Food Flash: Monovore Diet

We’ve covered a lot of fad diets here at NHT, but it’s been awhile since we made the switch to paleo, and lots of people have heard of it and/or are doing it so it’s probably time to do something extremely different. After much thought we recommend becoming a monovore. What’s a monovore you ask? Never heard of it? Well that’s because we literally just made it up. Perfect.

It’s a simple concept really, you just pick a single food item and eat only that. Ever. It’s a great diet for NOW because people really admire strict diets that don’t allow for any incongruity. Now before you pick your one food … no cheating. You can’t say pizza or burritos because they are an amalgam of ingredients. It’s important that it is just one thing, even spice additions like the mainstays salt and pepper are off limits (unless you choose one of them as your only food source, but that will probably kill you in within a couple of days). I’m not going to limit your imagination by narrowing down just one suggestion (mine would be local, organic, grass fed, certified angus top-sirloin, medium rare, grilled), I invite you to be creative. A word of caution though, if you go with something with a lot of tannins you may physically take on the color of your food. I’m not a scientist, but I can say with relative certainty that in addition to being extremely gassy and generally unapproachable you will undoubtedly turn green if you only eat broccoli. If you dare select onions or any member of the allium family like the uber-hot leek you are either a complete fool or a hipster beyond even my soothsaying.

Just imagine the looks on your friend’s faces at the farmers market when they see you load two reclaimed pallets full of avocados into your Subaru. “What are you doing with all of those avocados?” Look at them quizzingly, and a bit disappointed. “I’m going to eat them.” Pause for effect. “Only them.” Their jaws will be on the floor. Within seconds the questions will come firing in from all sides (which you’ll love) … “Won’t you get sick?” “Can you do that?” “Don’t you miss ice cream?” “Will you actually die?” Awesome. Now you get to drone on for about 37 minutes about “the dangers of combining too many food resources into variety” and “your need to re-connect with the avocado.” As always, if you follow our tried and true suggestions you’ll be on the fast track to elite hipsterdom. A word of caution though, avoid any lame processed foods as your monochoice, as that is completely impossible, even if you don’t know why.

Trending Up: Tiny Food

Supershrink me!
Supershrink me!

Many of our recommended trends are naturally grandiose and full of noticeable flair. Not so with this up-and-comer. It’s all about subtlety and miniature modesty. It begins with you reading this article with studious interest and ends with you hosting an amazing hipster dinner party. After all, you haven’t thrown one since your coconut oil fiasco, so your friends will be chomping at the bit. In addition to this article I recommend picking up “Tiny Food Party!: Bite-Size Recipes for Miniature Meals” and reading it on some sort of public transportation.

First up, you’re going to need to make a trip to the farmers market (you already go there daily anyway). Don’t be distracted by the big beautiful local organic free-range cruelty-free fruits and veggies. You’re looking for only the littlest and cutest of the offerings. I suggest starting with a classic tiny food staple: baby corn. Everyone’s going to expect it so you might as well not let them down and it’s not as gauche as cocktail weenies. Proceed to fill your smallish free-cycled coffee bag with all sorts of tiny. Baby bok choy, baby carrots, baby zucchini, baby turnips, baby grapes, baby apples … you get the idea. Definitely get some shallots so you can make microscopic onion rings. Melt my heart, that will be darling.

Next up, animal products. Look, I realize that boss-level hipsters are all vegans and/or freegans, but many of your friends are scattered across the established hipster spectrum. Lots of them eat meat, but only if it’s ethically-raised free-range cruelty-free organic non-injected happy meat from a local farmstead that offers a free gym membership to the animals. Anyways, you’re gonna need some tiny cuts of meat. Everyone’s mind automatically jumps to baby back ribs because of Chili’s and Austin Powers 2, so we’re not going that route. Heck, just get a nice 10oz sirloin with good marbling and cut it into 37 tiny steaks. After that you’re definitely going to need some cage-free quail eggs. Wait. Quail eggs are gigantic. You’re gonna need hummingbird eggs. I’m not sure how we’re going to pull this one off. Heading to google … okay I’m back, first and foremost, holy smokes these things are adorable. It turns out that this is pretty easy. You just need to find a hummingbird nest with freshly laid eggs and take them. No problem! Beware though, it looks like the little bastards are pretty defensive. Don some sort of protective head cover when you harvest the eggs. In the event that you don’t own a beekeeping mask (which you should if you’re reading this) maybe you can up-cycle a bucket, don’t forget the eye holes. Pop the itty-bitty gems into your handcrafted danish modern tiny egg carton and off you go. Don’t worry, the momma bird will lay new eggs in a matter of days and all of this is totally free-range! As a bonus, you’re also foraging now (awesome), but that’s another trend for another day. While we’re foraging, another idea is rather than an enormous lobster tail, prep-up single crayfish tails for each plate. Don’t use a trap to procure them, catch them individually by hand. Your guests will marvel at your attention to detail.

Hand caught crayfish with nickle for proportions. It was delicious.
Crayfish, hand-caught by the author and niece Liv with nickel for scale. Yes, we really did this.

Now that your ingredients are assembled, and assuming your eyes weren’t feverishly eviscerated by angry hummingbirds, you’re ready for the big day. Dive deep into the theme by sending out tiny invites to your friends. Have the table set with dollhouse plates and tiny cutlery for at least ten solid hipster guests and make sure there is a tiny guide that details each course. In this guide you can’t use the words “gluten-free” enough. I don’t know what gluten is (something with wheat I think), but I do know that hipsters don’t want to eat it or even be in the same room with it. Hell, gluten is like hipster kryptonite. But I digress. Cooking time should be limited to a matter of seconds as the thermal mass of each item is so miniscule. Be careful not to overcook the steaks by searing them longer than 2-3 seconds per side. Also, watch those hummingbird eggs, they are properly poached the instant they hit boiling water. Season with extra small salt crystals and ultra-fine ground pepper (details, people). Garnish each plate with a single oregano leaf. As you nibble (never bite) go into detail about the health benefits of scaling down portion sizes and the unfortunate obesity epidemic in America. In addition to ungodly amounts of GMO corn syrup being injected into everything we consume, you’ll get to blame it on gluten, which your guests will love. Later on, at the after-party (hipsters LIVE for after-parties), while you are sip-chugging craft pico-brews from super tiny red plastic cups (if they give you any guff about plastic, tell them there’s a Low song about plastic cups so they can STFU) look upon your assembled hipster acolytes, stroke your beard, and proudly proclaim “micro-foods naturally have more micro-nutrients.” They can’t argue with that logic, even if they don’t know why.

Sharp: Eating with a dagger

This guy, because I couldn't find a picture of anyone eating with a dagger, that's how NOW this is
This guy, because I couldn’t find a picture of anyone eating with a dagger, that’s how NOW this is

Looking for a new gastronomic utensil trend to show everybody just what’s on the plate for the next hipster trend? Toss the forks, spoons, sporks, and chopsticks and reach for a Knight’s dress dagger. You’ll be the talk of the vegan bistro as you unsheathe your ancient cutlery and and literally go medieval on that tofu!

“This is the way that people ate for centuries,” you can remark snidely as your hipster friends look you up and down with astonishment. For extra effect, after you finish your coconut medallions, reach into your retro neon fanny pack, pull out a whetstone, and begin honing your blade. Make sure it’s razor sharp before moving on to your amaranth and quinoa casserole.

When the meal is complete, wipe the blade clean with your fine red silk pocket square, and hold your dagger aloft, as if you’ve just brought forth the sword from the stone. Play with the light in the room and be sure that everyone catches a glimmer of brilliant illumination. Resheathe your only utensil smugly and wait for the gushing compliments to pour in. You’re the sharpest hipster out there, with your scythe, back axe, and now dagger. You’re welcome.

Scaling up: Urban fishing

hipsterfishing
This could be you! (without the frat boy bent hat brim)

Sure, Babe Winkleman made inland sportfishing McDonald’s apple pie-hot back in the 80’s, and popularity of reeling in a walleye or two hasn’t really diminished for the normals. Hipsters have more classically been into flyfishing for trout as it doesn’t involve boats, motors, modern technology, or ease-of-experience. But let’s face it, everybody has caught a few rainbows and most have even adopted referring to them as just “bows” they are so commonplace and pedestrian. So what can you do to breath fresh air into the lungs, er … gills of a classic like fishing? URBAN fishing, of course!

Don’t just click wildly on amazon for a rod and reel combo. You should consider fashioning your own with reclaimed bamboo or cherry. In a pinch you could up-cycle a weave of old metal hangers to form a springy yet sensitive fishing instrument. As for other gear you’ll definitely need a classic split willow creel, some hip waders (haha “hip”), and a good fishing hat (see our infographic on hat ranking here).

Once you have all the essentials, hop on the bus and head for the pristine waters of the fountain in front of Bank of America. The normals walking hurriedly on the sidewalk to their empty, soul-crushing jobs will be gobsmacked when they see your full ensemble and wonder if you’re really about to cast a hand-tied elk hair caddis fly into the koi pond. Oh hell yes you are! Don’t just wing it out there like one of those bassmaster a-holes. Exercise the discipline to execute a perfect Japanese mountain stream tenkara cast. Within seconds the koi will hammer your fly due to the fact that they are conditioned to surface feed by the dude who tosses them their food every day. Try to schedule your outing about an hour before feeding time, the fish will be ripe for the catching! Once you hook your first koi don’t just reel it in willy-nilly, really make a show out of it. Let your drag scream as the obese goldfish runs on you time and time again. Eventually it will tire. Wet your hands before netting and handling the beauty if you intend to release it back into the wild of the Bank of America fountain. Ask a random to take a snapshot of you and your quarry with your polaroid camera. In the event that you catch a trophy decorative carp, forget the taxidermy. Take some of your always-at-hand cuddlefish ink and immortalize your achievement with a Japanese ink press of the fish’s form. Wow your friends for decades as you show them the Gyotaku from that day.

Pescetarianism is only one notch down from the zenith of hipster diets (veganism), so if you’re hungry don’t be afraid to prepare yourself a quick little shore lunch. First you’ll need to fillet the koi, find a sturdy cutting surface. Any city bench will do, but for maximum visibility I’d recommend the bus stop bench. Unsheathe your daggger and get gutting! Try not to be distracted by the normals asking you what the hell you’re doing. You need to maintain composure and a steady hand to remove the y-bones. As you work, cut a couple of smaller morsels and offer the onlookers some fresh sushi. Most of them will scoff at the idea, but be sure to exchange contact information with any hipsters who are daring (and awesome) enough to take you up on the offer. Once your fillets are ready for cooking, season them liberally with a blend of local spices that you’ve hand-foraged. After that, all that’s left to do is slow steam them over the sidewalk grate of your choosing (avoid the sewage ones). As you dine on the succulent meat, gaze upon the fountain that was the source of your sustenance. You’ll be the hipster catch of the day if you play this one right, get out there and get casting!

Trending Up: Braunschweiger

I really took this at a symphony event
I really took this at a symphony event

This trend anomaly flies in the face of the current so-popular-its-OVER! status of organ meats in general. Hipsters are violently opposed to most offal as a matter of course, but patrilineal connections run too deep to sever ties with the perfection in pink that is your mainstream liverwurst. The primary attraction is, of course, it’s malleability. Prized for it’s pliant consistency and succulent aftertaste, when you whip out several moist chunks rendered to function as RPG dice at the GameCon and proceed to roll a critical hit on the cobalt dragon about to breath weapon your cleric, you’ll really turn some heads and wet some appetites. Spread them on hard-tack crackers while the dungeon master totals your experience points.

You can continue to impress your gaming party by discussing how artisanal German schweiger meisters confidently pack smoked pig livers into fibrous casings and, tying them off with a kurt flourish, slice them apart, one at a time, so they plop into special Leberwurst Warenkorb for delivery.

A rich source of iron and vitamin A, this is the stout Teutonic cousin of the creamier, and French, pâté. Whislt quaffing ales waiting to be hired for the next attempt to breach The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, you can recount your visit ( actually just the web site) to Stryhn’s Leverpostej on Amager isle, south of Copenhagen. Eat the last disc off the tip of your tantō and they will soil their armor like brave Sir Robin.

Heating Up: MREs

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Remember back when you first decided to go vegan? It seemed like a great idea at the time, but you didn’t realize how much work it would turn out to be. Shopping daily for fresh vegetables, researching and exchanging recipes, endlessly peeling and chopping. All of it had you domesticated halfway to the suburbs. And in the end, what did you get out of it? Hunger pangs and a mildly satisfying nutloaf.

That experiment had nothing on your brief flirtation with freeganism, though. Don’t get us wrong, we know that the whole concept sounded fantastic. “Screw commerce, I live off the land,” you said, gesturing with a lit gutterbutt toward the garbage containers behind some questionable Thai restaurant. “The hunter-gatherers didn’t need a frickin’ debit card in order to satisfy the most basic necessity of life. Their career was finding food where it naturally grew. Well, I’m the urban version of that, the authentic extension of a longstanding tradition.” That was about a week before the roundworms took hold in your lower GI tract. The more cynical of us noticed you didn’t Dumpster dive for vermifuge, but nobody blamed you for a second.

You’ll notice that thus far, your dietary adventures have fallen prey to two problems: effort and spoilage. Well, we’re here to tell you how to conquer those enemies with one amazing piece of gastronomical technology. Friend, you’ve got to go MRE.

Meals, Ready to Eat are a staple for American soldiers fighting in foreign territories, and they’re quickly becoming a staple for American hipsters living in gentrified ghettos. Let’s face it, cooking is for Rachael Ray. Complicated dietary restrictions are for overprotective moms. Let the normals try to turn spaghetti squash into spaghetti. Meanwhile, you’ll just roll home from band practice, dump some water in a plastic pouch, insert the chemical heating pack along with the tri-laminate retort pouch containing your food, and wait a few minutes. Boom, you’re eating Country Captain Chicken and Buttered Noodles just like our troops.

You can jam these things in your backpack, your retro neon green fanny pack, or hell, even under your seatbelt that you’ve fashioned into an actual belt if you’re in a pinch. They’re pretty much indestructible. Like your hipness.

Cookoo for Coconut Oil

hipsterox
Traditional ox-powered coconut oil mill

Coconut oil has been trending up for the last three years and has exceeded vegetable oil in popularity. That means it’s almost OVER, but it’s not too late for you to cash in on it. In order to do so you’ll need to do something pretty over the top to make an impact. Within the next couple of weeks invite several friends over to your studio apartment for a dinner party. Have them come early so they can take part in the preparation of the meal. Explain to them that this is east African tradition. I don’t know if this is really east African tradition, but it sounds globally aware and that’s really all that matters. Explain that the meal will be based entirely on one ingredient… coconuts. They will look at you like you’re crazy for a second, but quickly try to hide any surprise in their expression because hipsters can never be surprised by anything because that would mean they haven’t heard of it. They will quickly become excited for what you have in store for them, even if it does turn out completely terrible.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The traditional way of making coconut oil is using an ox-powered mill. You don’t yet have an ox (you will once you live on a close-country self-sustaining permaculture community farm) so you’ll need to improvise and use your pet chinchillas. Make sure you sew harnesses for them from faux leather and be sure to point out that it’s hand sewn from faux leather. Crack some coconuts, kiln some of the meat, and start milling. Next, cut small medallions (make sure to refer to them as medallions) of coconut meat and fry them in the oil in a large cast iron wok. Season liberally with coconut husk shavings. Your guests will barely be able to choke it down, but they will act like it’s the best meal they’ve ever had and will actually convince themselves of that so they can tell everyone about the bizarre dinner party they went to and go into detail about the milling process and that prior to milling they needed to dry the meat in a kiln to create something called “copra.” After this party don’t really talk about coconut oil anymore. Coconut oil will be OVER!

Emerging: Eating Alone, Thinking

Alexander Skarsgård Enjoys A Cup Of Tea
Table for one, one amazing dude

Everybody gets invites to lunch from friends. Cafes and restaurants of all sort are packed with full tables of 4-8 hipster buddies, writing hakius (only if it’s April), discussing Carl Jung, and mocking western medicine. So how does the hipest of the hipster culture react? Eating alone of course! For one thing, when friends ask you out to lunch you can say that you can’t because you really need some time to think. This will make them think that you’re really deep and focused, and even willing to sacrifice fun times with others so you can meditate on whatever world crisis is obscure right now. How about tribes clashing in Darfur over gum arabic production? When you get to the restaurant and the hostess asks you how many you can proudly proclaim “just me.” Because that’s who’s on top of the hottest trend right now, just you baby, just you.

Scorching MetaTrend: Anything Old Timey

bridge club
farting dust is all the rage

We here at NHT sometimes like to step back and try and spot the trends in our trends, it gets us all scotch-bonnet hot when we are able to see a major trend influencer from the 30,000 foot level because we’re so often in the trend trench, mustache wax under our finger nails, that we miss the big picture. For quite some time we’ve been talking about this serious meta-trend from many different angles. Music, Books, Food and even sun glasses that might fit over other glasses, we’ve seen how things that your grandpa and grandma did or liked are a central component in many hipster trends. Hipters want to be just like really old people, even though they’ll never hire them for jobs they might be well qualified for, but they want to look and act just like them. Is it a harkening back to simpler times or is it a total lack of original thoughts and ideas? As we all know, it’s probably both. Yes hipsters love nothing more than buttoning on the suspenders, starching the collar and heading out to folk dance in the community center, it makes them feel like they’re in the TV shows they grew up with. And that’s OK, because remember, the gods gave us television to show us how we should want to live and if hipsters want it to be the Hallmark channel, that’s just “Honkey Dorey.” Awareness of this really hit me last weekend when I was invited to become part of a weekly bridge club. Now remember, being invited to any kind of single themed “club” that meets at someone’s home or apartment is the highest honor a hipster can bestow on anyone. It started with books and knitting but now, hipsters being the eternal seekers, it’s moved into artisinal pastimes like pickling and candle making. While there are many examples of how to adopt old timey ways, we’re going to focus on the ancient realm of geriatric table games.

To be clear, this does NOT include board games, especially ones involving miniatures or small cardboard “chits.” Games like Settlers of Catan, Stratego, Power Grid or any of the Avalon Hill series of bookshelf games are so proto hip that they too far out on the hipster horizon for any but the most advanced bleeding edge hipsters, leave these to the Nerdsters for a bit longer, but keep your eyes on this soon to be emerging trend.

If you want to really ride the Oldey train, which is steam powered of course, it’s time to hit the deck, the card deck that is. Nothing has the dusty reek of times gone-by like any of the Whist based games like Wendellhead, Tarneeb and Contract Bridge. If you haven’t been so lucky, like me, to have been invited to an already existing card coven of bridge playing hipsters, you’ll have to get one going yourself. This is good, because this will give you a chance to prepare in advance and do some self promotion, you will love this. Advertise with a poster, hand screened of course, designed by your graphic designer friend. Have the little tear off parts of the poster take interested hipsters to a blog you’ve already made to post images and scores and crap. Next require that all players in your uber-exclusive bridge club, called the “Tricksters” read Hoyle’s “A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist.” It was published in 1743, if that isn’t Olde Timney-ey enough to be impressive, your friends are not hipsters, they’re D&D players. Get as far away from those loser nerds as possible. Now, you wont be playing Whist, so just claim that they have to “understand our roots.” The most important item of a good bridge game night is the table. It’s got to smell like your grandma. The next time you’re at an estate sale, which is like every Sunday morning, find the moldiest smelling folding table and chairs you can. It’s got to smell like cologne from the 50’s. Wrap it in plastic so the moment you pull it out at Bridge club night it sends a waft of stale baby powder and Milk of Magnesia at your assembled gamers. And so, your adventure into the hipster dementia domain begins. Don’t forget to make everyone drink piping hot really weak coffee. Enjoy, you’ll be here for years … and years.