Food trends come and go, just like fashion trends. New ingredients, cuisines, chef creativity, and changing consumer tastes shape restaurant menus. Each era writes its own menu.
Before Wolfgang Puck and Alice Waters popularized pizza at their trendy California restaurants, pizza was mostly found at pizza parlors. Now it’s everywhere, even at fancy restaurants. About 20 years ago, most Americans had never heard of or eaten burrata, romesco, kimchi, pork belly, or grilled octopus. Today these foods are commonplace.
Meanwhile, some 20th century classics like Caesar salad, fettuccine Alfredo, roast chicken, and steak frites remain popular. But when was the last time you saw consommé madrilène, brook trout amandine, or baked Alaska on a menu?
To be sure, there are still places serving such retro dishes, ironically or not, but they are undeniably an endangered species. Sometimes the raw materials they’re based on are endangered species, too, like abalone and snapping turtle. Other times, we’ve just grown too sophisticated (or think we have) to eat fussy old-style fare like turkey Tetrazzini or steak Diane.
These extinct menu items are worth trying before they vanish completely. If you see them, give them a taste before they’re gone for good. These are food fads from the decade you were born.
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