8 Food Trends Our Editors Just Don’t Understand, from Power-Washed Produce to Girl Dinner

Pancake cereal? We think not

food trends our editors don't understand: an apple being washed, a close-up of a mustard-topped hot dog, and pancake cereal, side by side
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In today’s TikTok era, a new food trend seems to grace our feed on the daily. Oftentimes, it’s easy to understand why it went viral—see: French onion pasta, pesto eggs, crispy rice and 60-clove garlic soup. But every so often, a recipe, dish or ingredient that takes over the internet makes us go um…why? Read on for nine trends our editors just can’t get behind, from the term “girl dinner” to power-washed produce to healthy candy. (Oh, and we have a serious bone to pick with Stanley tumblers…)

The 30 Best TikTok Recipes That Are Actually Worth Making at Home

food trends our editors don't understand: plate of grapes, cheese and crackers
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1. Girl Dinner

Noshing on snacks instead of eating a proper dinner is nothing new. (Popcorn is a main food group at our house, TBH.) We’re all for this last-minute solution to a busy weeknight being normalized and embraced by the masses. But something about the term “girl dinner” gives us pause. “Why is my idiosyncratic eating gendered? It smacks of belittlement or condescension,” believes senior editor Dana Dickey. “I’m a grown woman in midlife and if I want to eat a smear of goat cheese, a handful of crackers and some grapes for dinner, it’s a light repast, not an American Girl supper, OK?”

food trends our editors don't understand: person standing in front of canned beverages on a cooler shelf
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2. Confusing Branding on Canned Mocktails

Nonalcoholic bevs in restaurants and on shelves have proven their staying power, and we love that for them. But why do canned drink brands feel the need to complicate things? “I don’t want to have to read the entire label just to determine if there’s alcohol in there,” says fashion editor Abby Hepworth. “Label it ‘alcohol-free’ or put the ABV in big ol’ font on the front of the label. I love that mocktails are on the rise, but the language needs to be simplified.”

food trends our editors don't understand: stanley tumbler on a wooden table

3. Stanley Tumblers (and Insulated Bottles in General?)

This is *the* travel tumbler…and commerce director Nicole Briese can’t abide. “It’s big, the handle is awkward and clunky, the colors don’t inspire me and there are many cuter water bottles that truly work for temperature control. Seriously—I left my far more ergonomically designed Corkcicle baking in the parking lot at Disney for like, eight hours, and could still drink my iced coffee when we left that night.” Associate fashion commerce editor Stephanie Meraz agrees: “It’s HUGE and falls over all the time. It’s actually become a running joke in my fam for how absurd it is.”

On that note…why do we need our bevvies to be so damn frigid year-round? “As much as I love the idea of pebble ice and all these cool ice cubes, I genuinely don’t know how people drink such cold drinks,” says operations director of branded content Rachel Gulmi. “I literally fill my Hydro Flask with a full cup of hot water to balance out the cold and make it room temp.”

food trends our editors don't understand: person washing an apple in the sink
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4. Making a Project Out of Washing Produce

Where #foodtok and #cleantok collide, you’ll find troves of videos of people vigorously washing their produce in vinegar and other fussier-than-tap-water solutions. We debunked the necessity of a vinegar bath back in April, but the internet is still about it. “Why do I keep seeing so many contraptions on social media for washing fruits and vegetables?” inquires associate editor of entertainment and news Joel Calfee. “I don’t want to spend 15 minutes washing my fruit like I’m power-washing the side of my house; I just want to give it a little rinse under the faucet and if there’s some dirt on there, so be it!”

food trends our editors don't understand: hand preparing fries in an air fryer

5. Cooking Everything in an Air Fryer

French fries, chicken tenders, Brussels sprouts—fine, all good. These are items that can benefit from the arid conditions of a convection oven. But cake? Bread? Chicken breast? Keep foods that need moisture (or grease) to be their most delicious out of the air fryer, please. “My dad just made tostones, which are twice-fried green plantains, in his air fryer for Thanksgiving,” explains food editor Taryn Pire. “Were they lower in fat because they weren’t frittered in oil? Yes. Were they even close to as delicious? No.”

food trends our editors don't understand: close-up of a hot dog topped with ketchup, mustard and onions
Howard Kingsnorth/Getty Images

6. Mustard Wearing the Condiment Crown

Spicy spreads and swicy snacks have had foodies in a chokehold since 2020. As a result, mustard had its moment in the sun in fall 2023. A questionable fad that called for dipping all sorts of foods in a mix of mustard and cottage cheese (???) resulted in the creation of even more questionable limited-edition mustard-flavored Skittles. Who asked for those? (Hint: No one.) “I love mustard,” begins senior food editor Katherine Gillen. “But it could never dethrone ranch.” Honey mustard, on the other hand…

food trends our editors don't understand: hands breaking a piece of dark chocolate
Photographer, Basak Gurbuz Derman/Getty Images

7. Healthy Chocolate and Candy

We get it: You want to eat sweets and stay on your diet/eat less sugar/not feel guilty about eating dessert. (For the record, food guilt shouldn’t exist, but we digress.) But do those monk fruit gummies actually hit the spot? Does xylitol spark joy on your taste buds? Do you even like 95-percent dark chocolate? We’re guessing no across the board. We’d rather savor a small portion of the real stuff than a vat of a less-than-delicious imposter.

food trends our editors don't understand: bowl of pancake cereal
istetiana/Getty Images

8. Tedious TikTok Recipes

From corn ribs to baked feta pasta, we have *feelings* about the app’s most popular dishes. (The former is an endearing vegan substitute, despite not tasting like ribs, but cutting through a corn cob? Not fun. As for the latter, it’s a three-pronged no for us.) But it’s the excessively high-maintenance ones that we refuse to prepare. “I tried pancake cereal during the pandemic because, well, pandemic, but would I ever make fingerprint-sized pancakes again? Nah. And it’s especially a no for croissant cereal, even if it’s stupidly cute,” says Candace Davison. Might we suggest low-lift pancake spaghetti instead?

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...