Trendy Foods That Should Not Exist

Illustration for article titled Trendy Foods That Should Not Exist

Some foods are commonly eaten because they're delicious. Still others are eaten because they're readily available, often when nothing else is. And sometimes, foods are commonly eaten for no goddamn reason other than people say they're awesome, so that must logically make them awesome.


These foods must be stopped.*

Whether places serving them are popping up all over the goddamn place, or simply being forced onto our screens by disreputable sources completely out of touch with the interests of the modern reader, these trendy foods just will not go away no matter what we do. Truly, these foods are just too trendy to function.

Froyo — So, let me get this straight: places started selling half-melted faux cream with a hobo piss aftertaste, and people went nuts for it just because they get to top it with as many fucking pieces of cookie dough as they want? Disguising froyo with froyo toppings is a lot like bedazzling open herpes sores — it doesn't work and it's a really bad idea to put either near your mouth.

Cronuts — At this point, the cronut feels like it should've been dead for a while (and, let's be honest, no one but New Yorkers really cared about it in the first place), but that thing keeps lurching forward, the dessert that will not go down, like a tiny, glazed Jake LaMotta. I'm calling it, though: the king is dead. ALL HAIL THE NEW MONARCH: ICE CREAM CHURRO! May her reign be long and full of whatever the fuck flavor that purple one is.


Cupcakes — Shut up, you know it's true. A gourmet cupcake is the dessert equivalent of a Ted Talks about cold-brewed coffee — it's boring as shit, you can't figure out why people seem to love anything about it so much, and it's overwhelmingly enjoyed by white people. A cupcake is a fucking muffin smothered in a weird dollop of icing (that you can't even eat without looking like you just came from an adult film shoot with the Pillsbury Dough Boy) without any of the things that make muffins delicious. There is nothing redeeming about cupcakes.


Pumpkin Spice — Pumpkin spice is like catnip for white ladies. Starbucks employees are currently getting increasingly irate questions from desperate, compulsively arm-scratching 20-something white women about Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and it's freaking June. Tangentially-related: I once read a recipe description that included the words "a warm pile of pumpkin spice," and if that doesn't sound, out-of-context, like a euphemism for someone's ladybusiness, I don't know what does.


Hey, enjoy your pumpkin spice now, folks.

Lentils — Pffft, who the fuck eats lentils, anyway? Probably just lesbian shitasses (TM Mrs. Scott Baio) who don't even pub-med in their armchair squalor.***


Pho — Before you start to lose your mind, I actually like Pho — it tastes pretty good. So why is it on this list? Because soup isn't a fucking meal, and people should damn well stop treating it like one (no, stew isn't a meal, either, although it's closer than Pho). Every time I've had Pho, I've walked away wondering why my actual meal never got to the table. To paraphrase John Pinette, Pho is not food. Pho is a promissory note that food will soon arrive — only the note is a fucking lie, no food's coming, you are doomed to disappointment and an early grave.**


Sriracha — Someone explain to me why people go nuts over this shit, because I really don't get it. Cholula is better. Hell, Frank's is better, and I can get like five gallons of that stuff for $10. There is absolutely nothing special about Sriracha — it's D-grade hot sauce, at best — and yet I'm positive this will be the entry peoples lose their goddamn minds over (well, except for the people who don't actually read the Pho entry). Is it the rooster? Oh my God, is that rooster secretly Hypnotoad?!


Juice Cleanses — Is there a stupider health/diet trend than juice cleanses? According to a friend, there are 15 juice bars within a 5 mile radius of her house, which would make sense if cars ran on kale squeezings, but is a bit of a head scratcher in the normal human universe where saying you "drank green" is usually indicative of synesthesia. At what point do we reach peak vapid left coaster bullshit? Or are we never going to get there, and eventually every business on the planet will be a juice bar, a Starbucks, or a fucking froyo place? Because the day that happens is the day the inevitable heat death of the universe starts to sound pretty awesome.


And now, as a special bonus, and since there is no sandwich trendier than a Primanti Brothers shitwich sandwich, here's an extra re-post of my feelings on Primanti Brothers, originally posted in one of the very first Foods That Should Not Exist:

"Primanti Brothers Sandwiches — Since I moved to Pittsburgh, people have been telling me to go to Primanti Brothers for a sandwich. It is, literally without fail, the first question anyone who has ever lived here asked me when I told them where I was headed. You'd think I would've gone there sooner than three and a half months after arriving considering that I love sandwiches and there's one right near where I work. I finally went there on Friday. I wasn't expecting it to live up to the hype, but I wasn't expecting it to be terrible, either. My sights were firmly set on mediocre.


How sadly, gravely mistaken I was, for my sandwich cannot be truly said to have been a sandwich. It was the anti-sandwich whose birth portends the Crust Times. It was the ur-example of sandwich corruption. It was listed as a cheesesteak, but in truth, it was darkness given form.

You know, you'd think, given it's location in the same state as Philadelphia, that Pittsburgh would understand what actually constitutes a cheesesteak. A cheesesteak (pay attention, Pittsburgh) is either thinly-sliced steak or steak tips topped with either Cheese Wiz (if you're in Philly) or actual real cheese product that doesn't come out of a fucking spray can (if you're in a city whose entire population hasn't apparently suffered a fucking head trauma), like provolone or cheddar or swiss. You can mix and match some combination of onions, mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes (*shudder*), mayo — that's pretty much up to you. But the STEAK and the CHEESE elements are pretty constant to a FUCKING CHEESESTEAK. What is NOT a cheesesteak is one slab of mildly meatlike substance (which, given its total lack of anything resembling flavor, I have to assume was some form of industrial insulation) topped with a single depressed slice of white American cheese. That is not a cheesesteak, Primanti Brothers. That is like if pure, platonic Horror were capable of having an orgasm. By the way, I fully realize that sentence makes no sense. That just gives it something in common with the fact that people from Pittsburgh fucking love Primanti Brothers.


But that's only the first part of what made this the worst sandwich I've ever had. The second part is that Primanti Brothers sandwiches are as tall as they are wide, which...why? Why the fuck would you do that to a sandwich? Sandwich integrity is a serious issue — if your sandwich is falling apart on the way to your mouth, you're not fucking enjoying it very much, and if it's such a perfect sphere that it would bring Archimedes to tears, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG.

Third, there's a thing sandwiches need called "sauce" or "some type of condiment." You may have heard of it before. It acts as a lubricant and makes the sandwich-ee say something like "Yum!" as opposed to "Oh dear, I seem to have put the Mojave desert in my mouth." With cheesesteaks, usually the au jus can accomplish this without any help, but since you can't make au jus from a hobo's discarded winter coat that you are pretending is meat, I was SOL here. As it is, the only vaguely sauce-like thing you'll get on a Primanti Brothers sandwich is the weird, vinegary, possibly-motor-oil liquid on the coleslaw, which succeeds neither as a flavor nor as a structural element.


Fourth, that fucking coleslaw. I mean, come on. I like cabbage. My dinner last night consisted of like 90% cabbage. And you CAN put coleslaw on a sandwich. It's been done before with great success. But not a) when it's FUCKING VINEGARY COLESLAW OH MY GOD EW, or b) when the coleslaw is so cold and the sandwich so lukewarm that it fucks up the temperature differential so much that it tastes like it's been sitting out on the sidewalk for the last three days. Temperature differentials in food are fine if you know what you're doing — they're the reason burritos are so delicious — but not if your sandwich is roughly 40% cabbage poop encased in disconcertingly cold bread, and if another 50% of that sandwich is MOTHERFUCKING FRENCH FRIES.

Lastly...Pittsburgh, we need to talk about this potato thing. I'm guessing at some point you were hanging out with the other cities, and the following conversation happened:

Pittsburgh: "Dude. DUDE. I just came up with THE BEST idea."
Chicago: "What?"
Pittsburgh: "French fries...ON a sandwich."
Los Angeles: "You mean, like...on the side?"
Pittsburgh: "No no — as a topping. I'M A FUCKING GENIUS."
DC: "...I dunno, dude. That sounds...I mean..."
Chicago: "I think what DC is trying to say is that's just really dumb. I mean, I'm the one who came up with putting the sauce on TOP of the pizza, and even I think french fries as a sandwich topping is stupid. For Christ's sake, even Philly would tell you that's a terrible idea if he wasn't busy beating up an elderly woman."
St. Louis: "Well gollee gee whillikers, guys, I don't think we need all this swearing, back where I come from people are just simple folk who—"
New York: "Shut the fuck up, St. Louis, no one likes you."


While I admire the obstinacy in your viewpoint there, Pittsburgh, sometimes when people tell you a thing is terrible, it isn't because they're jealous of your genius, it's because that thing is terrible. Basically...stop. You don't need to put potatoes on everything. Really. French fries and pierogis don't need to be shoehorned into every possible fucking meal. I mean, I LIKE french fries and pierogis, but there are places they should not go. As a sandwich topping is one of those places. There's a reason you're the only place that does that in the entire universe, and it isn't because you're ahead of the curve, it's because you have a serious addiction issue. It does not taste good. It has never tasted good. I don't know why you think it would ever taste good. Just put them on the side like a sane person would."

And to anyone who claims the reason this sandwich sucked is because I didn't get the "right" Primanti Brothers sandwich: capicola isn't saving the shitty nightmare slaw, or the practically-frozen bread, or the idiotic idea of putting french fries on a fucking sandwich.


*Not really, I just figured I'd play into the hands of the idiots who think I actually think ANYTHING in Foods That Should Not Exist should literally stop existing.


**I mean, admittedly, my scientific background consists of stealing a lab coat and shouting "I'M DOING SCIENCE" really loud in the hopes that'll make it true, but this sounds right to me.

***Click the fucking link. Obviously, I don't hate lentils. Jesus.

Image via Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock. For more Foods That Should Not Exist, click here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.



C.A. Pinkham

Here's the other reason I did a Foods That Should Not Exist: since this is the column that landed me this job, and a trip out of the nightmare that is the food industry, I thought it only fitting that my last full feature as a Recruit (other than next Monday's BCO) be a probably-overdue edition of Foods That Should Not Exist.

Oh, it won't be my last feature, just my last as a Recruit: starting Tuesday, July 1, I'm going to be doing...well, exactly what I've been doing, only now I don't have to desperately stress about recruit numbers and whether I've made the cut for a long-term position...because I have.

So for those of you who've enjoyed the wild ride that has been the last four months on Kitchenette — stick around, because there's plenty more to come. You guys are awesome, and it is quite literally true (and a bit of an understatement, really) to say that you are the reason I get to keep doing the best job I've ever had. Your hilarious comments and words of support are what makes this so much fun.

Oh, and for those of you who've spent the last few months calling for my job because you were REALLY unhappy that I said a mean thing about Balut? I cordially invite you to kiss my big ol' pooper.