Cooking alone is cool. From whipped and ego-insensitive coffees to recipes with their own hashtags, the food has gone as viral as the coronavirus itself.
Here are the definitive power rankings for quarantine food trends.
1. Café Dalgona
Café Dalgona, a smooth and creamy coffee. Photo: Ana Rocio Garcia Franco / Getty Images
This was the zero patient in the food trend epidemic that has now spread across the world. Stay with me here, because the origin story is confusing.
In January, Korean actor Jung Il-woo was filmed having a coffee at the Hon Kee Cafe in Macau, famous for its beaten coffee. The owner, Leong Kam-hon (who lost the use of an arm in a shipping container accident, became a kung fu devotee and opened a cafe) once served for Chinese actor Chow Yun-fat while he was filming Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in the early days nights. I told you I was confused.
Hon says he learned the technique of brewed coffee from "a foreign couple" years earlier. It is not clear whether the couple was just explaining the common Indian home-style “beaten coffee” (whose technique is identical), but soon Dalgona coffee (now named after its similarity to a nostalgic Korean honeycomb sweet) was spreading. between YouTubers, TikTokkers and Instagrammers. . In the second half of March, YouTube views of videos with "Dalgona" in the title increased by 5,000%.
I tried. It's very good.
Power rating: 4/10 outraged grandparents from India
2. Bolognese (spaghetti and lasagna)
A plate of pasta with bolognese sauce. Photograph: Justin Pinkney / Getty Images / Flickr RF
In the weeks before the blockade began and in the shadows of the toilet paper wars, our focus momentarily shifted from our asses to actually having food to eat. We accumulated pasta, canned tomatoes and ground beef – everyone decided it was time to eat their Bolognese.
Did you have spaghetti bolognese during isolation? Yes, you did. Did you make a lasagna because that was the only pasta you could buy? You probably did that too.
There's nothing wrong with a good pasta dish, of course, but I really wish the gyms were still open.
Power ranking: 5/10 pairs of elastic waist pants
Knead yeast. Photograph: Basak Gurbuz Derman / Getty Images
When the world collapsed, we produced yeast. We made yeast, even though we couldn't buy flour. We made yeast, although all the stores were full of bread.
You can call it a cottagecore if you like, but behind the aesthetic, the truth is, if you were producing yeast, it meant you were one of the luckiest people on Earth – healthy, safe and protected in every way. And in a pandemic that should not be taken for granted.
Power ranking: 6/10 $ 40 loaves of bread
4. Focaccia Gardens
Starting life as the less attractive “VanDough Focaccia BreadArt” from the Massachusetts baker Teri Culletto more than a year ago, iso-baking focaccia gardens push the spotlight directly.
In a world where everyone carried fermented dough, these colorful vegetable Impressionist works of art were an obvious pivot for "content creators" who wanted to stand out from the crowd. Soon these (literally) half-cooked works were spread all over the Gram and, to be honest, I didn't care.
I'm not even sure if you should eat them, but they look really good, right?
Power rating: 7/10 likes on Instagram
5. Ramen at home
I'm clearly biased in this case, but I also think that, of all the isolated culinary trends that took off, this was the only one that suggested that we really wanted to leave the house.
With impossible international travel and closed restaurants all over the world, you might think that we would be trying to recreate Michelin-starred meals and far-off rates from foreign countries, but we didn't. When it comes to cooking, home is where the heart is. The closest we got to the outside was a bowl of noodles.
Power rating: 8/10 empty planes
6. Secret corporate recipes
In April, companies had already really and truly jumped into the culinary isolation, launching official recipes for popular food products. Ikea revealed its “iconic” meatball recipe, and in the same week Arnott opened the safe for the Monte Carlo, before dropping the Scotch Finger as a new Ariana Grande track soon after.
From a marketing point of view, it was brilliant: reformulating processed products like homemade dishes, earning millions in free advertising, and seeming to help isolated people at the same time. The only thing needed was for the public and the media to ignore how these recipes had no resemblance to the products actually on sale – which, in general, we did.
Power rating: 2/10 inches free speaker
7. #thestew by Alison Roman
The most powerful trend in isolated cooking should be #thestew. Certainly, more people probably made bolognese or yeast – but, as a cultural commentary, #thestew had it all.
A recipe from one of the global epicenters of the virus, cooked in New York by young people and confined at home; a rising star; an explosive interview (ish), with allegations of racism, celebrity fights and a good old cancellation.
I will leave the drama to the Internet archivists, but I want to address one point of criticism – which has # settled casually into cultural appropriation.
Did an attractive white middle-class woman appropriate the Indian chana masala for fame and fortune? Of course not.
Personally, I don't think you need to provide a dissertation on the origins of all the spices when you decided to put a teaspoon and a half in a recipe. Putting chickpeas and literally two spices in a stew makes you Indian? If an Indian person puts pepper in a recipe, do they need to shout at Christopher Columbus and the new world 500 years after the fact?
I can tell you with a degree of certainty that, if Alison Roman dared to call himself # Indian again, the rebukes would have been quick and severe. Also, I'm sure she isn't trying to convince anyone that she invented saffron.
Of course, we must be aware of which voices are high in the food media, and the divorce of recipes from their cultural origins has its problems, but attribution is not one of them.
It is not as if the cooks of the subcontinent never published their own recipes for chickpea stews. You could have cooked one of these, if you wanted.
When something goes viral, it is not because of the person who created it. It is not even because of the media. It's because of us.
If you want to know why chickpea stew took off in a minute from New York or why a Korean actor sent Indian coffee around the world, don't ask Alison Roman or Jung Il-woo. Ask yourself.
I think you probably already know the answer.
Power rating: 10/10 pitchforks online