The 50 most basic foods of all time, ranked
If you've been paying attention to the Internet, you've probably noticed the peculiar metamorphosis of "basic". Used to be, the definition of the word was just... well, basic: simple, connotation-free, and bland. But in 2014, spurred on by zeitgeisters (Vice), pop-crossovers (Iggy Azalea), and millennials (me, probably you, and also white girls named Paige), "basic" became a catch-all term of pseudo-derision & genuine bourgeoisie camaraderie.
BuzzFeed did a thorough job exploring the term's evolution, including its urban origins, suburban appropriation, and lightning-fast 2014 rise. You should read that, but not before you read this: the infallible, totally-unscientific-but-also-totally-true power-ranking of every food & drink on the Thrillist Basic Food-n-Drink-o-Meter. Think we forgot a food, unfairly ranked a drink, or otherwise got something completely wrong? Well, we didn't; that's what "infallible" means. But you can certainly argue your case in the comments, Mr./Ms. Basic. The rankings!:
50. Dark chocolate
No personal bias went into this pick. None.
Five years ago, this would've been top 10. Times have changed.
47. Ciabatta bread
46. Energy drinks
45. Frozen yogurt
Another fallen angel from the aughts.
44. Caesar salad, generally
43. Rice cakes
42. Veggie burgers
Your friend Amy is not doing you any favors.
41. Apples picked from an orchard
If the activity is Instagrammed, move 15 spots up.
+100 points if eaten in the presence of sake bombs.
39. Pita chips
38. Hot chocolate
36. Artisanal cupcakes
The "totes cute"-er, the basic-er.
35. Cheap wine that's "actually really good, you guys"
Grab a friend and a bottle of this stuff, and you've got yourself a book club (books optional).
34. Pomegranate margaritas
33. Mac & cheese
32. Almond milk
Avoiding dairy is very, very basic.
Though they're less basic if they're from Montreal.
30. Yogurt-covered pretzels
If it was candy, it would be labeled "candy". But it's not, so it can't be.
28. Pre-cooked chicken & apple sausage
So, so, so good -- and super-easy to make!
27. Goji berries
26. Designer bottled water
Automatic ratings bump if consumed at brunch.
24. Greek yogurt
One word, four syllables, zero meaning because it's now used to describe pretty much everything: probiotics.
23. Cheesy bread
22. Pumpkin beer
"Oh-em-gee, it's sweater weather!"
21. Açaí berries
"Flavor? Nope, hold the flavor. Thanks."
19. Anything from a Vitamix that's not a drink
Ice cream? Soup? You can make ANYTHING in there!
18. Artisanal donuts
Like all of these. If it were 2010, this pick would've been swapped with #36 -- but these days, cupcakes are de rigeur and dedicated basics go nuts for donuts.
17. Farmers' market root vegetables
Actually, literally anything from a farmers' market. Ever.
16. Commercially produced "craft" witbier
Definitely, definitely served with fruit in it.
15. Cheese, generally
Remember how avoiding dairy is basic (#32)? Meet the exceptions that prove the rule.
14. String cheese
Don't bite it! You can't bite it!
13. Herbed goat cheese
So amazing, and really not what you'd expect from a cheese, y'know?
12. Extra-sharp cheddar cheese
On everything. All the time. Especially pie.
"I could live off this. Like, seriously: live off it."
10. Unsalted almonds
9. Coconut water
Also maple water, watermelon water, cucumber water, and any other type of water that's not water-water.
8. Anything from a music festival
If you can hear a Haim cover, whatever you're eating/drinking is now basic.
7. Truffle oil on anything, especially...
Did you know truffles are actually fungi? Pigs sniff them out of the ground!
6. ... a plate of fries to share!
"Shared plates" are basic as a concept.
5. Green/raw/cold-pressed juice
Must be consumed on the way to SoulCycle, on the way back from SoulCycle, or while telling your coworker about SoulCycle.
4. Caprese salad
According to the Geneva Conventions, no formal "girls' dinner" is complete unless it's held in the presence of mozzarella, tomato, and fresh basil.
3. Pumpkin Spice Lattes
Look, it's been a good run. But PSLs just aren't as basic as they were when they first hit the scene, and despite its legions of loyal boots-with-tights minions Snapchatting each other while drinking them, the once-invincible basic beverage has slipped ever so slightly in the rankings.
"Oh my God. Stop. Have you seriously never had it? It's amazing. It's beyond amazing. You can eat it with a spoon. I eat it with a spoon. Want to come over, watch New Girl on my Roku, and eat it with a spoon?"
1. Avocado toast
Here it is: the most basic food in the known universe. A slice of whole grain, a mash of puke-green 'cado (superfood alert!), and some sprinkled red pepper flakes isn't just a delicious snack. It's a statement to the world/whoever sees you meticulously preparing it in the office kitchen at lunch.
Avocado toast tells everyone, "I may be basic, but this is delicious. And you know what? That's good enough for me". Cheers to that, my fellow basics.
Dave Infante is a basic senior writer for Thrillist Food & Drink, and eats/drinks all these things. Follow @dinfontayon Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.