First there was the rainbow bagel. Then mermaid toast made a brief splash. Now, as I’m sure you’re all aware, Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino is dominating the mouths and Instagram accounts of many a millennial. It’s all very pretty, but I need a palate cleanser.
As a person who kept her pre-algebra homework in a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper—I think mine had some manic dolphins on it—I will admit I get a cheap thrill from gazing upon these multi-colored creations, but I don’t want to ingest them. (It’s the same thrill I got when I picked up a pair of jelly sandals this weekend at Urban Outfitters. I almost bought them, but then I remembered the jelly sandal-inflicted blisters of my youth and reconsidered.)
Yes, we eat with our eyes first, but my eyes are tired of rainbow overload, and not quite sure if they’re being poisoned or not. (Actually, I would totally drink a Poison Tree Frog Frappuccino. Someone please get on that.) Maybe it’s because my grandmother made a lot of casseroles, but my eyes always seem to land on beige, aggressively unphotogenic food. Those dishes are usually the most delicious. Think of Thanksgiving dinner: It’s a sea of browns, yellows, and beige, and it’s one of the tastier meals of the year.
There’s also a level of preciousness with these rainbow-infused delicacies that doesn’t sit right with me. Like it or not—and I really like it—food is something you have to deal with on a daily basis, and prioritizing form over function can get exhausting. I think that’s my main issue with this rainbow/unicorn/mermaid trend. It’s not really about the food, but the optics. It’s all marketing—very good marketing, but marketing still. If you really want a colorful bagel, try topping it with a couple of heirloom tomato slices, or maybe some watermelon radishes. These things add color, texture, and flavor. I’ve also heard that berries make beautiful beverages.
Beige food may not get you many likes on social media, but it will fill you up and bring you joy. If, like me, you need a break from highly pigmented cuisine, we…