It could be the best thing to happen since sliced bread: it’s, well, pretty sliced bread.
This new twist on toast is giving avocado toast a run for its money as the most popular bread-based food on Instagram. It involves dyed cream cheese, maybe some sprinkles or gold leaf flakes, and of course bread – which is spreading across the internet.
‘Unicorn toast’, and its recently evolved kin ‘mermaid toast’ have scorched social media in a viral food frenzy that’s inspired an uncountable amount of imitations.
Miami-based food stylist and photographer Adeline Waugh is said to be the creator of the trend, who’s been playing with natural ingredients to colour her cream cheese for about a year (her Instagram is filled with them). When she posted photos of her pastel coloured-cream cheese blended together on toast with sprinkles on top in the fall, the fad exploded.
To create the colourful toast, Waugh used only natural ingredients to dye the cream cheese: hot beet juice for pink, turmeric for yellow, chlorophyll for green, spirulina power for light blue, freeze-dried blueberry powder for purple, and a beet juice and freeze-dried strawberry or raspberry powder for light pink.
In a blog post, Waugh detailed how she stumbled across the vibrant idea.
“I was just playing around in my kitchen and trying to figure out how I could make hot pink cream cheese, as one does,” she wrote. “After playing around with all the cream cheese colors and blending them together to create new colors, I loved how they appeared to resemble paintbrush strokes.”
Her bread was originally branded ‘watercolour toast’, but her Instagram friends started calling it ‘unicorn toast’ anyway.
From there, the trend went viral, her toast being colourfully imitated across Twitter. A hashtag search will show hundreds of variations, with varying ranges of success and appeal.
“I absolutely love scrolling through the #unicorntoast & #mermaidtoast hashtags and seeing all of the beautiful renditions of my toast creations,” Waugh recently wrote on Instagram.
Part of what made mermaid toast so popular was the interviews Waugh was invited to, including features on MTV, New York Post and the Dr. Oz Show. This did lead to online critics wondering aloud what the point of decorative toast was, and why someone would waste time creating art you’re just going to feast on anyway.
“I’ve never claimed to be starting a trend or a putting out a new recipe that is super practical — it’s 100 per cent impractical, I just like to play around in the kitchen and attempt to create something aesthetically pleasing and unique from time to time,” Waugh said in a recent post.
Mermaid toast is like the spinoff to the main show that is unicorn toast. Similar in concept, mermaid toast gets its aquatic aesthetic through a hodge-podge of blue green algae powders and liquids mixed with almond milk cream cheese.
Waugh went with the name mermaid toast to, “continue the tradition of naming toast after mythical creatures.”
We’ll never look at plain ol’ cream cheese the same again.
Super excited to announce that I will be on ‘The Dr. Oz Show’ (@dr_oz ) tomorrow (whatttt?!) explaining all things unicorn toast ??? Check your local listings and tune in if you’d like! // In other news: I decided to take already whimsical mermaid toast and add a few extra sprinkles of *whimsy* via these ?radish & mandarin stars bc I love (#simplicity)…..? (P.S. super cute vegetable & fruit shapes inspired by the magical @talinegabriel ) #droz #vibrantandpure #unicorntoast #mermaidtoast