Biggest Food Stories of 2010: a local take on the Atlantic list

Bacon--pictured here, chicken fried--is as big as ever this year!

Bacon--pictured here, chicken fried--is as big as ever this year!

When The Atlantic published its list of the Top 10 Biggest Food Stories of 2010, the Hot Dish couldn't help but chime in with our local take on each topic:

10. The Meat Trend From charcuterie plates to dry-aged steaks, both beef and pork, carnivores continue to have their year in the sun. But the bacon trend seems to have found its limit with bacon soda.


9. Genetically Modified Foods The new "frankenfish" or fast-growing "AquaAdvantage" salmon (genetically modified with material from the ocean pout) came on the scene this year when the FDA was asked to consider its approval for human consumption. No thanks: We'll stick to Lake Superior's Finest.

8. School Food Reform Just last week, a Minneapolis school offered a "fun" lunch of gas station snacks, proving that the crap served in local cafeterias continues to be a problem. While schools are struggling with whopping demand for free or reduced meals and under-funding, discussions are spurring efforts to improve.

7. New York's Public Health Efforts After New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg attacked trans-fats, excess calories, and sodas last year, 2010 brought public display of health inspection letter grades at restaurants, an attempt to stop food-stamp recipients from using their benefits on sweetened beverages, and an outright ban on the alcoholic energy drink Four Loko. Minnesota is looking downright libertarian by contrast--but when 68% of all MOA food court vendors have critical health violations, maybe that's not such a good thing.

6. The Egg Recall Last year's peanut butter scare and this year's egg recall were wake-up calls for the country: salmonella is scary stuff! Fortunately, Minnesota can claim the nationally respected infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm to help protect us.

5. Food Trucks More relaxed legislation brought one of the biggest changes to the downtown Minneapolis dining scene: a food truck boom! Mobile vendor-friendly St. Paul also increased its street food options. Who wants a boring ol' hot dog when you could have a crepe, lobster roll, or tongue taco?

4. Foraging Urban foraging is a natural extension of the growing local foods movement. Find out how Minneapolis author Teresa Marrone earned her nickname, "Julia Child of the Wild."

3. The Food Safety Bill Last week, the Senate miraculously passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which actually now authorizes the FDA with the authority to recall tainted foods--a power it somehow previously lacked(!) When Hot Dish touched base with potential Gov. Mark Dayton, he spoke about his food safety priorities.

2. The Italian Invasion Twin Citizens will eat up Italian as fast as restaurateurs will serve it to us. New this year: Chef Tim McKee made massive improvements to Il Gatto, D'Amico opened Parma 8200 in the southern 'burbs, and chef Justin Grecco launched the old-school Roman Anthony's. Watch for forthcoming reviews of Scusi by Blue Plate and Pizzeria Lola.

1. America's Foodie In Chief Michelle Obama has made big strides with initiatives to get Americans to eat healthier, including her Let's Move campaign. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak got a shout-out from the Foodie in Chief for the city's commitment to farmers' markets.