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Five Food Trends That Need to Die With 2014

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This year has seen some almighty good food trends from paleo-inspired, wood-grilled meats to the proliferation of pop-up restaurants, citrus everywhere and DIY foods, more global tastes than ever before, and even a ramen renaissance. But like every year, 2014 had its share of downer-grade food fails, and plenty of old dining habits that refuse to die and live on like nutriment-vampires sucking the very life out of the culinary industry. Let's make 2015 the year that we decapitate the decrepit, outdated food zombies and usher in a new annum of gastronomic creativity, preferably without any kale.

Here's a list of five food trends that need to die with 2014.

See also: The 13 most overcooked food trends of 2013, in Colorado and nationwide

5) Enough with the snoozy mac and cheese rehashes

I get the whole "comfort-food-is-comforting" culinary dynamic, but we are coming up on 2015, not 1951, and we can all really upgrade our palates to something, anything even slightly more creative than macaroni and cheese. Slapping mac & cheese onto a restaurant menu and adding lobster scrapings and green onions to it isn't making it any less a modest dish that can be made at home with little effort or cost, and aside from elbow noodles and cheese sauce being a huge mega-pirate ripoff, it's also stunting the pasta creativity of the entire culinary industry.

Macaroni and cheese variants need to be murdered until they are all dead, even (and especially) the ones with goat cheese, olives, cauliflower, buffalo chicken, kobe beef, edible effin' gold, and truffle oil.

4) Get lost, pretzel buns

I didn't ever-ever think that pretzels could be heinously misused, nor did I imagine that they would ever be used as weapons for shadow ninja chefs to destroy the fabric of humanity. Pretzels buns on every kind of sandwich was never a good idea, because although pretzel buns are enchanting, they just don't mesh well with sammie fillings like salami (or any kinds of cured meat, really) or tuna salad (or any sort of seafood, actually). Pretzel buns are salty, slightly sour, chewy and salty again, which makes them a good match for certain cheeses and mild fillings like chicken, turkey and veggies, but using them for everything just because they are popular has made them less delicious, and more annoying.

It takes a lot to make pretzels irritating, so howza 'bout we make the mismatched sandwich bun trend a short one, shall we?

3) Back away from the kale

Okay, everyone who eats food: kale is delicious, kale is nutritious, and kale needs to stop being trendy right now. Actually kale needed to quit being a thing right around the time restaurants started dumping it in salad bowls with handfuls of chickpeas, lemon squeezings, chopped dates and sheep-milk feta and charging a bloody ransom for it. Kale used to be cheap, and now it's not; it used to be elegant in its simplicity, and it got complicated. And if it wasn't for those cheesy-garlic kale chips, I would take a vow to stop eating kale until it permanently stopped being what hipsters use to show each other that they are super fucking organic kale heroes every day.

And power down on the micro kale fascination before it becomes unaffordable. It's a whole new year, so go obsess over iceberg lettuce or something.

For more deathly food trends, keep on reading.

2) Quit while you're ahead, cronuts.

Dominque Ansel probably had no clue that his croissant-doughnut creation was going to morph into one of the biggest counterfeit pastry items in living memory; the gazillion knock-off varieties of the cronut are usually passably edible at best. The problem with too much copycatting is twofold: replication fade results in inferior products, and creative immobility emphasizes replication over innovation. Monotonous and predictable are two words that could accurately describe the sad proliferation of the cronut. Diners deserve more than subpar pastries. When you can find cronuts at Dunkin' Donuts, you know it's long past time to ditch the trend.

And two more words for the cronut craze? Sod off.

1) Free us from gluten-free.

The gluten-free hysteria has gone way too far, and it needs to stop as soon as possible. There are folks who legitimately have Celiac disease or extreme wheat allergies, and it's great as hell for them to have more options than ever before. But there are far too many paranoid trend-fuckers who are picky because they want attention, but who couldn't even tell you what wheat gluten is, or why they don't want to eat it. Let's make a vow for 2015 to stop catering to unreasonable, self-diagnosing yupsters, and collectively ignore the gluten-free fad diets and dieters who believe that gluten is poisonous and that eschewing it will help them lose weight, eat healthier or leap tall buildings in single bounds.

Ending the gluten-free phase will free up every hypochondriac trendite to discover new, hopefully more interesting ways to freak out over a single food item.

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