1. The Cronut
They came stumbling out of SoHo, hollow-eyed, dusted in crumbs, carrying a word on their lips that no had heard before. “Cronut,” they murmured, crossing themselves, looking to the sky. “CRO-nut, like a CROissant, but also like a doughNUT.”
By the time we saw the contagion spreading among us, there was nothing to be done. Profiteers rode the wave of hysteria; panic ruled. What mattered was never the pastry itself; it was the image of ourselves — now monsters — reflected in the rings of glaze.
2. The Brussels Sprout
This year, like the year before it, was the biggest yet for the small but mighty Brussel. Newly awakened acolytes, feverish with devotion, continued to join a pro-Brassica movement already in full swing. Even the Dutch may finally be learning to love their neighboring Belgian sprout. Take flight, tiny cabbage, to 2014 and beyond!
3. The Oreo
Which other cookie invented in 1912 can claim to have gotten this kind of press coverage in the new millennium? It was the tweet that launched a thousand other vaguely similar tweets. It was the bravest #brand of all.
This, we proclaimed, was the year of “peak umami.” And, as America’s Fermenter-in-Chief David Chang reminded us, just because we don’t know we’re eating MSG doesn’t mean we aren’t eating it pretty much all the time: “If I say, ‘That’s got MSG in it,’ no one’s going to say, ‘Well, that sounds delicious.’ But if I put Doritos on it…for fuck’s sake, Taco Bell’s marketing it directly.”
Speaking of which…
5. The Doritos Locos Taco
Sometimes you know that a food (like, say, a rapidly expanding line of novelty snack-themed tacos) has been expressly designed and developed by a huge corporation to appeal to your basest instincts, and you sort of resent that, but then you spend more than $1 billion on the food anyway. Sometimes that happens.
6. Pumpkin Spice
“Is nothing sacred?” we cried. “Is there nothing left unspiced in this world!?”
As if in response, the heavens rumbled, and the clouds were split asunder, and a fine, dusky orange mist fell upon the land. The Spice rained down, and we accepted our destiny, and the Spice Gods smiled upon us.
7. The Ramen Burger
In the wake of its splashy bicoastal debut, the ramen burger spawned carb-based novelty burger imitators left and right. We even learned how to make it at home. And in years to come, after the craze has faded and its noodles have become dry and chewy, the ramen burger’s legacy will remain: No longer are we afraid to live beyond the bun.
8. The “Edible”
9. The Pop-Tart Sandwich
10. The Horse
Horses! We all sure did feel weird about eating them, even though people in Canada do it. But 10 years from now, when the beef industry has collectively sunk into an enormous, antibiotic-ridden waste lagoon, it is not so hard to imagine that we may lift our steak knives halfway through a filet de cheval and think back to this quaintly charming reticence, and laugh and laugh and laugh.
11. The Bacon Weave
The concept of bacon woven into a lattice has been with us since time immemorial, but it was not until this noble year that the dudes behind the aptly named Dude Foods single-handedly made it A Thing. Together, we marveled at the births of the original Bacon Weave Taco, the Choco Taco, the Cheesy Doritos Locos Taco, the Elvis Sandwich, the S’more, and the B.W. Breakfast Burger.
Together, across the World Wide Web, one thousand hearts skipped as one. Was it joy? Arterial blockage? Perhaps a little of both.
12. The Mug Snack
It’s unclear why we’re still bothering to produce recipes, in general, since the numbers coming out of our sophisticated computer machines here at BuzzFeed suggest that the only things humans want to cook are things they can put in a mug and microwave. It’s either that or the fact that a significant percentage of the internet population is made up of college students. But probably that.
13. The Absence of Gluten
“THAT’s not a FOOD!” you exclaim, quivering with indignation. Right you are, clever reader. But pop that monocle back in and consider that never before has an allergy (let alone an allergy that causes undeniably gross tummy trouble) become such a glamorous cause célebre as gluten intolerance.
2013 was truly the year that wheat became passé. The blogosphere bloomed with every imaginable shade of gluten-freeganism and Paleo dieting; arrowroot powder sold out nationwide*; sorghum flour officially sponsored the Academy Awards*. At this point, admitting you eat bread is sort of like telling people you love to stay home on Saturday and re-watch old episodes of Gossip Girl. Just because it’s true doesn’t mean it’s cool.
*These things didn’t actually happen.