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Food Channel's top ten dessert trends for 2011: two out of ten ain't bad

Food Channel's top ten dessert trends for 2011: two out of ten ain't bad

If you hear it from the Food Channel, then it must be true. This crew's latest list -- of top-ten dessert trends -- includes mass wedding cake genocide, tableside theatrics, Cinnamon Twists from Taco Bell, beer paired with doughnuts, two-fisting nuts (and yes, "two-fisting" is being used as a verb here), cupcakes as nosferatu, an epitaph on how people are maybe greedy bastards or maybe not -- with exactly two accurate, useful trends out of ten.

I suppose that's better than none. Here's what the Food Channel is serving up now, and my response:

9. A Hint of Floral.

Food Channel says: "We're seeing lavender, especially, with little touches of it in baked goods such as cupcakes and macarons. You can find lavender syrups, and lavender-infused sugars in teas and yogurts served in some restaurants. Even a chain as mainstream as Ruby Tuesday has introduced a new lavender lemon-drop cocktail. Edible flowers, always popular as a garnish, are coming back in vogue as part of the aromatic and flavor experience."

I'm saying: This trend prediction is accurate. But it would take a helluva lot more than a lavender-infused cocktail and a mediocre salad bar to entice me to set foot in a Ruby Tuesday. A team of oxen couldn't drag my ass in there.

8. A Touch of Sweetness All Day Long.

Food Channel says: "This trend is about frequency, not quantity. In tough economic times, we seek to soothe ourselves with small rewards and little luxuries. So it is with desserts. Maybe it's a slice of pastry at breakfast, or fresh organic strawberries added to the oatmeal. At lunch time, we might order the Cinnamon Twists at Taco Bell to cap off our cheesy double-decker taco meal.

"Perhaps we swing by Starbucks for a cake pop afternoon snack. After dinner at home, it might be just a piece of good quality chocolate from Dove or Ghiradelli. Dessert is no longer about death-by-chocolate over-indulgence, it's now about sweet little rewards that help get us through the day."

I'm saying: Bullshit. People getting butt-rodgered by the still puny economy are white-knuckling it and cramming Hostess cakes into their gobs half a box at a time; organic strawberries are too freaking expensive in these "tough economic times" to put in your mouth, let alone a bowl of Quaker oats, and the Cinnamon Twists from Taco Bell have never been and never will be trendy for any reason. And if Dove and Ghiradelli are examples of good-quality chocolate, then the current Denver mayor's race is a good example of two gentlemen engaging in polite, scholarly debate.

7. Desserts in the Raw. Food Channel says: "Yes, the raw-foods movement has entered the dessert realm. Don't know if the act of biting into a fresh crisp apple could be considered trendy, but how about if it was a raw (uncooked) cupcake? Today you can find raw and vegan versions of cupcakes, cheesecake, ice cream cakes, moon pies, tiramisu and many more. Sure, it's a bit on the fringe side, but it's getting bigger all the time." I'm saying: Cupcakes are turning into the undead dessert to the point where they should all be decorated with little capes and fangs. Raw cupcakes, huh? This brings to mind images of customers lined up at a dessert counter and a server with a hairy mole and a hairnet coming by with a Tupperware bowl and a spatula and scraping batter across each of their outstretched tongues. Sure, it's a bit on the fringe side, but these Food Channel lists get weirder and weirder all the time.

6. Whole Grains and No Grains. Food Channel says: "This is a food trend that's all about health. Whole grains are huge. If you can treat yourself to a satisfying dessert and also get a few g's of fiber, well, that's a win-win. We're seeing brown rice puddings, oatmeal crisp dessert toppings, and pies made with whole-grain crust. On the flip side, there are those who -- due to restricted diets -- need to avoid grains all together. More and more restaurants are accommodating those needs, including on the dessert menu. Gluten-free is found on nearly every menu now -- or will be soon. It's become trendy, even for those with no need to go gluten-free." I'm saying: This is another accurate trend prediction. Colon-cleansing whole grains are absolutely in vogue, and gluten-free is the new Atkins diet. And for those without actual medical reasons to shun wheat, there will always be the next thing to either load up on or avoid that will pop up somewhere around the moment that T.G.I. Friday's decides it's time to jump on board -- at least a decade from now.

5. Desserts for Grownups. Food Channel says: "Call this trend the maturing of America's sweet tooth. We're seeing milkshakes with a splash of rum, wine paired up with gelato, and beer partnered with doughnuts (okay that one's maybe more adolescent than grown-up). Restaurants are also using liquor add-ons to chocolate desserts as a way to boost check averages and offer the guest a little something extra. Want a shot of Baileys in that hot fudge sundae? It's just an extra $2.50."

I'm saying: Are they envisioning doughnuts made with beer, soaked in beer, floating in beer, served alongside beer, or maybe just a doughnut slid onto the neck of a bottle of Bud Light? Any/all of these options could be coming to a trailer park near you, so get dressed. Food Channel would be better off sticking to publicly fellating Eleven Madison Park in New York.



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