Those who delight at boarding school sarcasm miss few opportunities to mock trendy food.

True, I have overdone this on occasion as evidenced by epidemics of eye rolling caused by the mere mention of either quinoa or kale. Both have served my sarcasm needs well, but — for different reasons — both should now follow the Obama administration into well-deserved retirement.

Kale was not actually as bad as I first imagined. It can be cut off the unpleasant stems with tiny scissors and made to taste crunchy even though crunchy is not technically a taste.

Quinoa was stolen from the indigenous people of the Andes by colonialist foodies and served up to Brooklyn hipsters at spectacular markups that failed to trickle down to the indigenous people.

For revenge, the indigenous people withheld their traditional hats leaving the hipsters to their own devices. This did not end well for the hipsters and it was even worse for the hipster spectators.

Au revoir quinoa, kale and Obama (for reasons that are actually not dissimilar) and make way for the new improved 2017 food trends.

My research for this story consists of what the biz-speak people call a “deep dive” into a single article by Christy Brissette. In her zeal to identify the 2017 food trends, Christy left a whole bunch readers like me in her artisanal, locally grown, organic, farm-to-table dust.

“If the food trends of 2016 could be summed up in three words, they would be: protein, paleo and local.”

I had been unaware of this but I wonder if thoughtful political observers might have improved their election predictions by linking 2016’s newly trendy “protein, paleo and local” to Donald Trump and the outdated quinoa and kale to Hillary Clinton.

Imagine the political prognosticator who could have associated protein and paleo with blue-collar voters and local with an antitrade agenda? He’d have replaced Greta Van Susteren on Fox News instead of Tucker Carlson.

Ms. Brissette zooms past the words “Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo” in her second paragraph with nothing more than a link.


Who knew there even was a food and nutrition Conference let alone that it was accompanied by an Expo? We then learn that there were 10,000 nutrition professionals, 416 exhibitors and 130 “research and educational presentations, lectures, panel discussions and culinary demonstrations.”

What is a nutrition professional? Is this a job that can neither be outsourced nor automated? If so, it might explain why there were so many of them.

Now, get ready to be jealous.

“Step aside, quinoa. There’s a new gluten-free whole grain gaining traction among the health-savvy. It’s called sorghum and it’s homegrown: The ‘sorghum belt’ runs between South Dakota and southern Texas.” (So does fracking.)

“With demand for fiber-rich gluten-free options and local food continuing to grow into 2017, this whole grain is one to watch.”

How do you not wish you had written those two paragraphs? How do those who backed Carly Fiorina or Martin O’Malley feel about the political equivalent of watching the wrong whole grain?

I have never heard of “sprouting” but apparently I will in 2017, when everything will be sprouting up a storm. I can even do it myself if I am unconcerned about food safety, which I am. If your fridge is filled with little containers of left over this and that, I am definitely your guy. I sail through that stuff leaving the newly emptied containers neatly arrayed in your dishwasher. This is another skill that is tough to outsource or automate. Like nutrition professional.

I will care about sprouting because it “increases the nutritional value of plant foods by leaps and bounds.” Also (and you’ll want to be sure not to miss this), “sprouting helps deactivate ‘anti-nutrients’ such as phytic acid, making the protein and minerals easier to absorb. For example, sprouting rye can increase its folate content almost four times.”

I do not actually understand the meaning of any of these words. Well, except some of the verbs. Has my lifetime disregard for phytic acid and folate content been unwise?

Here is another trend to watch: “legumes are going to dominate the snacking market in the new year with more roasted chickpea companies expanding nationwide and offering enticing flavors from mesquite barbecue to Thai coconut.”

Imagine the shame of going through most of a lifetime not even knowing there were any roasted chickpea companies let alone that there would soon be more of them. You’ll be comforted to know that I do know what a legume is.

Did you know there were food villains? This too had eluded me. But Christy Brissette again to the rescue: “Low-fat, carbohydrate and sugar-rich foods are the food villains of 2016. (Like Russian hackers or emails hidden among the naughty pictures on Anthony Weiner’s computer.) It follows that 2017 will be all about embracing the health benefits of a nutrient we once feared, fat.”

Upon wise instruction I have distanced myself from fat but I confess that I have never actually feared it. Apparently, in 2017, this will no longer be a problem.

I have now doubled the number of topics about which I can contribute nothing: what Donald Trump will begin to do in about three weeks time and the subtleties of 2017 food trends. Though, in both cases, I am wary of dark forces at work.

And fake news, always fake news.



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