Illustration for article titled The quintessential foods of the 2010s, according toi /iour readers
Photo: zkruger (iStock)

Last week, we posed a question to you all: If you had to pick one food that best defines the tumultuous era that was the 2010s, what would it be?

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A whole lot of discussion ensued, and commenters brought some great ideas to the table. Here are some of the most compelling reader recommendations for what to crown the Food of the Decade.


Pumpkin Spice

Commenter: Arturo

“Cronuts and avocado toast and brotein bars are ever-present and people stopped making a fuss after initial introduction, but there are entire industries propped up by the annual pumpkin-spice-flavored everything and the cult-like following around it.”

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Instagram-Friendly Foods

Commenter: WireMonkey

“It’s more of a food genre, but I think Instagram food is a good candidate for representing this era. Between unicorn bagels and museums that only visually represent ice cream or whatever, it seems like the food zeitgeist is more about the ’gram than sustenance.”


Chicken Sandwiches

Commenter: Lord of the Ducks

“It has had moments throughout the decade, from KFC bringing back the double down in 2010 to the current chicken sandwich wars to the politics around Chick-fil-A. Pretty much all of the past decade of culture and politics has intersected with the chicken sandwich.”

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Free’ Foods

Commenter: Huja

“Maybe not a single food, but a category of food that ironically is defined by what is does NOT contain. Gluten-free, dairy-free, no antibiotics, Cage-free...etc.”

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Protein Powder

Commenter: Bart_Mann

“I know there’s a fine line between a food and a supplement, and I will acknowledge that up front. But name another human-consumable item that went from the dark back corner at GNC to ‘Would you like a scoop of whey in your latte?’ as quickly as protein powder did.”

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Bowls

Commenter: Mr. Comments

“Maybe this is too broad, but bowls. Or more specifically, grain bowls. Almost every fast casual or fast food restaurant was willing to put their food in bowls, and many [businesses] sprouted up that deal exclusively in bowls.”

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Waffles

Commenter: The ’Burbs

“Waffling everything, a trend I’m fully onboard with. Stuffing waffles, mac and cheese waffles, tater tot waffles, waffled pizza.”

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And finally........The Avocado

Commenter: Torsloke

“It was the focal point of so many cultural flash points - generational antipathy against millennials, panics about shortages potentially caused by deportations and tariffs, using peas as a substitute in guacamole, just to name a few.”

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Commenter: Steamworks

“Not only has it become a sign of gentrification: ‘Oh, they put in a coffee shop that does $9 avocado toast where that old gas station was,’ but it’s also become a Boomer vs. Millennial shortcut for larger political & economic frustrations.”

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Commenter: Oracle Anne

Oh, avocado. Will we never know peace?

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