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USA Today put out a pretty controversial article Tuesday by writer Charlotte Wilder called “The definitive takedown of 11 popular, completely overrated foods.” Why is it controversial? Because it includes the food world’s supposed darlings: bacon, avocado, and sriracha.
She carefully eases in the reader, who presumably belongs to at least one of those three food cults, by saying, “a lot of the foods on this list are good … [but] every item on this list has been put on an unduly high pedestal.”
This stirred up a big debate among the TODAY anchors this morning. Carson would apparently put his life on the line for a bite of guacamole, while Al prefers salsa to guac. As it turns out, these foods are all pretty polarizing — not like hate vs. love but ambivalence (plus a dash of annoyance) vs. obsession.
But Wilder is here to knock ‘em all down. *Gasp!*
The claim: “It’s a great once-ever-three-chip dip, but it’s treated like the life of the party when, in reality, no one eats enough of it and you always have too much left over,” writes Wilder. “You can’t even save it because it’ll get all brown and gross in the fridge.”
Our take: To Carson’s dismay, Al echoed Wilder's claim. “Any food that you have to eat so fast because it turns brown I think is overrated.”
The claim: “The best part about ice cream isn’t the actual iced cream. It’s the stuff that comes in it; I buy cookie dough ice cream for the cookie dough. I get a sundae for the Resee’s [sic] Pieces and the crumbled up Oreos on top, not for the boring, cold base it comes in,” she writes.
Our take: Wait, what? Who cares if you treat it as a way to deliver those delicious toppings into your mouth? Why are you not thankful for its delivery? Why are you shooting the messenger when it’s a good message?!
The claim: “When was the last time someone brought potato chips to a tailgate and you were like, ‘Oh, thank god, the barbecue Lay’s are finally here?’ Never.”
Our take: Maybe not barbecue Lay’s — but salt and vinegar? Yes, please. On every sandwich. Ever.
The claim: “Chocolate covered strawberries sound great and seductive and everything, but they have several flaws,” Wilder writes.
Our take: Seductive? Pretty sure everyone thinks they’re creepy. (Have you ever stock photo searched chocolate-covered strawberries?) These aren’t overhyped. They’re delicious, but no one actually feeds them to their partner. They eat them alone.
The claim: "...You can’t actually bite into the apple without getting the caramel all over your nose, the apple always falls off the stick, and if you’re going to eat something with that much caramel on it, you might as well lean in and make it as unhealthy as possible."
Our take: Do people really eat these anymore? No, I think it’s more common to eat caramel-apple-flavored food. Everyone knows these get stuck in your hair. Not overrated, because nobody likes them.
The claim: “[I]t’s been touted as this next-level health secret that will save us all, and, quite frankly, I think 2016 has proved that nothing will,” says Wilder.
Our take: Fine. I’ll give her this one. “Superfood,” which is how quinoa is so commonly described, is a marketing term that has no real scientific definition. Apart from kale, quinoa is the best example of overhype.
The claim: “Tacos are really good, but some people get waayyyyy too into tacos. Actually, it’s mostly the taco trucks,” Wilder writes.
Our take: Nope. You can’t group all taco trucks into one category. Some are bad, some are fine, some are amazing. To quote Hillary: “I personally think a taco truck on every corner sounds absolutely delicious.”
The claim: “There’s even a Wikipedia entry for ‘bacon mania,’” she points out.
Our take: Should it be made into a sunscreen scent? No, but other than that, bacon mania is warranted. It’s that good. Maybe not the floppy, soggy kind, but when it’s perfectly browned and crispy, there’s nothing better.
Deep dish pizza
The claim: “Deep dish is too deep. The end,” Wilder writes.
Our take: Another example of a food that isn’t overhyped. Some people (AKA all of Chicago) like deep dish over thin crust, but they’re definitely a minority. (Disclaimer: I’m from New York and am obviously biased. I never hear people talking about deep dish.)
The claim: “Sriracha falls into the bacon camp. Good stuff, but there’s too much of a cult surrounding it,” she quips.
Our take: Just because something has a cult doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a cult. Have you ever had a peanut butter-sriracha sandwich, Wilder? No? Then you can’t have an opinion on it.
Of course, this is all a matter of opinion. One person's overrated food is another person's obsession. It just means more guacamole, bacon and sriracha for us!