News & Features

The Food Americans Googled, from Pizza Hut to Cream Cheese Frosting

Kate Bernot

December 16 2011 - 10:53 AM

Google Zeitgeist, the annual project that proves just how banal Americans are by revealing our fastest-rising Google terms of the year, has released its 2011 findings. When we weren't searching for Rebecca Black songs or planking photos, Americans Googled recipes and restaurants that paint a portrait of what foods America wants to order and cook. Hint: it's not kale.

On the restaurant end of things, Americans predictably searched for Pizza Hut, Domino's, and Papa John's quite a bit, since those chains allow you to order pizzas online. After the pizza joints comes Starbucks, McDonald's, and Olive Garden, which are also no surprise given the volume of customers they serve.

The recipe list, found on Bon Appetit, is more insightful. Americans have recently developed a paradoxical relationship with home cooking: Food Network, The Cooking Channel, and a proliferation of popular recipe blogs have brought attention to cooking like never before, meaning you're just a click or a touch of the iPad away from step-by-step recipes, how-to videos, and measurement conversions. On the other hand, grocery shelves are filled with more and more re-heatable entrees, one box meals, and steam-your-veggies-in-the-microwave packets than ever before. Apparently, we're too busy to cook because we're engrossed in Food Network.

Not surprisingly, topping the list of recipes we search for are American standards rather than tiki masala or quinoa. The top five recipe search terms are chicken, meatloaf, banana bread, chili, and pancakes, though guacamole makes an apperance at #8. Also unsurprisingly, not many of these top recipe searches could be considered especially healthy, least of all cupcakes and cream cheese frosting, which both make an appearance in the top 10. If you think that's a bit depressing, just wait until you see the list of most-searched-for "celebrities."

–Kate Bernot