I am so over the damn rainbow. Not the actual meteorological phenomenon caused by refraction and reflection of light through water droplets—that would be like hating on puppies, the kids from Stranger Things, and Joe Biden memes. I’m not a (totally) joyless jerk. I just tire of the frenzy around aggressively photo-friendly food, and in 2016 nowhere was that more evident than at breakfast. Ye olde reliable egg porn was seemingly passe by February of this year when the internet exploded into one billion shimmering Instagrams, breathless blog posts, and gee-whiz news segments about The Bagel Store’s rainbow bagel (served with sprinkle-studded cream cheese)—which owner Scot Rossillo had already been cranking out for two decades.
Though Today Food documented the technicolor carbs way back in October 2015, it was a video by Insider Food that seemingly kicked off the cavalcade of coverage—leading to a temporary Bagel Store shutdown when the bakers were overwhelmed by the demand. They’re back in business and shipping their neon-colored creations all over the country now, but the rainbow-colored Kraken had already been loosed upon the digital land. Suddenly every damn item on the breakfast table had to have food coloring as a major ingredient. The trend spawned rainbow coffee, rainbow pancakes, rainbow waffles, rainbow bread, unicorn toast (fun fact: a unicorn’s digestive system produces rainbows in roughly the same way that cows emit methane!), and an untold number of other forcefully twee foods that bowed over the horizon of the digital superhighway.
But...BUT! For the most part, the ingredients used to bring the optical pop to these foods don’t actually add any flavor of their own. You are eating a lie! Perhaps I am bringing my own personal baggage to this situation, based upon the time when I was maybe 11 or so, put green food coloring in a glass of milk and was let down with every single non-mint-flavored sip, but my brain is apparently wired that way now. Pink should taste like strawberries or cherries. Purple oughta taste grapey. Snozzberry colored items should taste like a gol-danged snozzberry.
I don’t hold with the visual chicanery. I’m on record as being staunchly in favor of food that looks like hell and tastes like heaven over the visually stunning and culinarily meh. I don’t eat with my eyes, I eat with my mouth, and I just can’t handle being disappointed that early in the day. Unless the flavor can deliver on the level of the deliciousness implied, I’m more than happy to see more folks bowing outta the trend in 2017.