2014: A baking odyssey

Some of last year’s food mashups left a bad taste in Charlie Penn’s mouth. Is there more to expect in 2014?

There was once only two things certain in life – death and taxes – but thanks to food experimentalists, you can probably add food mashups to that list now too.

Browsing the internet for these concoctions is the food equivalent to that 80s film, The Fly. Often grotesque and bordering on the horrific, there are so many of these mashups that can never be unseen – turducken now being my immediate choice for a villain in a food horror B-movie. Google with caution.

Beyond the sheer adulteration, some of these things can’t actually taste good, can they? So many are just layers upon layers of ideas all screwed up into one big food orgy, no rhyme or reason in sight. When deep-fried Mars Bars made it onto the 6 o’clock news in the 90’s, everyone was both horrified and intrigued that one; someone had been so candid to even consider doing it (in a fish and chips bar no less), and two; that punters were reporting it tasted good. Could this have been the catalyst for that notion of pulling ideas out of your arse?

Fast forward to 2013, and therein you’ll find a wasteland of pinned photos and BuzzFeed top whatevers pertaining to cross-bred desserts, meat stuffed within meat stuffed within meat, and by some miracle, a few ideas that might actually surprise you (dosant’s, cronuts and townies being the major success stories of that year; duffins before that). But just a mere whiff into the new year and we’re already hearing about the latest attempt – the crogel (that’s a croissant with a bagel to you and I). Screw the glass ceiling, we’re moving into try-anything-in-case-it-works territory, apparently. And so in that spirit, here are six ideas that I really reckon could broaden the exploratory food landscape of 2014. No stealing!


The sconut (scone + donut)

Basically anything merged with a donut is probably going to be good, if for no other reason than it always makes for a catchy name. This idea would eradicate the Devon versus Cornwall debate on the piling order of jam and clotted cream. My solution? Pipe it into the centre of the scone and be done with it.

The choc dog (hot dog + chocolate eclair)

Forget bite-size, we’re going to the dogs with this hybrid. Unlike some other terrifying version on this idea (a sausage topped with chocolate and whipped cream) I’m keeping it strictly sweet with a long choux pastry bun filled with a chocolate dog and covered with cream. You’re welcome.

Fondipops (chocolate fondant + cake pops)

Unlike cake pops, chocolate fondants never became worthy of eye rolling. And who wouldn’t love a small version of chocolate fondant on a stick, being all filthy and oozing straight into your mouth? Perfect for bonfires and cold winter street markets.

The Etonbouche (Eton mess + croquembouche)

The whole incredible thing about Eton mess is it immediately gives you permission for it to look like shit. Pair that with a delicate dessert that really shouldn’t look like shit, and interesting times lie ahead. This stack of meringue, fresh strawberries and spun sugar would look graciously unstable yet colourful. And if it collapses (which it most definitely probably will), you can still always serve Eton mess as a backup.

Portuguese fart (Portuguese tart + polar vortex)

Inspired by the recent US polar vortex, I’ve gone all Heston Blumenthal on your ass and come up with a powdered version of the awesome Portuguese tart – ground-down pastry, dried custard powder and bits of caramel, all packed into a sherbet stick. Note – this can be thrown into the air and captured with your mouth if you want to be true to the polar vortex craze, but really this is just a waste, isn’t it?

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