Every year at this time as newsmakers take a break and newsrooms do, too, it's a tradition to run "Best of" features. As Pique is no exception - the finishing touches are being put on the "Best of" issue as I write this - I thought I'd offer my own one-off version, rounding up the "Best of" and "Worst of" the world of food in 2010.
Best food trend in 2010
The best food trend in 2010 has to be the renaissance of simply-prepared food. Was it the HST on the restaurant tab? The DDT on the produce slogged in from Timbuktu? The recession or the 100-mile-diet fallout? Or simple burnout on foodie one-upmanship? (About time after 25 years.) Whatever, I'm with you, brothers and sisters, as we rediscover the joys of mashed potatoes and fried chicken done right at home.
Best homemade fast food ever
In light of the above, one of the best dishes I came up with in 2010 is my one bowl/two stick dinner - perfect for anyone who has to cook in the kitchen of local employee housing. It goes like this: whip up your favourite Kraft Dinner. While the water's boiling for the noodles, wash a big handful of (organic) cherry tomatoes and another big handful of (organic) broccoli you've chopped into nice little pieces, but I'm sure you could use other veggies as you like. Stick the veggies in a soup bowl and blanche them by covering them with boiling water (either boil some water separately in a kettle, or if you've got enough extra boiling for the KD noodles, use some of that). Once the noodles are cooked, add all the regular KD trimmings plus about half cup of some good grated or ground cheese - the better the cheese, the better the results - and a couple of big spoonfuls of good plain yogurt - the higher the fat, the better and creamier the results. If you feel bad about the extra fat, ditch some of the butter the KD recipe recommends. Add your nicely blanched vegetables, stir it all up and serve yourself in the same bowl you used to blanche the veggies. Perfect eaten with chopsticks in front of a screen with a good show. Clean up: two minutes.
Worst hit food supplies in 2010
Which country wins the title for the place suffering the most from disrupted food supplies? Was it post-earthquake, post-hurricane, post-cholera, Haiti, with water supplies destroyed and roads blocked by rubble and post-election wreckage, or Pakistan, with flooding that impacted 20 million people and destroyed about 17 million acres of farmland - an area the size of England, or 30 per cent of the country's productive land? Both, I say from the looks of UN stats. More than 3 million Haitians are suffering without adequate food, or about one third of the population. In Pakistan, where prices of essential staples have spiraled upwards an average of about 40 per cent in the last five years, about 77 million are without enough food, more than half of the people in the entire nation. In either place, a box of Kraft Dinner would be most welcome. Send one, or the equivalent thereof, via SOS Children's Villages, either to Haiti, where they are now feeding some 14,000 children daily, or to Pakistan, where they are active in the worst-hit regions ( http://www.sos-childrensvillages.org/pages/default.aspx ).