Popular Food Fads 

Sometimes food fads come and then go quickly; other times food fads come and they stay. Why? What is the difference? There has to be a demand for a product for it to stick around. It either has to serve a purpose economically, in convenience or it has to taste so good we can’t let it go.

For instance in my last newsletter I talked about the cake pops; the ones with frosting mixed in with the cake crumbs, then rolled and dipped. I believe this one won’t last long. My reasoning is this; they do not taste good and they are not healthy for children. They are time consuming to make and they are not cheap to make. In our bad economy, all the package ingredients plus the added expense of the sticks will be out of reach for many people.

One of the food fads that I saw grow tremendously through my life was that of sandwiches. When I was little, no one ever ate sandwiches. Most had balanced meals and never any snacks so there was not a purpose back then for sandwich recipes. I know sandwiches have been around the world forever it seems but it really hit here when we realized how easy it is to pack lunches with them; much better than packing hot thermoses with food. As homemakers began taking jobs outside the home, they became more important for quick lunches. The busier the homemakers became the more important sandwiches became; now children were eating sandwiches for their meals.

This is when the fast food fads came in; first with sandwiches. The first fast food I remember was White Castle hamburgers; they were so delicious! This place was over fifty miles away from where I lived in Cincinnati. We traveled to my oldest (Lillian) sister’s house about two times a year. I looked so forward to that trip because while Mom and I waited in the car, Dad would go in and buy us a hamburger. This was in the early fifties and I think they cost ten cents each. What a treat!

Next I remember the Burger Chef hamburgers; they were the beginning of the fast food fads but not very good. Although many of these establishments have come and gone as you know the sandwich has remained. There is a purpose; the sandwich business has soared over the years because of the convenience they provide for the busy lifestyles of adults and children. Generally speaking many of these establishments have kept their prices reasonable making their products affordable for these busy people.

Right now I still see a demand for the fast food fads but I am not sure it will last. Many homemakers have chosen to stay at home with their children giving more time to prepare meals. Many have lost their jobs giving them more time to cook at home. Then you have the bad economy which is allowing less money for people to spend on eating out. Top all this with the rising cost of food prices which these establishments must pay and their other rising cost. How long can they keep their prices affordable? I do not know. 

Remember when all the chicken wings recipes became food fads. When I was young no one wanted to eat the chicken wings. Of course around our big family every piece was cooked. When we had fried chicken, the wings were the last to go. As I got older I was always being asked how to cook chicken wings; the wings along with the neck, back and giblets went into the pot for chicken broth. Now people (including me) buy huge bags of wings to cook in many different ways. Have you noticed how large the chicken wings are now? Because of the big demand for wings they are being produced to be larger with more meat for all the “wing lovers” and with this comes a higher price but still good compared to other parts.

HOW TO COOK CHICKEN WINGS This food fad has been very popular in the past couple decades.


There are many chicken wings recipes; once cooked add any of your favorite sauces over the wings. They are so versatile a blend with most flavors.

  • 3 Pounds chicken wings
  • 1 Teaspoon ginger
  • ½ Teaspoon paprika
  • ½ Cup honey
  • ¼ Cup soy sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Clove crushed garlic
  • ¼ cup catsup
chicken wings

Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

Place cleaned wing sections in foiled lines 9 X 13 inch baking pan

Sprinkle with ginger and paprika.

Combine honey, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and catsup; pour over the wings.

Bake uncovered for 1 hour turning and basting every 15 minutes with sauce.

The production of the deep fryers brought about more food fads. (I think the deep fryers came out of the fast foods and trying to perfect French fries at home.) People were frying everything in the world! Sister Gloria was the first person I knew who bought a deep fryer. She was frying chicken everyday to try to get it perfect. These fryers were used for not only chicken but fish and all kinds of seafood, beef, pork and all the vegetables; and donuts. Although deep fryers are still used they are just not as popular for a couple of reasons. Most kitchens are not large enough to store these extra appliances and many Americans have become more health conscious; trying to eliminate fried foods. Occasionally, I still love fried chicken, French fries, French fried green beans and of course the blooming onion.


The Blooming onion recipe was another delicious product of the food fads. Many have shared with me how they love the delicious flavor of the blooming onion recipe. They have also shared how they have given them up because of the fat used in the cooking and the expense of eating them out. I agree with both of these things but I cannot give them up altogether; just eating them on occasion. This is one of my favorite appetizers as I know with many. They may have lost some of their appeal in the restaurants but because of the great flavor they have not lost their “bloom”.

  • 1 Large sweet onion
  • 2 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 Large beaten egg
  • 1 Cup saltine cracker crumbs
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Ranch dressing

Peel onion leaving root end intact.

Cut onion vertically into quarters cutting to within ½ inch of the root.

Cut each quarter vertically into thirds.

Place onion in boiling water for 1 minute then in ice water for 5 minutes.

Loosen petals if necessary and drain onion cut side down.

Place flour in a zip lock bag; add onion shaking to coat.

Dip onion in beaten egg.

Place cracker crumbs in a zip lock bag; add onion tossing to coat.

Chill 1 hour.

Put oil 3 inches deep in a heavy pan and heat to 375F degrees.

Fry onion until golden brown and drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle with salt and serve with dressing.

I could go on forever on these food fads. We went from all the fattening foods; bacon in chocolate and bacon everything, donuts of all kinds (oh how I love the hot fried Crispy Cream donuts!) to diets. We had every diet imaginable; no sugar, low carbs, no carbs, high fiber, etc. Then the food fads became juice fads with Noni juice, cranberry juice, pomegranate juice and juice of every flavor; fruit roll ups for the kid’s snacks. The strange thing is if you buy many of these juices like cranberry from your regular grocery store they say on the label “May or may NOT contain cranberries”. Many different artificial sweeteners came out of this diet craze; sales have soared.

Now we are in health conscience food fads period. This includes eating organic foods with no added hormones or chemicals; meats, eggs, dairy, fruits and vegetables. Many are sticking to strictly raw foods, especially milk and other dairy products. Now we have diets like vegetarian, vegan and gluten free. There is a need for these concerned people. Because of the high cost of health care they are much more conscious than previous years. Although fish was once considered a necessity on some of these diets, I have seen a lowered demand for fish and seafood. This is due to the high cost of good seafood and also these same people who are health conscious are leery of eating much of our seafood.

The last of the big food fads I want to mention are the cupcakes. Cupcakes are the first thing that I remember my older sisters baking so they have been around for many years. In recent years the popularity has soared and there are reasons for this. Again, it is economics. Decorated cakes became so expensive to buy for birthdays and weddings. Cupcakes allow people to bake their own for special occasions; they became popular even for weddings. I look for cupcakes to remain popular as always but I do think that many of the small shops will close. It takes a lot of cupcake sales to pay the bills and many do not have the extra cash to pay $2.00 and up for one cupcake on a regular basis when you can make a whole tray much cheaper.


One of the biggest food fads I have ever seen is the “sandwich”. I saw it develop in the late 1950s and it has kept on growing all through the years. It was a quick and convenient way to grab something to eat. It went from a quick piece of cheese or meat on bread, sometimes toasted, to many more complicated ones like the Rueben or tuna melt. Today, there are hundreds of various sandwiches all over the United States.

What has amazed me is the idea that the “American” sandwich has spread to all parts of the world. Now all the European countries, Latin America, Russia, China and others have favorite sandwiches, In fact, our “fast food giants” have expanded to these countries offering up sandwiches every day. I do not see this “fad” ending here or in the other countries.


NOTE: With all the grilled sandwiches, the bottoms must be browned and toasted crispy.

Heat griddle or skillet to medium high heat.
Butter 2 slices bread on one side; lay the buttered side down on griddle or skillet.
Place a slice of cheese on each slice of bread; let set until bottom is browned and cheese is melted.
Turn one over on top of other making sandwich; cut in half and serve.


Follow grilled cheese recipe but place a piece of cooked ham on top of each slice cheese.
NOTE: I usually heat the ham first on the griddle to make sure it is really hot.


Place 2 slices buttered RYE bread on griddle; to each with slice of SWISS cheese.

Top each cheese with about 2 ounces very thinly sliced CORNED BEEF.
Top one with some WELL DRAINED sauerkraut.
Add a little THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING on top of kraut.
Turn bread without sauerkraut on it upside down on top of one with kraut making a sandwich.
Cut in half and serve.


Place 2 slices of favorite bread buttered on griddle; top each with a slice of American cheese.

Top one of the cheese/ bread with a helping of tuna salad.
Turn one without tuna salad upside down on the tuna salad; cut and serve.