Biggest Food Fads of the 21st Century

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Watermelon and feta salad

How do we know watermelon and feta salad has risen to a summer classic? According to Google Trends, searches for the combination have spiked every summer for the past ten years – and it has become a commonplace restaurant appetizer.

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Octopus can be found in the temperate coastal waters of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean as well as the Sea of Japan and other places, but in recent years has swum onto restaurant menus across the country too. Imported from Spain and elsewhere, it’s now a restaurant cliché – usually in the form of grilled or seared tentacles. Animal rights advocates are opposed to eating octopus, because it is an intelligent creature that feels pain, and is typically farmed under what are considered cruel conditions (and wild stocks are becoming depleted).

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Alternative sliders (cauliflower, pork belly, salmon, etc.)

Sliders were probably invented (or at least named) by the White Castle chain decades ago. The original ones were small steamed burgers on small buns. In the 2000s, however, the term has come to encompass small sandwiches of everything from salmon to pulled pork to cauliflower.

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Wagyu beef

You’ve probably never had Wagyu – not the real thing, anyway. The word just means “Japanese cattle,” but most of the now-ubiquitous “Wagyu” we find – as steak, burgers, jerky, or whatever – in fact comes from hybrid part-Japanese animals raised in the U.S. or Australia. That doesn’t mean it’s not good; it tends to be well-marbled and flavorful.

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According to, nutraceuticals are fortified food products, marketed as diet supplements, that purport to have disease prevention and medicinal properties. In 1989, Stephen DeFelice, founder and chairman of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, in Cranford, New Jersey, coined the term, combining “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical.” Fish oil capsules containing omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are one example of a nutraceutical. It should be noted that such products are not regulated as pharmaceutical drugs.

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