Our phones ate before we did. Nothing changed more drastically in the decade than how we collectively decided to show off our requirement for sustenance.
With Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and the like hijacking our hippocampus, we spent several minutes of our meals capturing the essence of our 2 a.m. pizza to impress online strangers for internet points at the chagrin of our immediate company.
We heartily sought out restaurants that made photogenic food that went viral and got us those delicious thumbs, hearts, and comments.
This drove viral-food trends: small businesses looked to capture more attention with unique interesting items while big companies continued to try gimmicky mass-appeal foods in their own ways.
The second biggest change was the wave of anti-omnivore rhetoric — which I am totally here for.
Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, and modifications galore are extremely easy to poke fun at yes — but think about all the diversity of food it yielded.
We have so many options now! While it does seem, perhaps, superficial and silly, it’s also made the public more conscious about what we’re putting in our bodies.
“Impossible this” and “plant-based that” sounds pretty stupid, but that kind of innovation is exciting for where things are heading and how we can still eat tasty things AND be a pal to the Earth.
One good thing:
An army of specialists rose out of the 2010s like a group of chef whites-cladded Expendables.
Restaurants, pop-ups, and food trucks have reacted nicely to consumer demand for quality with smaller menus and better items. This has led to more businesses focusing on one really good item or a singular thesis that drives their food.
No split focus on trying to make everyone happy. You’re just doing you’re own thing, but really fucking really well.
That’s grown into food halls and markets where you can find singular great items from place to place — trying different foods in different and interesting ways. Food crawls were a welcome byproduct of this shift.
Also, fewer restaurants that make a ton of things, but each supremely mediocre.
Best places to eat in D.C., best recipes for the fall, top kombucha for when… you choose to drink kombucha.
Listicles exploded onto the food scene at an unknown time giving everyone an easy-to-use guide on what is currently en vogue and what has already been rendered passe.
It’s driven restaurant owners insane and although people may take them too seriously, they’ve provided a gastronomic road-map to see ‘what’s in.’
Listicles can be reductive and ignore some needed nuance but they’ve been more good than bad and have certainly changed how we pick out new restaurants to try or recipes to use.