You could look at the calendar, I guess. Count the days. But you can also always tell by the sudden glut of year-end lists put together by journalists in a hurry to "get some last minute Christmas shopping done" (which, by the way, is code among journalists for "drinking alone in the dark") before December rolls over into January.
Lists of trends, lists of holiday foods, lists of foodie gifts and lists of lists. Everyone, it seems, loves lists. Like just recently, there was this: The Atlantic's list of "The 10 Biggest Food Stories of 2010"--a run-down of everything that everyone who eats was talking about over the past 11 months and change. Some of the choices are obvious (like "The Meat Trend" as its own whole category). Some of them less so ("New York's Public Health Efforts" was really only a big story to those in New York). But what really intrigued me were the things that were left off this list.
After the jump, check out The Atlantic's picks for 2010's biggest. Then see mine. And when you're done with that, feel free to add a few of your own, down in the comments section.
1) The Meat Trend (meaning bacon, belly and butchering, essentially--the three B's of modern food writing)
2) Genetically Modified Foods (Frankenfish was the big hitter for this year--tales of the AquaAdvantage GM salmon scared the holy bejezzus out of people all across the globe)
3) School Food Reform (A story which, almost invariably, involved Jamie Oliver parachuting into some awful American school cafeteria with his pockets stuffed with carrots and rutabagas, rounding up all the fat kids and forcibly removing the pizzas from their faces)
4) New York's Public Health Efforts (The overprotective and overly-intrusive Nanny State at its foodiest)
5) Egg Recall (AKA Egg-pocalypse 2010)
6) Food Trucks (Food Trucks are the trend that just keeps on giving)
7) Foraging (Really? Foraging was one of the biggest food stories of the year? Sure, it got a headline in the New York Times food section, but then so did kimchi and eggnog and no one's calling either of those one of the biggest stories of 2010)
8) Food Safety Bill (Really more ridiculous than huge, but whatever. The fight was fun to watch)
9) The Italian Invasion (Apparently, some Italian restaurants opened in New York City this year. Shocker!)
10) America's Foodie In Chief (They mean Michelle Obama, in case you were curious)
Shit That The Atlantic Totally Forgot About, according to me:
1) Four Loko (Never before has so much ink been spilled for so little cause. But who cares! Writers everywhere got to have fun flexing their thesauruses in trying to come up with descriptions of Four Loko's unique flavor)
2) KFC Double Down (This sandwich was supposed to spell the doom of America. How quickly we abandon our bogeymen...)
3) Foods Shoved Inside Other Foods (Related to the Double Down, yes, but with the turducken, the Bacon Explosion and my own Turducklavearken X-Treme, fully a story all its own)
4) Gulf Oil Spill (Yeah, it has to do with food. Just ask a Louisiana shrimper. Or the lowly Pancake Batfish)
5) Lady Gaga's Meat Dress (Flash-in-the-pan, sure. But also significant, if only because it allowed me to use the phrase "prosciutto underpants" in print)
6) Closure of El Bulli (In the food world, this was tantamount to the closure of the Vatican or the canceling of the Superbowl. Calling it a big story doesn't even begin to describe it)
Okay, that's what I've got. Now it's your turn. What did I forget in my list? What were the food stories that most affected you in 2010? Comments below.