Food is tradition. We cook and eat what our parents made, and what their parents made before them. But since the dawn of the 20th century, when it became easier for both people and information to travel throughout the world, Americans have been exposed to all kinds of new cuisines. From one decade to the next, the country experienced rapidly changing food trends, from the tasty to the healthy to the bizarre. The well-off usually decided what was fashionable - on plates and otherwise - for better or worse.
The times we live in influence how we perceive beauty, and they affect the foods we love, too. It's impossible to predict a culinary trend, but once it hits, the whole country just has to try it. Some last forever; others fade quickly. Either way, they remain indelible markers of our cultural history - and might even serve as inspiration for the next swanky restaurant.