All the sudden millet is being touted as the new super grain, and that bothers us. Not because we have anything against this mildly sweet, nutty and protein-rich grain, but rather because there is nothing new about it. Millet has been harvested for human consumption for at least 4,000 years (a serving of millet found in an ancient Chinese bowl was dated around 2,000 BC); any “adventurous chef” who claims to be doing something exciting and edgy in their use of millet needs a history lesson.
If you have yet to hear about this new fad food, we’re actually rather impressed. The Cronut™ is the brainchild of chef Dominique Ansel, and it is described as a doughnut-croissant hybrid pastry. The first Cronuts™ were debuted in May, and they have since become a worldwide phenomenon. That little trademark TM we are using? That’s not a joke: the Dominique Ansel Bakery has trademarked the sweet, flaky, circular pastry and informs customers that any other location offering a Cronut™ is selling baked good forgeries. So far, Cronut™ flavors have been Rose Vanilla, Lemon Maple, Blackberry and Fig Mascarpone.
Why is bacon suddenly so popular? We’re not asking ironically, we genuinely want to understand. Granted, it’s delicious, but it’s also a knockout punch to the arteries. Nonetheless, we have seen everything from bandages made to look like rashers of bacon to a shameless show titled “The United States of Bacon” (hosted by a rather large man, of course) to a book aimed at hipsters (on sale in places like Urban Outfitters as well as at legitimate bookstores, of course) called simply “I Love Bacon!”
In yet another example of hipsters claiming to be at the culinary cutting edge while actually consuming an age-old beverage, mead is suddenly seeing a stratospheric surge in popularity. Long the alcoholic beverage of choice of Vikings and Medieval kings alike, this drink of fermented honey is now being produced by “Meaderies” all across America. Mead was first seen in regular production some 4,000 years ago, with some archeological evidence of fermented honey drinks stretching back as long as 9,000 years. Today, dozens of varieties of mead can be found by the enthusiast; everything from cherry to chili pepper varietals line trendy liquor shop shelves.
Suddenly touted as the most amazing super food ever, kale, in years past simply a humble, leafy green vegetable, is now front and center in recipes, magazines and cooking shows across the nation. We see shirts and blogs extolling its virtues and we even have a day, just passed, called (by some people) National Kale Day. The real step too far? A book called “Fifty Shades of Kale.” Not even a vegetable rich in antioxidants, iron, fiber and vitamins deserves this level of hysteria.