Lists

Whatever Happened to Baked Alaska? The Fates of Five Once-Faddish Dishes

In the course of researching Turkducken's real age last week, I turned to one of my favorite food resources on the Internet: the Food Timeline. If you're a food nerd, prepare to lose dozens of hours to the fascinating depths of the Food Timeline and its entries on the history of nearly every food or beverage you can think of.

One of my favorite things to do is peruse old foodstuffs that were once the pinnacle of popularity, and have since fallen out of style. During the height of at-home entertaining in the 1950s and 1960s, a dish's status was more or less determined by how expensive and laborious it was to prepare. During the 1970s and 1980s, dieting and calorie-counting diminished the popularity of many of these dishes as the foods of the fit and fabulous became ever more processed into low-fat, sodium-free versions of their former selves.

Nouvelle cuisine reached its height in the 1980s and 1990s -- think of the famous L'Idiot scene from L.A. Story -- and one day, food historians will look back at the 2000s as the decade when farm-to-table food and locavorism was favored above all else. The only question is which faddish foods we're eating now that will have completely fallen out of favor in a generation or two.

Here are five old favorites that have already fallen off the average foodie's radar, and are now resigned to food history timelines and the odd octogenarian-supported restaurant.

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Katharine Shilcutt