When good Pinterest fads go bad
Screenshot taken from pinterest.com
Pinterest, also known as the reason we forgot to do our homework, is a curse and a blessing. Countless ideas for decorating, event planning, clothing and — of course — cooking exist in this great virtual space where we plan out the perfect, visually-stunning lives we hope to lead one day.
However, some of the recipes that cover the great expense of potential pins have stepped too far into the realm of the ridiculous. And I do not just mean the 7-layer brownie, gluten-free cookie dough, Reese’s cup, Oreo cookie, pretzel, paleo chocolate frosting bars topped with salted caramel that resemble an Epic Meal Time creation. Perfectly sound foods have faltered and we should band together to bring them back to the path of deliciousness.
I could probably write a Dr. Seuss-esque book about how I like pancakes — with bananas in my house, or perhaps stuffed full of fresh blueberries, preferably nowhere near a mouse. I adore that Pinterest has a massive amount of creative pancake recipes, as seen in the oatmeal raisin pancakes featured in this column circa my freshman year.
However, Pinterest pancake recipes cross the line over into the dark side when they become cake cleverly disguised as a breakfast food. Case and point, s’mores pancakes are not a breakfast item; it is diabetes on a plate. The same goes for you, cinnamon roll pancakes topped with cream cheese glaze. Essentially, if your breakfast involves frosting or chocolate sauce, it belongs on the dessert menu.
Though the whole cupcake bakery fad never impressed me, I believe cupcakes provide ample opportunity for experimenting with flavor variations and decorating techniques. Pinterest provides endless recipes and photos for all my cupcake inspiration needs, and for this I am grateful.
A strange phenomenon occurred out of the great cupcake fascination of recent years, however. People started making cupcake versions of things that are not at all cupcakes — like tacos, or lasagna. I have never once eaten lasagna and thought, “This is fantastic, but if only it were in the shape of a cupcake.”
Neither of these food items improve by becoming semi-bite sized and round. The logic seems to follow that cupcakes are cute, therefore anything cupcake-shaped must be cute. Abandon this great fallacy in reasoning. I promise your guests will not keel over from the task of using a fork and knife.
I do not mind the ubiquitous pins of red velvet cake on Pinterest, and I appreciate people’s creative approaches to coloring them. I even understand the fascination with the cake — red attracts attention and cream cheese frosting tastes delightful. However, I have simply made far too many large batches of the cake, which meant pouring near half a gallon of food coloring into the batter, to desire eating it myself.
Yet, red velvet has seeped into other desserts, and here I must put my foot down. One of my favorite chef-instructors at the Culinary Institute of America said red velvet cakes should be banned from the school, if not the world. I must propose a similar decree, stopping red velvet cake from becoming cookies, brownies, pie, cheesecake, fudge, pancakes, milkshakes and — worst of all — cinnamon rolls.
Many of these items involve baking a red velvet cake and then layering it with regular cheesecake or brownie batter and calling it “red velvet something or other.” Want to spruce up your normal brownies and seem trendy? Put red velvet cake in it. It seems like the dessert version of Portlandia’s “Put a Bird On It” sketch.
Other foods simply jump on the red velvet bandwagon by adding red food coloring, and maybe a dash of cocoa powder, to the recipes and have little to do with the original cake. Red velvet popcorn, ice cream or hot cocoa, anyone? I thought not.
Please, stop the madness and refuse to promote these red-dyed monstrosities and other food abominations in your kitchen and on your Pinterest boards.