The Year in Food 2008

The Year in Food 2008

Overexposed

The Last Time We’re Ever Going to Print the Word Bacon

Bacon is tasty. That’s never been seriously disputed, and in recent years, the presence of bacon as a secular sacrament of food bloggers and the kind of people who make their own ironic T-shirts has become unavoidable. We’ve been assaulted by bacon-flavored salt, the Baconator, Baconnaise, country-fried bacon, the $150 artisanal bacon-of-the-month club, chocolate-covered bacon, the bacon alarm clock, etc., etc., etc. In 2008, however, the worm may have finally turned on the bacon fetish. New York magazine’s Grub Street blog took Salon to task for its “tiresome” and “predictable” Pork Week article “Bacon Mania,” asking in an understatedly self-referential way: “When will the anti-bacon backlash come?” It has come, baby, and you done brought it. —James Norton

Novelty Pancakes, Pickles, and Salt, Oh My

For those who find adding water to pancake mix too exhausting, Batter Blaster, the premixed pancake and waffle batter in an aerosol can, launched nationally this year (it was previously only available on the West Coast), working its way onto Live with Regis and Kelly in August, where the hosts actually managed to make it look challenging to use. Dorks on YouTube followed suit with their own, unnecessary demo videos. Likewise, the Pickle Sickle, a frozen pop made of pickle juice, was a sleeper hit, publicized in the New York Times and the Washington Post. J&D’s kosher

vegetarian Bacon Salt completed the triad of overhyped foods, appearing on news segments everywhere and a, yes, Facebook group. Still, the Bacon Mary, a Bloody Mary made with Bacon Salt and garnished with a strip of bacon, sounds like a good idea. Such is the power of pig. —Roxanne Webber

The Latest Rachael Ray Pile-On

Last year, we jumped all over Rachael Ray for being married to a weirdo. This year, the media piled on Ray when she decided to appear as a spokesperson for Dunkin’ Donuts. Anthony Bourdain even accused her of doing the equivalent of “endorsing crack for kids.” To top it off, her ads were eventually pulled when Fox News called her a terrorist for her choice of neckwear. —Meredith Arthur

Fro-Yo, No, No!

Also in the will-not-die department, fro-yo swirled its way across the States, spreading the availability of low-cal pap to the skinny-jeans crowd nationwide. There were indie shops opening in Arizona and California. Mr. Yogato opened in DC. Fro-yo kingpin Pinkberry celebrated its 50th shop and settled the what-the-hell’s-in-this-crap lawsuit. We also saw the beginnings of a backlash. The Village Voice questioned fro-yo’s virtuous status, calling out the “interchangeable, infantile shop names—YoGo Monster, Yolato, Oko, /eks/, Flurt, Pinkberry, Yorganic,” and getting heavyweight food author and professor Marion Nestle to take a look at Pinkberry’s ingredients. “I’d judge it a poor-quality commercial frozen yogurt (compared, say, to Häagen-Dazs) on the grounds that it has replaced real food ingredients with additives and emulsifiers,” she told the Voice. “The calories seem low [70 calories per 1/2 cup], and I don’t see how they can do that unless the bulk of the ingredients are indigestible.” —Roxanne Webber

Brand Extensions of the Rich and Famous

It seems these days everyone’s got his own vanity booze: Dr. Dre has announced his Drinks America line of spirits, Sammy Hagar has Cabo Wabo premium tequila, and Donald Trump has his eponymous vodka. But you know that the celebrity alcohol thing has gotten out of hand when Dan Aykroyd spends what feels like an hour and 45 minutes lecturing you about magical vodka stored inside a crystal skull. —James Norton