Food fads – focaccia anyone? Sun-dried tomato? Cupcake?

This morning I talked with Katya Quigley on ABC Mid North Coast. I know, the ABC really should put me on a retainer. But this morning we were not talking Fat Runner, we were talking food fads: the good the bad and the downright alarming.

A major burger chain is bringing out a sundae with bacon on top.

Let’s just leave that sentence hanging there in all its shame. I get the sweet and savoury thing with bacon – I have a definite weak spot for pancakes, bacon and maple syrup but come on, that sundae has “publicity stunt” stamped on every gram of fat in its soft serve abomination. So what, we pondered, were some other food fads that had us wringing our hands, looking at the plate and going why? WHY?

focaccia with semi dried tomatoes
* SNAP! Focaccia AND sun-dried tomatoes.
  1. Focaccia – I mean, some would argue it’s abuse was enough to drive LA and every starlet in the world to Atkins. But it was merely a launching pad to the Turkish bread, the ciabatta and one that is currently everywhere, the sourdough.
  2. Tomatoes – sun-dried, semi-dried, we can’t leave that poor fruit along. I actually bought some sun-dried tomatoes a few weeks back. Yep. Too soon.
  3. The friand. Now, a well made friand can be a delight, but the standard friand that was everywhere 10-15 years ago was a little bullet of dry marzipany badness. Glad to see the back of those badboys.
  4. Banana Bread. IT’S CAKE PEOPLE, CAKE! You’re eating buttered cake for breakfast and wondering why you’re fat.
  5. Cupcakes. Whipped butter icing on substandard cake. The end of this farce can not come soon enough as far as I’m concerned.
  6. Macarons. MasterChef and Adriano Zumbo have a lot to answer for.
  7. Rainbow cakes. Not clever. Just time consuming and of show pony class. Also? Not cool serving a kid a slice of cake as big as their head.
  8. Cake Pops. Make a cake, crumble it, smoosh it back together and stick it on a stick? JUST EAT THE CAKE PEOPLE.
  9. Pesto anything. I am a purist when it comes to such things. Pesto is pine nuts, garlic, basil, parmesan and olive oil. Once you’re adding cashews, capsicum, THAI flavours you’re dead to me. Move along.
  10. Foams, dusts and dirts. Seriously? We’re deconstructing our food to such a level it’s referencing where it came from? If I wanted bacon dirt I’d be eating the soil from the pigs cloven foot.

Enough already, just put the food on the plate, make it look nice, eat local and seasonal and put an end to this nonsense.


So what food fad do you recall? GO!




* photo by Steve Brown for


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  • I love so many of these things it’s hard to know where to begin really! Perhaps I should go hide somewhere with my forbidden foods! But I will say it is the smooshing together of the cake and the cream cheese icing and coating it in chocolate that makes it awesome. And there’s nothing substandard about the cake in my cupcakes.

    You know what I’m over? As a vegetarian, whenever people are making anything vegetarian they put in crap loads of capsicum. What is that? Whatever you are making will survive without capsicum. And if you don’t include it I will thank you for not making everything else in the dish tainted by the flavour of capsicum.

    I am well on board with the sun dried tomatoes situation.
    Zoey @ Good Googs recently posted..The Hierarchy of Sickness

    • MY cupcakes are also certainly not sub-standard but once you’re in a shop buying them – craptastic is a term that comes to mind. Unless of course you’re somewhere uber fancy, by which time you’re paying for a cupcake what you should be paying for an entire cake.

      You and Chef would get on like a house on fire. While he’s not a vegetarian he abhors all things capsicum. It is basically the ONLY time you will see my husband reject food. You two should totally form a Fight the Capsicum posse.

      • I hate capsicum too.


        • Again with the capsicum hating. Chef will be pleased. He basically refuses to cook with it. #weirdos #thelotofyou

  • My cupcakes are awesome too. There really should an “other people’s cupcakes” caveat on that fad. TOTALLY with you on the banana cake. Also, muffins are just cake too. Cupcakes and muffins? The difference is icing. They are also not a breakfast food.

    I never liked foccacia. Too…. bready.
    The Accidental Housewife recently posted..Uninterruptable

    • EXACTLY.
      Focaccia always so yeasty you’d buy canesten on the way home for the yeast infection…

  • Linda

    no bake philly-cheescake from the 70’s

    a moment’s silence for the millions of tins of condensed milk that were sacrificed needlessly

    • A can of condensed milk is a dead can walking in this house. Also, we just don’t see enough things involving gelatin do we.

  • Mrs Woog

    Oh my god. Where does chorizo sit?

    • On every single plate in every single cafe. Clearly. Chorizo. The sundried tomato of the twentyteens.

  • sophiefair

    Balsamic vinegar. Enough said.

  • I’m just going to stand over here on my own with my freshly toasted foccacia with sundried tomato and capsicum (among other things), and cupcake for later. And yeah. I’m a maker of a rainbow cake. I even stuffed my with a heart. The 1yo posse totes thought I was awesome ok?

    • Wait. You stuffed a rainbow cake with a heart? Please tell me there were unicorns.

  • Stephanie Deck

    Panna cotta. Need I say no more.

  • So very, very true! Totally agree that banana bread is just cake for breakfast, have never been able to try it for breakfast. Happy to make it for my kiddies for a treat, but it has no place at breakfast. And thanks for pointing out the obvious stupidity of cake pops – was nearly tempted to give them a try.
    sannah recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – Nature

    • Back away from the cake pop. Stand DOWN! ALthough I have to confess -when they first came out I did make them as part of the Daring Bakers Challenge I used to partake in. But they were cheesecake ones. So you’d make a cheesecake, scoop some off into a ball and then stick a stick in. A little less madness.

  • Debbie Phillip

    The craziness that goes with coffee………it’s a liquid not an adjective academy

    • DEBBIE – so true. It’s like fancy salt. When you break it down? IT’S SALT.

  • I bought a jar of sundried tomato strips last week because I cannot remember the last time I had them, and am enjoying them.

    As a get in-get-out ‘cook’ I have to say it’s just the very fad of food showponyism I do not and never will understand. While I do enjoy all forms of productive creativity I cannot worship celebrity chefs and this monster they’ve created.

  • Jaye Bain

    think you will find they are macarons, macaroons are coconut biscuits your grandma used to make. Cupcakes for me are all about the icing. was never a fan of foccacia. but come-on the rainbow cake is so good but you are right so wrong at the same time.

    • YES – I must admit I always get the macaron/macaroon thing around the wrong way. Shall rectify toot sweet.

      Rainbow cakes? SHOW.PONY. And look, I’m all for a giddyup but enough with the hommage to food colouring.

  • I remember 20 years ago going to a cafe with my aunt who was visiting from the country, she asked if they had any scones. The reply? “We don’t do scones in Mosman. In Mosman we only do muffins.”

    As for fads:
    Chocolate fondants about 8 years ago.
    Wedges with sour cream and sweet chilli
    Chocolate mud cake (esp if it was called Mississippi Mud, all fancy like).
    Rockmelon and prosciutto (actually just prosciutto, it was the chorizo of the 90s).
    Pork belly and scallops.
    Crepes. Seafood crepes with a thick white sauce.
    Corinne recently posted..I’m bringing sexy back

  • I am strangly embarrased and proud to say I have never eaten a macaron, but I am a fan of turkish bread. Not so much sun dried tomatoes, bluergh!

    You left out truffle oil. And salted caramel.
    Mrs BC recently posted..Date Night

  • oh my gosh, I’m so hungry now!!! All of those things sound delicious! And I could eat them right now. You’re always making me hungry with your instagrams too….
    P.S. Pancakes, bacon, and maple syrup are so incredibly delicious. I’m surprised you like it. Most Aussies think it’s crazy.
    Mommy Adventures recently posted..One of those mornings…

  • Awesome post … I do succumb to some of the above but I promise not to indulge in bacon on softserve! I won’t be giving away my french toast, bacon and maple syrup on Sundays though x

    • I LOVE bacon, maple syrup and pancakes. LOVE.

  • I hate any bread that leaves my face feeling like it’s covered in flour or bits of something. I will be wiping my face all day. Just normal bread thanks! (although a bit of turkish is just fine).
    Chicken and cranberry everything. (gotta love it though)
    I don’t know the difference between a macaroon and a macaron and I don’t give a flying squirrel.

    I LOVE sundried tomato. LOVE. and pesto.

    A fad I hated was the cheeseball.
    Toushka Lee recently posted..We Hired A Nanny!

    • Cranberries!

      OH look, I LOVE pesto, but it was everywhere and on everything.

      The cheeseball? OMG – was that the cream cheese balls with different layers?

  • claire

    The smear of puree on the plate- skidmark

    • Skid marks fall into the same category as dust, dirts and foams. Madness. Absolute madness.

  • deb

    anything with a jus. or a reduction. Just call it gravy and be done with it.

    and I am so with you on cupcakes. Every second stall at the handmade market here in CBR on the weekend was a fucking cupcake stall. and they are all AWFUL!

    • Ahh but deb, a gravy is a flour-based sauce, a jus is a very slow reduction. OH GOD. Someone slap me.

  • Megan

    Omygod you are hilarious – JUST EAT THE CAKE PEOPLE – love it! What about those annoying portuguese tarts in 90s? And the youth of today seem to be ‘fully sick’ over sliders, tapas and mexican bite-sized anything. Fad, fad, fad.

    • Portuguese tarts were just trying to cut in on those egg custard tarts you get at yum cha. It was a battle too big to fight.

      Sliders – this is new and I’m still enjoying it, but that could be because I’m a total guts and love how you can just jam ’em down without even noticing.

      Tapas – aka how many ways can you incorporate squid and chorizo into a dish.

  • Janene

    Bring back fried cheese bread!! We are on holidays in Cairns and we have just pigged ourselves stupid at the Sizzler dessert bar. How would fancy pants Zumbo feel about the all you can eat dessert bar??

  • 1. MY cupcakes, like Zoeys, and am sure many others here ARE awesome.
    2. Never a fan of the focaccia nor the sun dried tom.
    3. Rainbow cakes? MY mum made rainbow cakes (god rest her soul) they were:
    chocolate, pink and vanilla…..not to be confused with Marble…when all the mix was swirled a bit before baking.
    4. LOVE well-done frenchtoast, strawbs (or BERRY of other names- geddit) with bacon on side and maple syrup. Have it about twice a year at Fusion in Manly when dad takes me there.
    5. Crazes?? garnished. with the bean sprouts, the alfalpha (always smelled like turf farm ) parsley in cute sprigs… BTW ..have done these…am guilty.
    6. Ribbon Sandwiches. Love them when soft bread & wonderful fillings. Done v well at Tearooms at Gunners Barracks – name dropper – our kids had their wedding there. BUT if you ever go for High Tea, beware the protected kookaburra. Flies in, swooped under the tray of sandwiches, and took off with the egg one (was OK as am not a fan of egg)

    That’s all. Enough? Too much?
    Oh, yes why does no-one make a Napoleon slice anymore…the cake shop at Fairlight had them in the 1960s&70s. Flaky pastry, jam, cream, icing, cake layer..oh layers!!

    Denyse XX

  • Deep fried camembert. Remember that? And then you’d order death by chocolate.

    And yes, Thai pesto is not pesto people, it’s just not.
    Naomi recently posted..What does your loo say about you?

    • OH MAN – deep fried crumbed cubes of camembert. With cranberry sauce. And yes – death by chocolate. So true!

  • tracy

    Well, I pretty much still eat everything everyone’s mentioned. Also curried eggs. And I don’t eat them because I’m retro I eat them because I never stopped liking them. Except cupcakes. I like looking at the cupcakes, but I’ve only ever bought one, and between us, the whole family couldn’t eat them. But I make awesome cupcakes.

    Also, I love cake for breakfast. I would say I learnt to love cake for breakfast when I was in Greece, but then I’d sound like a wanker.

    • I love me a curried egg sandwich. I too make awesome cupcakes. It irritates me when these things become a ‘thing’, sullying a perfectly good foodstuff with substandard offerings.

  • tracy

    Also, if anyone still served kabana and metwurst on platters with dices of cheese I would deadset eat that too.

    • Would eat it all until my head fell off quite frankly. You did see my masterclass on fried devon the other week? Klassy. All the way.

  • Tanya_blogreader

    Caesar Salad. Every cafe. Every fast food joint has it in something, even chicken caesar sushi.

    • YES. And with a withered dried out sliced chicken breast on top. GAG.

  • Jenniferfr

    Hey dumbass, banana bread isn’t cake. It is a quick bread. It doesn’t have the same ratios as a cake. Trying to be clever and looking like a dumb ass at the same time. Sheesh, get over yourself.

    • Oh Jenniferfr, do you need a hug? Maybe a cupcake?

  • whoa, Jenniferfr, I assume you are a very good mate of Kim’s who is having a go in a lighthearted way…..?
    Remember when marrow was on top of every meat you got at a restaurant? I think banana bread was a very Sydney (or at least not a Melbourne) thing until quite recently, when it has started turning up everywhere. Regardless of ratios, tastes like cake to me.
    Julie recently posted..Probably/definitely

    • I know not who Jenniferfr is. Poor pet. I think she needs a cupcake.

  • Mel

    What about the hideous fad for “gourmet” pizza in the nineties? Tandoori chicken pizza? Criminal.

  • Last summer I noticed the watermelon, fetta and mint salad got a big workout.
    Rachel @ The Kids Are All Right recently posted..Helping your kids handle social pressure

    • People keep telling me it is delicious but I just can not abide by the fruit + savoury concept. I will try anything but this? The THOUGHT of feta and watermelon in my mouth at the same time makes me involuntarily gag.

  • I LOVE cupcakes and I have baked a rainbowish cake and Mr Duyvken makes focaccia for me because I love it so much AND I like sun-dried tomatoes and semi-dried tomatoes and oven-roasted tomatoes.
    I like mud cake and baked cheesecake and I ADORE banana bread and pear-raspberry bread eaten toasted with butter.
    I also bake friands quite regularly because they are a good way to use the egg whites that you end up with after making pasta.
    All this probably bothers foodies but I quite like being slightly behind the times.
    I suspect that a year from now you will find me baking vegan macarons using only organic ingredients sourced locally so that I can claim low Food Miles Travelled.
    Amelia recently posted..Muffins – a work in progress

    • Dude – it’s absolutely acceptable to like any or all of these foods, but they have definitely been the victim of a fad – found anywhere and everywhere. Post about morning tea with the PM coming!



    Whew. I for one will sleep better tonight knowing that you have taken the first step towards turning the tide.

    But about the pesto. Just a few almonds in with the pine nuts? That’s okay isn’t it?

    Isn’t it?
    alison recently posted..I don’t have a creative bone in my body

  • Totally with your food philosphy – keep it simple! I wonder what the go is with gelatine? I was watching masterchef the other night, and over a perfectly normal meal, the chef laid a sheet of stock flavoured gelatine. God help me. What I wanted to know is, do you live on the mid-north coast of NSW to be talking to Katya Quigley? Just wanted to know, cos she’s on my local ABC.

  • Lou

    Fo-cack-ia: Just a massive burp waiting to happen. How about sticky date pudding? It always lost me at sticky date.