Year in Review 2010: The Year in Food Stories

Ten food stories you should read this year (or next year).

Recommended year-end readings about food. Goes well with Instapaper.

“Stung from Behind” by Nathanael Johnson in Conservation Magazine
Beside pesticides, cell-phone radiation, and colony collapse disorder, there’s another problem lurking in the produce aisle. It’s called the pollinator crisis.

“Secret of AA” by Brendan I. Koerner in Wired
The enigmatic success of Alcoholic Anonymous and its 200-word instruction set is especially impressive since no one is quite sure how the decentralized network actually works.

“Food Movement Rising” by Michael Pollan in The New York Review of Books
Food is no longer an invisible issue and the food movement’s guru-in-chief rounds up the latest books. And issues a call to arms, of sorts.

“Consider the Oyster” by Christopher Cox in Slate
Since oyster farms don’t have inflict much collateral damage and since it’s extremely improbable the briny little bivalves feel pain, even vegans should consider eating them.

“Fire in the Belly” by Suketu Mehta in Saveur
A naga jolokia-laden batch of chili proves life-affirming to the Indian author in more ways than one.

“How French Laundry's Chefs Reach for the Stars” by Sophie Brickman in the San Francisco Chronicle
Behind the kitchen door of one of the nation’s four-star kitchens, restaurants are Googling customers who make a reservation and cooks are careful not to waste fresh-picked baby zucchinis.

“Slowed Food Revolution” by Heather Rogers in Prospect
Farmers endure hardships, but organic growers face higher production costs when it comes to everything from laborers to land. And without meaningful support from Obama, they might not survive.

“Mystery Travelers” by James Prosek in National Geographic
Fish got their due this year in Four Fish, but the world’s eels—and consequently, kabayaki—are also in peril. Scientists know they migrate from freshwater to open ocean, but no one has figured out where or how they spawn.

“Glacial Terroir” by Nicola Twilley in Edible Geography
Scientists who study ice cores sometimes drink melted ice cores and climate researcher Paul Mayewski explains the unique geographic time and place he can taste in an effervescent sample of 2,000-year old water.

“Eat No Evil” by Alan Richman in GQ
After a month-long journey into ethical enlightenment, the author discovers Mokum carrots, a possible alternative to compulsory military service (killing chickens), and just how difficult it is not to eat like an asshole.


One mystery in our universe is a step closer to being solved. NASA's Parker Solar Probe launched last year to help scientists understand the sun. Now, it has returned its first findings. Four papers were published in the journal Nature detailing the findings of Parker's first two flybys. It's one small step for a solar probe, one giant leap for mankind.

It is astounding that we've advanced to the point where we've managed to build a probe capable of flying within 15 million miles from the surface of the sun, but here we are. Parker can withstand temperatures of up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit and travels at 430,000 miles per hour. It's the fastest human-made vehicle, and no other human-made object has been so close to the sun.

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McDonalds sells a lot of coffee. Over a billion cups a year, to be exact. All that coffee leads to a lot of productive mornings, but it also leads to a lot of waste. Each year, millions of pounds of coffee chaff (the skin of the coffee beans that comes off during roasting) ends up getting turned into mulch. Some coffee chaff just gets burned, leading to an increase in CO2.

Now, that chaff is going to get turned into car parts. Ford is incorporating coffee chaff from McDonalds coffee into the headlamps of some cars. Ford has been using plastic and talc to make its headlamps, but this new process will reduce the reliance on talc, a non-renewable mineral. The chaff is heated to high temperatures under low oxygen and mixed with plastic and other additives. The bioplastic can then be formed into shapes.

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via Wikimedia Commons

Nike has made a name for itself creating shoes for playing basketball, tennis, and running. But, let's be honest, how many people who wear Air Jordans or Lebrons actually play basketball versus watching it on television?

Now, Nike is releasing a new pair of shoes created for everyday heroes that make a bigger difference in all of our lives than Michael Jordan or Lebron James, medical professionals — nurses, doctors, and home healthcare workers.

Nike designed the shoe after researching medical professionals at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, Oregon to create the perfect one for their needs.

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