Food, for many moons now, is no longer regarded solely as a necessity. We are a generation obsessed all things gastronomique. We are all foodies, we review places on Trip Advisor like professional food critics and every experience is weighed up against Michelin stars, be it a Subway sandwich or a cupcake. We've forgotten the Foreman grill and have salamanders and sous vides on our Christmas wishlists. We are shunning calorie counting, cuz #strongnotskinny, but desperate to make our calories count. You get what I'm saying.
For one, I am happy about this. Research has shown we derive happiness not from material possessions as such, but experiences. And food for me is an experience. Not just eating out, but shopping for ingredients, trying out new recipes, busting out an old favourite that I know will make my husband froth are all experiences and should be enjoyed. I also love looking back at years and decades in terms of food trends. But I think we've taken this obsession with food, trying so hard to "sex" it up a bit too far at times and some trends should really just never be. These are them, some old, some new, according to my own wise self:
Intravenous medical equipment and food must never come together, unless at a hospital. We saw a lot of pipette-action being used in fancy plated desserts - a shot of salted caramel here, a dash of balsamic coulis there, and I think that's cute and serves a real purpose. As someone of the 10% of the population with trypanophobia ie. fear of injections, I really cannot fathom why there was any need to involve syringes into the culinary landscape, when pipettes were just fine.
Coffee, Cake and a Syringe...I'll have the delicious doughnut without the needle plz
2. Sharing Tables
When Wagamama burst into the food scene with their craaaaayzeeee concept of sharing tables, I was bemused but enthusiastic. It was cool, and having strangers slurping their ramen around me normalised my own slurping. But since then we've seen a burst of trendy, heavily instagrammed restaurants offering a similar dining concept, in either extremely pokey premises where you're literally rubbing elbows and knees with strangers, or even in nice roomy spaces but where the higher-than-average prices do not seem to correlate with how uncomfy the seating is when there isn't any real need to punish diners. The former is perfectly understandable, and if the experience overall was a good one I don't mind the random body parts in my space, but the latter is something I cannot squeeze into. No matter how good the lobster thermidor.
3. Sharing Food
I love the concept of sharing food - loads of dishes with varying tastes and textures, sharing with friends and family, bonhomie and good times. But sharing plates are ridiculous because more often than not, having 3 tiny morsels causes the opposite of bonhomie when the husband and I are out. Who gets the third one?! Shall we break into it and risk ruining the experience with half-bites? Shall we get two plates of the same just to avoid couple's counselling, but is that putting all eggs in 1 little steamer basket?? Oh the anxiety! I just can't deaaaalll.
So there isn't any other way to DO dim sum other than sharing small portions BUT this was way too good to share - Spicy Har Gau in Kolkata Yauatcha
It is extremely hypocritical of me to say I find Freakshakes grotesque, especially considering the type of cakes I come up with, but I sincerely do. Ice cream milkshakes crammed into a Kilner jar with brownies, doughnuts, whipped cream and cupcakes - it looks as artfully appetising as I suspect it would in my intestines. I do like a binge every now and again but I just could not get myself to commit to one of these even if it meant 5,000 likes on my instagram photo.
5. Boring Brunch
"Brunch is the new dinner", I overheard recently. No it's not. It's a late breakfast, or an early lunch, but it's certainly not dinner. Anyhoo, I love a good lazy brunch catch-up with my pals BUT I'm up at 5am and will have to eat breakfast anyway because otherwise my pals will be subjected to a very HANGRY me and would seriously reconsider banishing me from brunches and Whatsapp for good. So what do I eat for breakfast before brunch? Oh I dunno...like eggs benedict, maybe eggs royale if I'm feeling flush, oh maybe some pancakes or French toast. Wait, that reads like EXACTLY EVERY OTHER BORING BRUNCH MENU there is out there. "No it doesn't Reshmi, you can always have the avocado on sourdough instead"....go on, dare say it.
Luckily there are more trends I am in favour of in food than not, which helps me not turn into a total anti-social whinge-bat. Korean street food and steamed buns, fancy soft serve ice cream flavours (helloooo matcha soft serve, come to mumma!), sweet & spicy flavour profiles in both savoury and dessert dishes, and well, the drip cake, or #FreakCake, cuz I would never say no to more chocolate. Just as long as it doesn't look like my innards.
Lots of love,