The 10 Stories That Defined Food in 2011

A look back at the stories that inspired what we ate and how we ate it. 

When it comes to comnsuming, it’s not just about what’s on the table, it’s about how it got there and how it is being enjoyed. Over the last year we have come to make our Food section reflect our mindset of “good food, from good places, with good people.”

Food sustains us and brings us together and gives us a common ground, no matter who we are. At times complex, and at others, very simple, food is a topic that we can all gather around. Here are 10 stories that proved this point and have defined this section in 2011.

Dr. Marion Nestle Weighs in on Food Issues

When the federal government launched MyPlate, the Harvard School of Public Health came out with their own version called the Healthy Eating Plate. To get perspective we chatted with one of the leading voices on food, Dr. Marion Nestle, to get her perspective on eating better and how to change the food system.

The Replacements

Burned out on the cupcake trend just like we were? Fortunately there were plenty of replacements, and we hope that 2012 gives us more macarons and cookies delivered out of second story apartment windows.

Food is one of the best ways to explore a new culture, and nothing gives a real look into a country and its people like street food. In this article we took a look at 10 street foods that defined their home countries to give you a salivating virtual world tour.
It’s nice to buy wine that’s made just a few blocks from your apartment. Enso Winery in Portland, Oregon is leading the way for urban viticulteurs, getting their grapes from local vineyards and making their wine in the same warehouse space as their welcoming tasting room.
Green Plate columnist Vanessa Barrington is our guiding force in inspiring us to eat better. Here she offered up the simplest and most efficient ways to start changing our grocery shopping and eating habits, from choosing more local produce to cutting out meat.
There’s a wide world of “functional foods.” From high fiber to low fat, we’re constantly encouraged to buy products based upon their supposed benefits, but is this making us miss the point? This article said it best: “To take an ecological view of food is to understand that the physical, cultural, social, environmental, and economic results of ingesting a food or nutrient cannot be predicted or understood in isolation. Foods interact with one another, in the body, around the table, and in society – all of which contribute to their overall ability to nourish. None of this can be described by a marketing claim.”
Is the kitchen the new battleground for opposite sexes? This essay tackled the different approaches when it comes to food, and looked at why, in many cases, men cook for fun and women cook out of necessity.
What is it that gives the French their je ne sais quoi? A lot of it has to do with food culture, and the fact that eating is equated with joie de vivre. “Everyone has to eat, so why not enjoy the moment, preferably with friends? Eating with others has not only emotional benefits but also means you’re not sitting in front of the television alone, mindlessly moving your hand from chip bag to mouth. Food is meant to be enjoyed; given the time it took to get from the earth to your plate, it deserves to be enjoyed.”
Cooking is an art, and Johanna Kindvall brought (and continues to bring) us a heightened sense of creativity to her recipes and food writing with unique illustrations. Her series has inspired us to try new dishes and take a new approach to food, one that is fun and playful.
Images: Pink Sherbet Photography, Harvard Health Blogsandwichgirlflickr4jazz, Anna Brones, Michigan MomThe Impulsive Buy, Kevindooleycarolus124, Johanna Kindvall
Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.