Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Salted Caramel

Right around the time "spaghetti" became "pasta," I began to notice that food in this country goes in and out of style the way clothing and eyeglasses do. Salsa was all the rage in the 80's, along with margarine and microwaved vegetables. The 90's brought us Snapple, wraps, hummus, and bread bowls. In the early 2000's, it was acai berries and pomegranate juice. And I don't really remember what happened between 2010 and now, since I spent those years eating frozen yogurt for dinner practically every night. Now that the Great Kale and Quinoa Craze of 2010-2014 has died down a bit, leaving only coconut water in its wake, the time is nigh for a new food trend: salted caramel. 

Suddenly, everywhere I look there's salted caramel. Salted caramel cake. Salted caramel cookies. Salted caramel ice cream. Pan-seared snapper in a salted caramel beurre-blanc reduction. Micro-greens tossed in a salted caramel vinaigrette. Straight up salted caramels. It makes me feel like fucking Forrest Gump reciting all the different ways there's salted caramel in everything now. 

And sometimes it's not even good enough to have regular salt. It has to be sea salt, from the sea (as opposed to a mine, presumably)? Or even CELTIC sea salt (retailing for $7.99). In pink! I mean, I totally get that you can grind salt into bigger and smaller pieces and that it comes in a few different colors. But at the risk of revealing my profound ignorance, at end of the day, isn't it basically just salt? Don't get me wrong: salted caramel has a great "flavor profile" (which until Padma Lakshmi came along, was also known as "taste"). 

However, I'd like to know what happened to good old fashioned braised pork belly sous-vide in a JalapeƱo Crunch Cheetos-mole sauce with celery foam and Meyer lemon coulis paired with a nice Malbec? You know, like mom used to make. Can't a woman get a decent home-cooked meal around here anymore? Sheesh.

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