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20.06.2018

Blame Instagram for the rise of unicorn-colored food.

What are the origin stories of food trends? I guess, back in the day, they used to come the way most trends came to us: Snippets shared from travelers who ventured outside the confines of their homes and disseminated them in trusted media forms (newspapers, magazines, morning television shows). But that was then and this...
Time: 13:08     Date: 12.01.2018
US Living News: Blame Instagram for the rise of unicorn-colored food. NY Post 24 - US News

But that was then and this is now, a time when the next great food fad comes almost exclusively from Instagram. The social media platform was practically made for taking pictures of your food. It helps to venture out, waiting in line at the next hip restaurant or perusing street vendors on your travels, but you can just as easily stay home and armchair consume via hashtags.

There are 32,862,630 #foodstagram pictures on Instagram. Probably another thousand or so more, give or take, between the time I wrote this article and the time it gets shared on the website. There are other popular hashtags when it comes to cooking. #nomnomnom is a good one (more than eight million images). And then there are unicorns.

Unicorns are back, did you get the memo? Rainbow-hued anything has witnessed a strange, exuberant resurgence, and nowhere more so than in the realm of food. Unicorn frappucinos (153,566 posts) are sickeningly technicolored drinks topped with lashings of whipped cream and sprinkles. Unicorn milk (30,155), same. Unicorn cakes (almost half a million posts, all told) are ombre-hued, with cascading icing and the occasional on-the-nose gold horn.

Unicorn toast is a thick slice of bread, spread right to the crust with cream cheese tinged with natural food coloring. It sounds sickening, but apparently tastes pretty good. And you know, it looks great on Instagram.

A post shared by Adeline Waugh (@vibrantandpure) on Apr 16, 2017 at 2:07pm PDT

That was the realization that Sandra Mahut had last year. She was cooking vegetables and watched the colors shift with the addition of lemon or salt. It was beautiful and eye-catching and she immediately jumped online to share.

She wasn’t the first. Hundreds of thousands of images preceded her. But her book “Unicorn Food,” on sale now, is one of the first to contain recipes for everything from rainbow veggie sandwiches to one pretty spectacular multi-layered cake.

A post shared by Unicorn Food (@unicornfoods) on Nov 24, 2015 at 6:21pm PST

“Sooooo good and so much fun to make,” Mahut says, of that particular recipe. “How stoked would you be to get that as a birthday cake?”

For Mahut, the allure of unicorn food is simple. “I guess people need to dream a little bit every day,” she muses.

Like many who promote unicorn food, Mahut’s recipes use natural food coloring (like beetroot and turmeric) and focus on healthy ingredients like fruits and vegetables. Except for the cake of course. Her two favorite recipes from the book are the rainbow ice pops and the rainbow sushi.

“It’s at the same time very playful and funny and tasty and healthy,” Mahut adds. “Plus, it is SUPER Instagrammable!”

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