The Food Year in Review, 2010

[From 2009 to 2012, I had a blog called A Hungry Artist. It mainly functioned as a creative outlet for exploring abstract topics as it related to food. The following post was selected from that archive. Some copy has been edited for clarity.]

Like Thanksgiving and Christmas, the round-up lists came early this year. Now, 2 days to the New Year, you’re probably sick of them, and I’m cutting it close.

Every year is known for something specific and 2010 was no different as it was OFFICIALLY THE YEAR OF FOOD. From the spot-on trends in late 2009 (Epicurious, Food Channel, The Daily Beast) to the emergence of Ruth Bourdain, everyone was abuzz about everything food related.

The expansion of Eater, the surge of food bloggers, and easier accessibility to quality products helped to bridge the gap between the obscure and the mainstream. The word foodie spawned a negative connotation and battles emerged between common folk for food superiority. Pork was no longer gluttonous and foie gras no longer unethical. Food hit the runways and became haute couture and even showed up as art in museums and galleries throughout the country. What else was popular this year? FOOD TRUCKS, SUSTAINABILITY ANYTHING (do you even know what organic means?), URBAN GARDENING, POPULARITY OF FOOD PUBLICATIONS (Swallow MagazineCULTURE, Beer, DRAFT, Beer Advocate, Put A Egg On It, Food & Wine, meatpaper), FOOD POLITICS, FOOD GOSSIP, FOOD CELEBRITIES, AND WEIRD GASTRONOMY. If you’ve subscribed to anything food related, you’ve read at least one article about Lady Gaga’s meat dress or Barack Michelle Obama’s Nutrition Bill.

Food overload hit somewhere between October and November, with the announcement of Barney’s holiday window display in coordination with The Food Network and then the coma hit the fan when South Park premiered the satirical food centered episode, Creme Fraiche. This was the crucial turning point for foodies I believe, at least for the real ones. Reality deeply set in that foodism was a trend and at the point of saturation and overexposure. Trends for 2011 (Epicurious, The Huffington Post, 7X7 SF) have already reared their yummy head and it’s now going to be up to the real foodies to continue the TRUE mission of food and for the foochebags to go onto the next trend- you know, Teletubbies and Chia Pets. For the real foodies, I hope that the next year will bring prosperity, change, and greatness.

I enjoyed what Christopher Borrelli, of the Chicago Tribune, addressed in his latest article appropriately titled: “Foodie fatigue“. It’s a great starting point for achieving balance.

“Food culture is great when it gets people thinking about what’s on their plate, not photographing it. Foodies and food culture are getting a little too insistent, a little unhinged. This is a plea for calm. A plea for calm among foodies from a part-time food writer who’s part of the problem.”

My hope for 2011 is to NOT be considered a foochebag for talking and writing and caring about food.

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