Edible and photogenic: the 21st century diet
f the saying “we are what we eat” turns out to be true, by 2020 there’ll be more unicorns than people. It’s all the fault of ‘unicorn food’, a food trend that makes everything pastel coloured and full of glitter. And when we say everything, we mean everything. The jam on your toast, the melted cheese in your sandwich, cakes, macaroons, milkshakes and, of course, the toppings you now find on your milkshakes (from doughnuts to lollipops). Unicorn food is making the headlines and even Starbucks has brought out a limited edition unicorn version of its frappuccino in blue and bubblegum pink, sprinkled with ‘magic’ powder. But the US chain is not the first (nor will it be the last) to jump on the edible fantasy bandwagon.
The colourful glasses at Caked LA went viral in the time it takes for an Instagram Story to disappear. Decorated with golden unicorn horns and ears, these milkshakes are the most popular items on the menu, although the rainbow cakes aren’t far behind. In their premises in Chino Hills (California) they serve home-made sweets with the aim of “making other people happy”. Not so far away, in Anaheim, Creme & Sugar has specialised in unicorn hot chocolate, topped with lots of clouds and the same happy spirit. In the summer they bring in a new menu following the other big mythological trend, mermaid food.
The mermaid craze has been out there for a couple of years. First it was mermaid hair, a trend headed by Kylie Jenner. The youngest Kardashian sister managed to convince us that dyeing your hair blue was a really good idea. Then along came the mermaid academies: hair wasn’t enough, we wanted to feel like mermaids in the water too. Adeline Waugh, creator of Vibrant & Pure, takes the ocean craze to the table by spreading it straight onto her toast. Her creations were soon all over social media. Fantasy for breakfast: can any diet beat that?
If you feel like your sugar levels are rising with so much cake and glitter, don’t worry, the culinary Stendhal isn’t always sweet. In fact, since we discovered that it contain healthy fats, the avocado has been a dominant theme. Whose mouth hasn’t watered at the sight of its incredible bright green colour? It was voted the colour of 2017 by Pantone and foodies have rushed to follow suit, adding it to all kinds of dishes. At the beginning of the year, a new restaurant opened in Amsterdam putting this fruit/vegetable in the spotlight. Its name is The Avocado Show and it uses avocado as burger buns, as bowls for hummus and for giving an extra touch of creaminess to all its desserts.
Not everyone has bought into the hype surrounding avocados. In October last year, an Australian columnist said it was the reason why so-called millennials couldn’t afford to buy their own homes. Bernard Salt criticised the quintessential ‘hipster brunch’ of mashed avocado on a slice of five-grain toast and topped with feta cheese, like the one served at Little Loco, in Brisbane (Australia). “But how can young people afford to eat like this? (…) Twenty-two dollars several times a week could go towards a deposit on a house”.
Well, that’s millennials for you. We prefer avocados and unicorns to buying property.