Five Popular Working-Class Foodstuffs That'll Never Become Hipster Trends or Foodie Fads

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Betcha there'll never be a tamale pie truck...

Cupcakes are on their way out, pies are supposedly in--but it seems Orange County's going to go through a Summer of Doughnut. M & M Donuts in Anaheim has hundreds of Yelp reviews (!), all over a simple blueberry doughnut, a fried thing studded with them, glazed lightly--good, but hardly worth the Kogi-like hype. And all over doughnuts, long the domain of early birds, office meetings and church groups? Gypsy Den just debuted a maple-glazed cinnamon roll (better than M & M's blueberry god, but still nowhere near the fried perfection that is a cinnamon roll at Jax Donut House in Anaheim), and I expect more places to gourmet the treat soon, especially as it's supposed to be National Donut Day soon.

Anyhoo, the current hipness of doughnuts reminded me there are some dishes that simply can't become trends, mostly because their main demographic are the working class of the working class: elderly, minority or retrograde.
1. Jell-O Salad
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Flickr user tsuacctnt

Jell-O's only progression in food trends is down. High schoolers long ago created Jell-O poppers to get drunk, and while I have nothing against Mormons, save for their Proposition 8 meddling, you know something's goofy about a group that embraces this Space Age relic so enthusiastically.

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Wikimedia Commons
2. Egg Foo Young

Chinese food, of course, is the country's third-most popular ethnic cuisine after Italian and Mexican, but most chefs, whether working in luxe loncheras or restaurants, understandably concentrate on regional Chinese treats if they want to put a spin on it. Ignored is the Chinese-American cuisine that rule the United States: pupu platters, crab Rangoon, but especially egg foo young, the mushy concoction of egg, gravy, meat and veggies. In fact, the only region that bothers with modifying egg foo young is St. Louis, where the St. Paul sandwich (egg foo young in sandwich form!) has delighted city residents for decades--and perplexed everyone else.

3. Tamale Pie
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The only gourmet tamale pie you'll ever see...

Only people of a certain age even know what a tamale pie is, but that certain age loved them. It's really just a casserole prepared with cornmeal, meat, some veggies and chili powder, an imitation of what American housewives thought tamales tasted like, created in the 1920s in Southern California (if not earlier) and replicated across the country for decades afterward. Tamale pie is no longer necessary now that masa is readily available, and the only chefs crazy enough to try and upgrade it were the folks at Avanti, who created a killer vegan tamale pie and got hell for it.
 
4. Fruitcake
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Flickr user Ringo Ichigo

Hipsters have already reclaimed ugly Christmas sweaters, the beanie, coffee, scarfs, mittens and nearly everything else from our holiday seasons. What about fruitcake? Exactly.

5. Velveeta
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Flickr user jbcurio

There are gourmet jellies and jams, peanut butter, mustard, ketchup--but will anyone ever try to create artisan Velveeta? Will it ever become as as essential as bacon? It should . . . but probably won't.

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7 comments
fnarf
fnarf

Hey! I love fruitcake! Wait, it's not what you think!

Tbplayer
Tbplayer

Mormons eat a lot of Jell-O?  I learned a new stereotype today!  (I think that qualifies as one.)

fluffatu
fluffatu

I just visited Chicago and all the hipsters were nonchalantly discussing the "amazing" doughnuts at The Doughnut Vault. The shop feeds into the hipster mystique by not having set business hours. 

Ugh.

Mr. Rosewater
Mr. Rosewater

 And they're apparently super-sensitive about it.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Not a stereotype when Utah deems it the official state snack!

George Lincoln Rockwell
George Lincoln Rockwell

Gustavo? Hey, isn't that a Mexican name?? Anyways, here are the comments you wanted. -George

"... and while I have nothing against Mormons ..."

I know what you mean, man. Me und meine buddies got nothing against blacks and Jews either.

"... save for their Prop. 8 meddling ..."

You should check Boobs and Bigots Today, where you'll find dozens of bumperstickers criticizing Mormons. Some of those would make you look even kooler to your friends than showing support for Prop. 8.

"... you know something's goofy about a group ...."

OK, not bad -- sorta casually generalizes knocking down a few people acting on their moral and religious principles to the entire group. Very progressive.

By the way, I hope you'll elaborate all this in your keynote at next week's Young Nazis for Peace, Love, and Understanding conference in Anaheim. And, yes, you can sell advance copies of your book at the conference.

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