From Avocado Toast to Quinoa, 10 Food Trends That Defined the Past Decade
In the early aughts, we loved cupcakes above all else and probably wouldn’t be caught dead taking pictures of our food. But the 2010s? That’s another story. From cruciferous vegetables to crazy milkshakes, these are the biggest (and most Instagrammable) food trends that defined the decade.
The flaky, photogenic hybrid pastry, born in 2013 from the mind of Dominique Ansel, might be the origin of the viral, Instagrammable food sensations that dominated the decade. It sparked so many copycats that Ansel had the name trademarked less than two weeks after releasing it to the masses. But unlike so many food trends to follow (ahem, unicorns and mermaids), this one stuck around. It’s still on the menu, and yes, people still line up at 5 a.m. to get their hands on one.
Blame it on Gwyneth Paltrow or blame it on millennials. This was the decade that we decided it was fine to pay $13 for half an avocado smushed onto a piece of bread, maybe topped with red pepper flakes if we were feeling fancy. Though the trend is said to have originated in Australia circa 1993 at a restaurant called Bills, you can probably thank New York City’s Cafe Gitane (and the invention of Instagram in 2010) for its stateside popularity. But wait! Don’t take a bite until you’ve snapped a quick photo for posterity. #healthy
Somewhere down the line, an unsuspecting customer ordered a pretty standard chocolate malt and the person behind the counter making it had a little too much fun. “Oh, you want a milkshake? But what if I add cereal, cotton candy, gummy bears, a three-layer cake, two pies and rainbow sprinkles?” Shockingly, the idea was well received, enough so that in 2016, New York City restaurant Black Tap attracted 90-minute waits and lines that snaked around the block.
Around 2016, this traditional Hawaiian dish swam across the Pacific and entered the fast-casual scene. Cubes of fish marinated in a soy-based sauce and served over rice replaced our usual sad salad lunches, although we’ve heard mainland poke has nothing on the real thing. (This calls for a trip to Hawaii.)
Make a smoothie, put it in a bowl, then top it with granola and an arrangement of fruit so elaborate that you’re not sure whether to eat it or ’Gram it. (So you do both, of course.)
Rice! Gnocchi! Pizza crust! If you’ve eaten it in its most carbohydrate-dense form, it’s probably also been cauliflower-ed…for better or for worse. We released our recipe for spicy whole roasted cauliflower into the world in 2014. Just sayin’.
What cupcakes were to the 2000s, cookie dough was to the 2010s. Instead of satiating our sweet tooth with a scoop of ice cream, we did it with a scoop of unbaked, edible cookie dough sold by the cup. Chalk it up to forbidden fruit. (Psst: Here’s how to make it at home.)
First we figured out that the South American grain (actually a seed) was gluten-free, protein-rich and a tasty substitute for rice. Then we figured out how to pronounce it. (It’s kween-oh, right?)
It went from sad garnish status to being the poster child for a decade of healthy eating habits, or at least good intentions. After Gwyneth (surprise) made kale chips on Ellen in 2011, the Department of Agriculture reported a 60 percent increase in kale production from 2007 to 2012. But no one told us that the leafy green was so high maintenance (you have to massage it?!) and after one too many bitter green drinks, we finally admitted defeat and moved on. According to the Produce Market Guide, 2017 saw a 6 percent drop in kale sales. But we’ll never forget you, baby.
If there was one overarching theme to eating in the 2010s, it was that if you didn’t post a naturally lit, overhead image of your meal on social media, it never really happened.