1. Pickle Fever
Sure, yes, pickles are pretty cool. And there’s a certain thrill in finding dark horse pickles embedded in otherwise familiar food situations (“Whoa, guys, is that FENNEL?”). But the pickle is a cunning, wily creature, content to lie in wait for months — even years — to achieve its ends, and the ugly truth is that we have finally reached PEAK PICKLE. At this point, there’s only one course of action: Put the jar down. Back away from the beets. It’s going to be OK.
2. The Sriracha Epidemic
At first, it seems like hot sauce from the heavens: a delicious, easily squeezable answer to all our prayers. Sriracha mayo? Great, A+, whatever you can do to make straight-up mayo less despicable (YEAH, BIG MAYO, YOU HEARD ME). But then it doesn't stop. Sriracha starts to show up in everything.
Sriracha lollipops! Sriracha peach cobbler! A sriracha cookbook! An entire section of The Oatmeal's online shop devoted to Sriracha lip balm and other Sriracha-related novelties!
Sriracha contagion spreads and spreads and spreads. It becomes a long, spicy, national nightmare. No one can find their loved ones because their eyes are watering too much from constant Sriracha fumes. The CDC begins distributing Sriracha-flavored face masks. Chris Christie emblazons a sriracha bottle on his fleece jacket. This will never end. Sriracha is our past, our present, and our future. We are Sriracha. Sriracha is us.
3. Animal Restaurant Names
It's terribly charming and rustic and a fairly reliable indicator of the correct mandatory virtuous hipster aesthetic and are we ready to stop yet please?
4. All Smoked Everything
5. The War on Gluten
If you have a real, demonstrable allergy to gluten, then you have my sincere condolences, because that's a drag. By all means, bust out the garbanzo bean flour and do your thing.
But to everyone out there who just wants a trendy cover-up for your low-carb diet or an explanation for why they "feel tired sometimes," stop hating on gluten. Gluten never did anything to deserve this.
6. Jell-O Shots
7. Talking About Coffee
Disclaimer: Good coffee is a Great Thing. And the fact that you can order plain old "coffee" at more and more restaurants and get a cup of something that doesn't taste like the dip-spit can from an MLB dugout is a Great Thing. And the fact that the United States is finally starting to support more serious, independent, non-Starbucks coffee shops serving well-sourced, well-made coffee drinks of all descriptions is a Great Thing.
And the fact that every time any subject remotely related to coffee comes up someone inevitably feels a need to spend half an hour describing all the reasons they keep an aeropress in their desk drawer and why, frankly, they think the flat white is an overrated drink and how electricity-powered coffee makers are fine, I guess, if you're some kind of barbarian? NOT A GREAT THING.
8. The Swoosh
9. Culinary Carpetbagging
It's not that people north of the Mason-Dixon line can or should be faulted for appreciating Southern American food. It's the best-established, most compelling food culture the U.S. has going for it, and it tends to involve a lot of fried chicken. But at a certain point, it's a question of volume.
So before you open up that shiny new catfish and biscuit shack in Brooklyn or write a 600-page cookbook about the joys of preserving okra, just stop and think. Maybe what the world needs now is...something else?
10. Very Many Very Small Plates
11. Maximum Kale
Let’s be clear: Kale is a tremendous vegetable. It’s very good for you, and you don’t have to cook it unless you feel like it, and it lasts for a long time in the fridge, and you can grow it in the winter, and come on, there is a variety of kale called “dinosaur kale.” That’s awesome. But when kale is actually literally ceaselessly appearing in every salad on every menu in every restaurant in America at all times, it’s hard not to get angry and confused.
You start to feel like kale is the enemy. The stalker. Like it won’t stop calling you. Like you told someone, once, that you liked her sweater, because sure, it’s a nice sweater, and now she wears that sweater every day, even though it doesn’t really necessarily go that well with the rest of her clothes, and frankly it’s starting to smell a little funny because it could use a wash, and maybe a few months of closet downtime, but how do you say that without hurting her feelings?
Sometimes, if you love kale, you have to let it go.