From Oreo wine to Reese’s “pie” and mac and cheese-flavored desserts, 2021 saw a lot of strange new foods and food combinations.
Here’s a menu of just some of the gastronomic, er, creations of the past year:
This year marked the 100th anniversary of the Bloody Mary, but apparently we needed new alcohol with crazier ingredients to deal with the pandemic.
Potato-flavored alcohol led the way.
Lay’s potato chip flavored vodka
Lay’s potato chips are well-known to salty-snack fans, but the brand decided to “transform our signature, proprietary potatoes into a vodka blend.”
The 40-proof vodka sold out in three hours.
Arby’s fry-flavored vodkas
Lay’s may have even been inspired by Arby’s, which released two 80-proof vodkas inspired by its iconic curly fries and newer crinkle-cut variety.
The Curly Fry Vodka was distilled with cayenne, paprika, onion and garlic. The Crinkle Fry Vodka was “a subtle tribute to its namesake, made with real kosher salt and sugar to honor the rich tradition of salted potato shapes,” according to a press release.
Disney World joined in the fun this year with many new foods to celebrate the park’s 50th anniversary. One such offering was the Squid’s Revenge Drink, a michelada garnished with a piece or charred octopus. (Disney also got in on this year’s mac and cheese theme, as we’ll see later on.)
This year’s menu also offered up a desert wine, for those who enjoy Oreo Thins. Barefoot Wine partnered with the cookie maker to create a “Barefoot x Oreo Thins Red Blend.” Delivery came with two 750-millileter bottles of wine and a package of Oreo Thins for $24.99.
First we’re going to start with “meat.”
In an article on Bon Appetit, food writer and cookbook author David Tamarkin shared his idea for a savory type of French toast made with sourdough, custard and Parmesan cheese. Tamarkin also claimed that the resulting dish, which he described as a “Bread Steak,” might even satisfy a “carnivore’s palate” if done correctly.
“A custard-soaked, Parmesan-crusted chunk of sourdough — essentially savory French toast — that really is decadent in the vein of a rib-eye,” wrote Tamarkin, who is also the digital director and editor of food website Epicurious. He further explained that he, himself, had previously given up meat for environmental reasons.
“It’s fatty. It’s salty. And if you do it right, it’s downright meaty,” he added of his “Bread Steak.”
Social media had more than a few things to say about that.
Continuing the trend of steak-adjacent labeling, Israeli startup Redefine Meat expanded operations into Europe and served for the first time its plant-based whole cuts of alternative meat.
“The 3D-printed beef substitute was rolled out in Israel, as well as Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. A mix of soy and pea protein, chickpeas, beetroot, nutritional yeasts and coconut fat, it mimics flank steak, which is also known as bavette.”
Candy corn brats
Now for some actual meat: The good folks of Wisconsin came up with Halloween-inspired “SpookToberfest brat” made with pork and candy corn. It’s uncertain, however, if this dish poses any challenge to chocolate and peanut butter as a winning Halloween combination.
Pink candy-flavored mac and cheese
Kraft created a Mac & Cheese with a candy flavor packet to turn the dish pink, and give it a hint of sweet candy flavor.
The company gave the mac and cheese away to 1,000 lucky mac lovers who entered to win a contest. It should be noted that this item followed Kraft’s 2020 launch of pumpkin spice mac and cheese in the U.S.
Mission to Mars burger
Disney World’s 50th anniversary menu also came up with a mac entry. The Mission to Mars burger, topped with bacon and mac and cheese, was served on a bun dusted with “crushed cheese-flavored puffs.”
Speaking of Disney, don’t forget its 50th Celebration Hot Dog, which is made with an all-beef frank and topped with strawberry jelly, powdered sugar and pieces of funnel cake.
Brood X emerged this spring for the first time since 2004, swarming large parts of the country. Sarah Dwyer, of Chouquette Chocolates in Bethseda, Maryland, started coating the 17-year-old insects in chocolate and selling them. Soon, customers were the ones swarming.
Mac and cheese ice cream
Yes, mac made the dessert menu. This ultimate mashup of comfort foods hit freezers in July when Kraft partnered with Van Leeuwen Ice Cream.
So what do you top a mac and cheese sundae with?
Peanut Butter Cup ‘Pie’
Hershey’s unveiled your new favorite dessert for Thanksgiving — and it promptly sold out. The giant 9-inch Reese’s Thanksgiving Pie, the largest Reese’s Peanut Butter cup ever, weighed in at a whopping 3.25 pounds.
The box says the pie is meant to contain 48 servings at 160 calories each. That works out to a total of 7,680 calories if you’re thinking of eating the whole thing yourself.
Maybe next year Reese’s could make a giant peanut butter Christmas Tree?