Fifteen Minutes of Food Fame


Red velvet cupcakes from Sprinkles Bakery

The first time I ever encountered red velvet cake was in Steel Magnolias when they serve a red velvet armadillo groom’s cake at a wedding of surprisingly un-squeamish guests. The road kill-inspired delicacy turned me off to the concept of red velvet until the early 2000s when I started noticing a surprising trend – the cupcake frenzy. The petite starlet of first grade birthday party fame was suddenly chic, suddenly talked about, and suddenly experiencing the kind of celebrity once reserved for animate objects. And the flavor most often rocking the red carpet was, apropos, red velvet. A decade later, the flavor is still so popular it’s actually infused in both vodka and wine (both currently on my shelf).

The struggles of food celebrity rival that of real celebrity, and foods have just as a hard a time staying relevant. “The other white meat” has had been campaigning for years but hasn’t yet landed its pivotal role; while food-on-a-stick has reinvented itself time and time again – it’s most talked about transformation being when it shed its fried Snickers in favor of a ball of cake. But cabbage soup, fondue, the casserole, Atomic War Heads, and anything with the word “fusion” – all of these things enjoyed a temporary spotlight only to retire to “Where Are They Now?” status.

Yet several classics that once enjoyed a modest career have experienced a successful comeback. S’mores can now be found in the trendiest restaurants served with a dash of cayenne and a personal burner, and mac and cheese has gone gourmet with additions like lobster and truffle oil. Sweet potatoes have shed their Thanksgiving side dish type-casting by taking on more challenging roles – most recently as both tater tot and gnocchi.

While food-culture phenoms argue the red velvet’s star is finally going the way of the 2009 pomegranate martini fizzle, other foods are just beginning to feel the spotlight. Thanks to amazing PR coverage and frequent buzz amongst celebrity chefs, kale is the new spinach and chocolate won’t go anywhere without sea salt. The squash family notoriety is also climbing with acorn, spaghetti and butternut taking leading roles across all meal genres.

A food’s “fifteen minutes” can last decades without incident or be unceremoniously stopped short by an unexpected newcomer (goodbye cupcake, hello cake ball). Our only role is to savor the show as long as it lasts.

What are your favorite food trends?

About WhiteElephantInTheRoom

I'm an 80s music lover, traveling junkie, mac & cheese connoisseur, amateur wine snob, party-planning priestess and Chicago transplant living in Southern California. I find adventure in the everyday and have a unending compulsion to write about it. Hope you enjoy reading my mind!
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33 Responses to Fifteen Minutes of Food Fame

  1. nancyfrancis says:

    What about Pump Cheese (otherwise known as liquid Nacho Cheese). Any cheese that comes to my plate via pump is good news to me 😉

  2. Brussel sprouts are hugely popular now. One fad that that never caught on that I’d luv to see was in “The Jerk” – cup o pizza. But iupdated for these times- has to be organic, hormone free, non-gmo, line caught, free range vegan.

  3. gojulesgo says:

    Sweet potato tater tots and red velvet infused vodka?! I gotta get me someadat! Hmm. Favorite food trend. I am so all about the paninis and fancy Panera-like sandwiches. I really, REALLY love sandwiches. I also love my Vosges Mo’s bacon-chocolate bars…and Terra chips…

  4. sharman vanlandinghan says:

    Salted caramel!

  5. Chris B says:

    Our wedding cake was red velvet with Bavarian cream. Something I hear a little more about these days is cucumber sandwiches. Making a comeback from over a century ago I guess?

  6. missfitz63 says:

    I’m liking those flavor-infused vodkas. Raspberry vodka mixed with sweet and sour mix, some lemon-lime soda and pineapple juice makes an incredible cocktail that tastes just like a White Gummie Bear candy. Mix Vodka Whipped with Tangerine Juice = an Orangesicle. Yummmm!

  7. I want to make a quick trip to Sprinkles now! Ah you are bad for my diet!

  8. Pleun says:

    Unaware of following a trend, we had red velvet cupcakes for our wedding last year and they were delicious! You could wake me up in the middle of the night for one of those. Here (in Mexico) I have not come across a cupcake store yet and it is just different when you make them yourself 🙂

    • You’re totally right – while so much food is better homemade there’s something about a bakery cupcake. I like mine with chocolate frosting vs the traditional cream cheese. You should give it a go!

      • Pleun says:

        You make my mouth water! But no cupcake store in sight. If anyone knows where to go in Mexico, please let me know 🙂 Otherwise I’ll have to save this delight till I get back home one day!

  9. I am on a healthier eating kinda kick right now:) Great post – thanks for sharing! Happy Monday:)

  10. Having been a chef for years (starting in the 80’s with novelle cuisine) I have seen just about every possible “trendy” food come and go. I trained with the Escoffier and Larousse methods, but traveled all over the world and began to fuse many different flavours from various lands to create my own designs.
    Some of the “trends” that come and go (salt and chocolate) are beyond stupid, while others have really interesting flavours and will stand the test of time. Personally, one old favorite is Avocado, papaya and mango salad, with a red pepper jelly and walnut oil vinaigrette… amazing taste

  11. MaximumWage says:

    I really like Gluten free stuff… haha who am I kidding I really have no choice. I like gluten free stuff because its the only thing I can eat. Having said that, I DO enjoy gluten free lemon ricotta pancakes. YUM.

  12. stevebetz says:

    It is pretty funny about what comes in and out of fashion. For a while, everything seemed to have mache. Now I can’t ever find anything with mache. Like Sharman above, I hope salted caramel stays around for a while. For a bit, i heard that pie was the new cupcake, but I don’t think that panned out.

    I have to say that when we took a vacation to France last month and spent some time in the Dordogne, they were still pretty happy with the Trinity: foie gras, truffles, and things fried in duck fat.

  13. Sarah Harris says:

    Hah, I felt the same way after Steel Magnolias and until I tried a real red velvet cupcake. Some people just make chocolate with lots of red dye – which just isn’t my color when it’s all over my fingers, lips and tongue.
    My favorite trends are quinoa ( I love saying it and you can make it taste like whatever you want ). I love the custom burgers and anything from a gourmet food truck (not tosh coach). The idea that it’s not in your area all the time makes me want it more when it is!

  14. abbyandthenew says:

    Reblogged this on Abbyandthenew's Blog and commented:

  15. Pingback: Better Never Than Early | White Elephant in the Room

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