is locally-sourced food a fad? I certainly hope not. See my comment above about can opener. I live in farm country and even though I'm in Canada I can still get local foods from small scale farms most of the year (hello kale!). I do a lot of freezing when seasonal foods are in the farm stand so I can use them throughout the year. (Hello tomatoes!)



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PEG: I'm old enough to remember fondue as well! I had a fondue party with my best girlfriends in high school.  There were varieties of cheese fondue and even chocolate fondue, which, in the 90s, seemed to have morphed into chocolate fountains.  I've never tried avocado toast but I do sometimes put slices of avocado on a BLT. And kale--sorry, still not a fan!

Anyone remember Lipton onion soup dip?  You couldn't have a party without it and a bag of potato chips back in the 60s (probably in someone's "rec room!") When the 70s hit, we all began eating quiche--something we'd probably never heard of before that.  Remember the book "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche?"

And how about crepes? Back in the late 60s and early 70s there was even a restaurant in NYC (and maybe other places, too) that served something like 100 different versions of crepes!



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DARYL 

I am not much of a fad food eater. I like what I like. I've enjoyed Greek yogurt. I've never been a kale person. I loved fondue and still do, but I make it with my gluten-free bread. Speaking of fads - gluten-free is not a "fad" for those of us who really get sick by it. I've always been a fan of quiche. I love egg-y dishes. Is salted caramel sauce considered a fad? If so, I'm all for that one! 


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DENISE

I'm usually the last person to try the latest fad foods, but I do use Greek yogurt a lot as a substituted for sour cream in recipes. And my husband and I both love kale. We regularly use it in recipes and for chopped salads.

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KRISTA

Fondue was one of my favorite dinners as a child. My mom didn't serve it often, but I loved that the family hung around the table laughing (when someone lost a piece of something in the fondue pot) and talking. No one was in a hurry to rush off on fondue nights. In fact, I serve cheese fondue and beef fondue for dinner every New Year's Eve. There's something about everyone gathered around the table taking their time and relaxing that we really enjoy.

I follow food fads for my Domestic Diva characters. Natasha is always on the cutting edge of popular trends, many of which I'm surprised to learn about. Who knew charcoal as a seasoning was so popular? Well, Natasha knew.

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LUCY

I *know* that I have a fondue pot hidden somewhere that was a wedding gift many many years ago. For a while in my late twenties and early thirties, everything I cooked was from the Moosewood cookbook--I think that was a fad of sorts. Though I still do use some of those wonderful recipes. How about smoothies? Sliders? Bone broth? Cupcakes? That's one fad I can still get behind LOL


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ELLIE

I love following baking trends and the hottest item in professional baker’s pantries this year is... wait for it... edible glitter! That’s right, glitter. Now, not only will your holiday pastries make your tastebuds tingle with delight, but they will literally shine! Forgot chocolate crinkles dusted with powdered sugar. Try them dusted with edible blue and gold glitter instead. I don’t know if this fad is here to stay, especially because I still have a few questions when it comes to eating glitter, but maybe that’s just me. Shine on, pastries.



CLEO COYLE

Marc and I also enjoy food fads. They come. They go. They give us variety. The fad of finding new and different flavors for comfort foods can be an adventure. Not that I want to eat a Black Licorice Doughnut (yes, that’s real). But has anyone noticed (and I’m sure you have) that condiments have multiplied like happy rabbits, expanding our choices on grocery store shelves into flavor combinations that include spicier versions and even condiment mashups?

Ketchup and Mayo got married, apparently, and gave birth to “Mayochup.” Here’s a visual for you…

Mayo is clearly a fickle mate, also getting it on with:
Mustard: Mayomust 
Barbecue sauce: Mayocue and
Ranch dressing: Kranch (Why not Mayoanch? Hmm.)
We're not complaining. This happened with pasta sauce. One of Marc's favorite "food fad" stories is the invention of vodka sauce, which many sources say was the product of an aggressive vodka marketing scheme. A vodka company wanted to sell more vodka so they convinced restaurants in Italy to put into a pasta sauce. And it worked. By the 1980s, Orsini’s in New York was peddling "penne alla vodka" as a fashionable Italian dish. Ten years later, commercial jars were available on supermarket shelves, and it’s become as common as syndicated TV. It’s a fad that took, and we love it! If we’re not making our own, we’ve got Rao's or Victoria, both are good brands for bottled sauces. Don’t have those brands locally? No problem. Every major sauce company (from Prego to Emeril’s) has its own version of vodka sauce—likely shelved not far from the Mayochup! ~ Cleo


Whatever you are eating this holiday season,
food fad or not, we hope you will eat with joy! 



Giveaway!

What do you think of food fads? Are there any you like or hate?
Leave a  comment to be entered to win all of these books and 
remember to include your email so we can contact you if you win! 


The Dog Who Knew Too Much by Krista Davis; 
Marinating in Murder by Linda Wiken aka Essie Lang 
Final Fondue by Maya Corrigan
As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles Leslie Budewitz
A Shot in the Dark by Cleo Coyle
Wreath between the Lines by Daryl Wood Gerber
and 
Murder, She Encountered (e-book only)  by Peg Cochran



128 comments:

  1. I blame Starbucks for the mass hysteria over PSL and pumpkin flavored everything, lol. Love greek yogurt, quiche, Rao's vodka sauce, cheese or chocolate fondue. not a big fan of ordering avocado toast since it's crazy to charge so much money for a teeny bit of avocado. We used to have a LOT of cupcake stores here, but a lot of them have closed. one fad I do love, we have more craft beer breweries now and that's great! rbzter@comcast.net

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    1. I hadn't thought of craft beer as a fad, but I'm with you, Reba, it's a good one.

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    2. The cupcake craze is a great example of a fad. Remember cronuts, the mashup of a croissant and a donut? I remember Sheila Connolly and I spotting them in a fab deli-grocery combo in St. Louis when we were there for Bouchercon in, what 2011? Too weird, so of course we tried them. Fun, but I haven't seen one since!

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  2. I like Greek yogurt at first I didn't. Chocolate fountains are yummy. I remember fondue it was big for awhile. McDonald's mixes mayo and thousand Island dressing in big Macs. Those are great once in a while. Thank you for the chance those books look amazing. Donakutska7@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you for commenting, Donamae. For years I've mixed mayo and ketchup for sandwiches. I didn't realize that Heinz has done the mixing for me.

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  3. No to yogurt, avocado, pumpkin coffee, and chai. Yes to paninis. The only fondue I had was cheese. I bought a fondue pot from Swiss Colony years ago. I'm sure it came with the cheese and maybe crackers and forks.

    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. I second your vote for panini, Michelle. Thanks for commenting.

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  4. I like yogurt, greek only some kinds, not into pumpkin spice coffee nor chai. I like to try new stuff but doesn't mean I will like it. Thanks for the chance at these books. joannerosales@gmail.com

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    1. Bobbysgirl, I'm not a chai drinker either. ~ Daryl

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    2. I'm not into fad foods but I do substitute cream with greek yoghurt and cook a lot of stuff from scratch as cant have sodium for health reasons, so cookies cakes etc without sodium but lots of cacao and blueberries Apple's etc.

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  5. Some more than others, I've tried the sushi burrito. My email oohllal(at)aol(dot)com

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  6. I never really thought about fad foods before this article. We had a fondue night with some friends earlier in the year. They made cheese fondue and I made chocolate fondue for dessert. It was a lot of fun, but somehow both of our pots ended up cracking! I don't know if this is a fad exactly, but - quinoa. I know it's supposed to be super healthy, but I can't get past the texture. I can take it in small doses, but not as a whole dish. Renee - rwilson@ws4r.com

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    1. I feel the same way about quinoa, Renee.

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    2. So I actually know the man responsible for introducing quinoa to the US -- it came from Brazil. I like it, especially in a grain bowl with veggies, nuts, and other stuff. Hmm, bowls -- another fad??? Time will tell!

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  7. I eat what I like and don’t really worry about fads. I think this is about the second or third time fondue has come around. We had fondue restaurants in the area and they all closed several years ago. I was never a fan - they were overpriced for what you got.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

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  8. Fads are not important to me. Eating healthy and most importantly is how I feel about the food which I enjoy and prepare. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. And yet, they can be great ways to discover new foods and keep our plates and palates evolving, yes?

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  9. I notice food fads, although I don't often partake. Coconut water and energy drinks are two that I tried, but didn't repeat. Boneless wings have persisted, but I am not a fan.
    browninggloria(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. I had the same reaction to coconut water and energy drinks, Gloria.

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  10. I read about the latest food fads but if they are interesting and appeal to me I may try them. Kale for example I love and use daily. elliotbencan(at)hotmil(dot)com

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  11. It is always fun to check out food fads. I love quiche and Greek yogurt for example. doward1952(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  12. A fun post. I am not much into fad foods. I did love fondue when it came out though. My mom made things dipped in chocolate before it came out. Happy Monday to all. quilting lady 2 at comcast dot net

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  13. There are some foods I enjoy that stared out as fads, but in general I don't really care for food fads. I just eat what I want! mbradeen [at] yahoo [dot] com

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