The Pundificator Mocks Trendy Food

Those who delight at boarding school sarcasm miss few opportunities to mock trendy food.

True, I have overdone this on occasion as evidenced by epidemics of eye rolling caused by the mere mention of either quinoa or kale. Both have served my sarcasm needs well, but — for different reasons — both should now follow the Obama administration into well-deserved retirement.

Kale was not actually as bad as I first imagined. It can be cut off the unpleasant stems with tiny scissors and made to taste crunchy even though crunchy is not technically a taste.

Quinoa was stolen from the indigenous people of the Andes by colonialist foodies and served up to Brooklyn hipsters at spectacular markups that failed to trickle down to the indigenous people.

For revenge, the indigenous people withheld their traditional hats leaving the hipsters to their own devices. This did not end well for the hipsters and it was even worse for the hipster spectators.

Au revoir quinoa, kale and Obama (for reasons that are actually not dissimilar) and make way for the new improved 2017 food trends.

My research for this story consists of what the biz-speak people call a “deep dive” into a single article by Christy Brissette. In her zeal to identify the 2017 food trends, Christy left a whole bunch readers like me in her artisanal, locally grown, organic, farm-to-table dust.

“If the food trends of 2016 could be summed up in three words, they would be: protein, paleo and local.”

I had been unaware of this but I wonder if thoughtful political observers might have improved their election predictions by linking 2016’s newly trendy “protein, paleo and local” to Donald Trump and the outdated quinoa and kale to Hillary Clinton.

Imagine the political prognosticator who could have associated protein and paleo with blue-collar voters and local with an antitrade agenda? He’d have replaced Greta Van Susteren on Fox News instead of Tucker Carlson.

Ms. Brissette zooms past the words “Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo” in her second paragraph with nothing more than a link.


Who knew there even was a food and nutrition Conference let alone that it was accompanied by an Expo? We then learn that there were 10,000 nutrition professionals, 416 exhibitors and 130 “research and educational presentations, lectures, panel discussions and culinary demonstrations.”

What is a nutrition professional? Is this a job that can neither be outsourced nor automated? If so, it might explain why there were so many of them.

Now, get ready to be jealous.

“Step aside, quinoa. There’s a new gluten-free whole grain gaining traction among the health-savvy. It’s called sorghum and it’s homegrown: The ‘sorghum belt’ runs between South Dakota and southern Texas.” (So does fracking.)

“With demand for fiber-rich gluten-free options and local food continuing to grow into 2017, this whole grain is one to watch.”

How do you not wish you had written those two paragraphs? How do those who backed Carly Fiorina or Martin O’Malley feel about the political equivalent of watching the wrong whole grain?

I have never heard of “sprouting” but apparently I will in 2017, when everything will be sprouting up a storm. I can even do it myself if I am unconcerned about food safety, which I am. If your fridge is filled with little containers of left over this and that, I am definitely your guy. I sail through that stuff leaving the newly emptied containers neatly arrayed in your dishwasher. This is another skill that is tough to outsource or automate. Like nutrition professional.

I will care about sprouting because it “increases the nutritional value of plant foods by leaps and bounds.” Also (and you’ll want to be sure not to miss this), “sprouting helps deactivate ‘anti-nutrients’ such as phytic acid, making the protein and minerals easier to absorb. For example, sprouting rye can increase its folate content almost four times.”

I do not actually understand the meaning of any of these words. Well, except some of the verbs. Has my lifetime disregard for phytic acid and folate content been unwise?

Here is another trend to watch: “legumes are going to dominate the snacking market in the new year with more roasted chickpea companies expanding nationwide and offering enticing flavors from mesquite barbecue to Thai coconut.”

Imagine the shame of going through most of a lifetime not even knowing there were any roasted chickpea companies let alone that there would soon be more of them. You’ll be comforted to know that I do know what a legume is.

Did you know there were food villains? This too had eluded me. But Christy Brissette again to the rescue: “Low-fat, carbohydrate and sugar-rich foods are the food villains of 2016. (Like Russian hackers or emails hidden among the naughty pictures on Anthony Weiner’s computer.) It follows that 2017 will be all about embracing the health benefits of a nutrient we once feared, fat.”

Upon wise instruction I have distanced myself from fat but I confess that I have never actually feared it. Apparently, in 2017, this will no longer be a problem.

I have now doubled the number of topics about which I can contribute nothing: what Donald Trump will begin to do in about three weeks time and the subtleties of 2017 food trends. Though, in both cases, I am wary of dark forces at work.

And fake news, always fake news.




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Haven Pell

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Without hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

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  • Do not eat Kale, if you are a male. Or a female.

    Do not eat Quinoa, because you don’t know how to pronounce it.

    Do not eat anything sprouted, because it rhymes with grouted.

    Eat Legumes when you happen upon them, even though you won’t
    know when that is.

    Pay plenty of attention to strong drink. The correct amount is not too much.

  • V. amusing.
    I will live in fear of sprouting, though I eat thru my already empty fridge, so nothing lives long.
    Actually I fear anything organic–it rots faster.
    Roasted chickpeas are the best. Indian stores sell all this protein-rich roasted bean-y type stuff that people in the Sub-Continent have been eating for eons. They never die.

  • Let us gibve thanks that the EPA’s mandate to replace grass with kale on golf links, and stem football concussion with genetically engineered sorgum-astroturf hybrids has perished with Clinton’s defeat.

  • My former senior partner said that growing and harvesting sorghum one summer encouraged him to go to law school and that the remembrance of that summer made him grateful for being able to work in air conditioning.

  • Dear Pundificator, I have a bag of fresh young very small kale leaves in my salad bin. I bought them over a week ago. They were a bit limp. I dumped them into a tub of cool water for 10 minutes. They are still the same color as they were then. They are still both crisp and tender. They go well with other greens in my nightly salad. I have found they deliquesce into black slime at about 1/10th the rate of fresh spinach. I only discovered this versatile green last month. I recommend it. Do I need to give it up in 2017?

  • Dear David,
    First I commend you for the splendid use of the word “deliquesce.” In a brazen effort to curry favor with libertyPell readers by making them feel good about themselves, I will provide a definition allegedly aimed at those less erudite than the ones to whom I am sucking up. Deliquesce describes the liquefaction of organic matter during decomposition. Some refer to this as the slippery spinach syndrome.

    To your question, no you do not need to give up your packets of tiny kale leaves in 2017. Turning large kale plants into carefully sculpted leaves packaged in puffy bags for distribution in pretentious Upper West Side grocery stores provides many jobs that will help to make America great again.

  • I’m concerned with Sorgum’s future/prominence if associated with the geographic of “evil fracking” cause we all know fracking causes water poisoning and earthquakes.
    And, oh yeah, you just know the evil frackers (to include Rex T) are Trump supporters!
    But then again, PC is dead/buried (along side of O’s legacy) and we should be able to shamelessly enjoy Legumes and Sorgums. Hoorah!

  • How interesting that there are, lurking among your followers, crypto-crunchy eco-foodies, who are, at the very least, nonplussed by your boarding school irony. I look forward to seeing what changes–both attitudinal and dietary–the Trump years will bring.

    • I have no idea if there are crypto-crunchy eco-foodies in the LibPell flock but every audience-building effort will be considered.