The mystical, mysterious happenstance of food trends has always amazed and slightly confused me. Why is it necessary that we deem certain foods more trendy than other foods at certain points in time? These poor foods are like overworked child stars: they might not want to be pitted against each other, but we’re their pushy stage moms, forcing them to smile.
Furthermore, who decides which food will be The Food? Is there a private council that meets at a Momofuku after-hours, wearing expensive hoodies and drinking kombucha and talking only in whispers? Is a larger entity making these decisions? Bon Appétit, is this you? You were, after all, one of the mainstream channels that started to do all kinds of weird stuff with Sriracha back in 2013. Why do we do such bad things to good condiments? For the clicks? Do we as a food-loving nation still not possess but a single shred of dignity? It’s like a dog in a costume: cute at first, but after a while you feel bad the poor thing is being exploited. Dogs don’t need glasses! Just let them be!
There’s one trend, however, that has proven too annoying and pervasive to ignore. As you probably guessed from the title of this post (Is ruining the surprise bad journalism? Is that what I’m doing here?), the most criminal of all the trends is avocado toast. Not particularly innovative or exotic enough to be fussed over, avocado toast snuck in under all our watches, into our track-lit kitchens, onto our artisan cutting boards and striped linen napkins, and somehow made us think that these two ingredients together could somehow change the world.
Don’t get me wrong: there is no bigger fan of toast than me. For a short period of time, I considered getting a loaf of bread tattooed on my arm — bread is foundational, it’s universal, it’s communal. Bread alone represents everything that food and eating represent. And, as a half-Hispanic Floridian, I was literally raised on avocados (and Selena and Publix).
I love both ingredients; I even enjoy them together, I really do. But the point I am raising is that a food becoming trendy often entails something so inherently simple and perfect becoming over-fetishized, reconfigured, and given a persona that makes you forget why you even loved it in the first place.
It doesn’t take much searching to find some hyperbolized drool about this uninspired snack. In fact, the very first link after typing “avocado toast is bullshit” into Google was a Huffington Post article with a headline that could not have been more enticing:
Nigella Lawson got lambasted on the Internet when she got lazy and made some on her show, Simply Nigella—Huffington Post shouldn’t emerge unscathed. It’s hard to ignore the ridiculousness of calling this a “recipe,” as if it belongs in the same category as something penned by Escoffier or Bocuse or even Guy Fieri.
Structurally and proportionally, this “recipe” is a disaster. I love pears and I love blue cheese, but how can you expect to shove this creation into your mouth hole, avocado toast architect, without the cheese and nuts falling all over your casually crumpled paper backdrop? The correct arrangement, if you must construct this, would be: avocado first, then cheese and nuts, then pear slices on top , as a blanket, reinforcement, protection. Otherwise, this is just methodically constructed to look pretty for a picture.
In fact, after a certain point, you can’t even call this avocado toast anymore. There’s a bunch of other crap on there. Slap on another piece of bread, and you’ve got yourself a capital S S andwich.
But I get it, HuffPo. This is an article about 16 avocado toasts that will give you a mind-crippling orgasm, and you’ve got an aesthetic to maintain. So it doesn’t matter if things are a little loose in the cilantro department because avocado toast is chill — even when it appears as if you poured a ladleful of chimichurri directly onto the cutting board, as if you weren’t really even aiming for the toast at all!
Listen: every ingredient has their purpose, and every person who works with those ingredients has an even greater purpose — a true civic duty — to treat those ingredients with love and showcase them in their truest way. Who knows what will be the next It Food? (Seriously, who knows? Questlove? Padma Lakshmi? Who can I email?) Yet regardless if it’s lemon seed paste or hummus shakes or sparkling water pills, you are a talent manager, and your food is the talent — help it get to the best version of what it’s trying to be, and don’t buy into the fads. Don’t mock it up in a British war slogan . Don’t be an absent parent — love it as you love avocados themselves, because they never go out of season, and, thank the produce gods, they clearly taste perfect with and on anything at all.