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The way it is in the food-o-sphere

I’m a long-time food blog reader and writer: I check foodgawker and punkdomestics so often it’s like a muscle tic. And there are some emerging trends I’d like to comment on thankyouverymuch.

Cooked things with weird names
Okay, so a fruit crumble is a kind of weird name, although at least the topping is crumbly. And I’ve seen enough cobblers to know what they are, although I’m stuffed if I know where the name comes from. But what the sweaty spatula is a brown Betty? What’s a buckle? Aunty Wikipedia explains: “varieties of cobbler include the Betty, the Grunt, the Slump, the Buckle, and the Sonker”. Apparently the Apple pan dowdy comes from the same family of mystifyingly named desserts. I can only assume there was a stage of culinary history where everyone was suddenly sick to death of cobblers, so cooks had to come up with new names to distract diners from the grinding, demoralising repetition. I don’t know if I could eat an Apple Slump. It just sounds like a bit of a low note to end a meal on.

And if one person, just one, ever offers me something with the horrible, stupid, ridiculous name of “boy bait” (as in “Care for a slice of the peachberry boy bait I whipped up because I’m a giggling idiot?”), murder will be done and blogged about. Sweet cheese and fries, a dish name that suggests it can be used to entrap a male partner? What kind of dickhead notion is that? I’m pretty sure boy entrapment is frowned upon in most cultures, if not illegal, regardless of what you use as bait.

How is cookie dough a flavour? Isn’t a cookie a small portable baked good available in a stunning variety of flavours and textures? I stunned someone with a variety of cookies the other day, I’m sure of it. Cookies can be: gingery, pumpkin-y, banana-y, full of M&Ms or chocolate chips, loaded with Cornflakes, sandwiched either side of squishy filling, topped with icing and sprinkles, chai flavoured, orange flavoured, cranberry-studded, raspberry-centred, crumbly with oats, crunchy, dry, chewy, sticky, melty, covered in icing sugar, and hung from Christmas trees. Saying something is cookie dough flavoured makes as much sense as saying something is sandwich flavoured. Cookies aren’t a flavour, they’re a medium. So why are we seeing cookie dough flavoured ice cream, cakes, muffins and dip? What the fuck is cookie dough dip? Isn’t that just runny cookie dough? Euw. I’ve never been a lick-the-bowl cook, and that pre-made cookie dough in a tube, as cookies or as a standalone snack, is not very good. Cookie dough isn’t very good. That’s why you cook it.

Things I am in favour of
There are some exceptional trends in foodblogland that I would like to praise. It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the foodin’ world reflects the fact. I can’t read two blog posts without reading about peaches, berries or mango salsa. And the cocktails! Man. I don’t even like summer much, but for the cocktails I’ve seen, I’ll move to the equator. List time! Things I like seeing in the food blog world right about now:

  1. Ice cream, frozen yoghurt, sorbet, granita, popsicles, etc.: I love reading recipes for these and will never get sick of seeing them. I don’t and probably never will own an ice cream maker, but man, do I love reading about homemade ice creams. They always look so creamy and smooth and exciting and…excuse me a moment. Ahem. I’ve made lemon sorbet, but the weather at the moment is not really encouraging me to yum it down. It’ll keep. I’ve got wistful dreams for frozen yoghurt and coconut ice cream, too…I guess summer’s not so bad, is it?
  2. Coconut! Woot! Fats and oils in general have been enjoying a Renaissance over the past five years or so, as everyone earnestly explains the difference between good fats and bad fats. So there’s a lot more nut, avocado and coconut recipes coming out, and a good thing too. Especially for vegans: vegan cooking relies heavily on this glorious trinity to provide delicious fats and oils in baking, not to mention the protein from nuts and avocado. But we’re talking coconut here. For a long time, coconut was kind of an unpopular flavour, or at least that’s how it was dealt with in cartoons/movies/TV shows. (Picture any scene where someone’s eating chocolates from a box: what flavour are they mostly likely to spit out and put back?) But the food blog world — including me — is rediscovering coconut and it’s an awesome development. Coconut milk curries are the bomb; coconut milk transforms your satay sauce into the next creamy dimension; toasted coconut in a curry is definitely special; and shredded coconut does some pretty amazing work in muesli and cakes (especially hummingbird cake, holy crap-paddles, that’s good). Welcome back, coconut.
  3. Corn. Yessir. This trend will no doubt gain momentum as summer turns to autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, and that suits me just fine. Today I’ve admired: grilled corn salsa, spiced corn cobs, BBQed corn with miso dressing, creamed corn (oh be still my heart) and extra corny cornbread. Yessssss. More corrrrn.

A final hooray
Milk. Moo milk. As part of my “what are you allergic to?” voyage, nay, adventure, one of the things that came back was that I am not, as previously assumed, lactose intolerant. The reasons I thought I was for so long: my Mumini is, and I was sick a lot as a kid, especially in the mornings. So the GP said it was probable, and I’ve mostly steered away from dairy for most of my life. The sick-in-the-mornings thing turned out to be attributable to something else, and subsequent bad reactions to dairy usually coincided with other pukey triggers (like, er, brandy). While at first I assumed I didn’t care whether or not I could have milk (since I wasn’t drinking it anyway, I didn’t really miss it), I thought I’d try it and see what it did. It did nothing except TASTE AMAZING. Why didn’t anyone tell me how yum milk is? I’ve been slurping it down like a gangsta ever since.

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