Best of Casual Kitchen 2009

2009 was a great year for Casual Kitchen. This blog was profiled in the Chicago Sun-Times, blurbed in the New York Times, and traffic grew strongly, with year-to-date pageviews up 124% compared to 2008.

Casual Kitchen is truly becoming what I've always hoped it would become: a widely-read site where people can have intelligent discussions about the food industry, and where people can learn how to make the most of the money they spend on the food they eat.

I published more than 100 articles this year, and as we wrap up 2009, I'd like to share what I thought were the top 10 posts of the year here at CK. Enjoy!

1) The 25 Best Laughably Cheap Recipes at Casual Kitchen
A recession-busting special in which I compiled all of the best, cheapest recipes on this blog, many of which cost $1.00 or less per serving. This post was retweeted repeatedly on Twitter and ultimately turned out to be one of the most heavily viewed posts of the year.

2) Guess What? We Spend Less Than Ever on Food
This short and controversial post got picked up by several economics blogs, and then got picked up by The New York Times. And it led to our own poll of food spending of Casual Kitchen readers, which indicated that the average CK reader spends meaningfully more on food than the national average.

3) Survivor Bias: Why "Big Food" Isn't Quite As Evil As You Think It Is
Yes, we spend a lot of time criticizing the food industry here at Casual Kitchen. But we shouldn't forget that we as consumers have enormous influence on what foods appear on our store shelves. See also How to Whine About Big Food, which also ruffled a few feathers when it ran earlier this month.

4) How Food Companies Hide Sugar in Plain Sight
Another short and extremely popular post in which I expose a sneaky trick that food companies use to make food appear like it contains less sugar than it really does.

5) The Raw Foods Trial
In which I ate a 100% raw diet for seven days--and lived to tell about it. The link takes you to the main archive page of the full trial, which turned out to be the most popular series in the three year history of Casual Kitchen.

6) The Hummus Blogroll: 17 Easy to Make Hummus Recipes
Every possible variation on hummus you could imagine. All of these recipes are easy to make and surprisingly inexpensive. I never had so much fun putting together a blogroll.

7) 27 Themes and Ideas for Wine Tasting Club Meetings
This was a popular post that ran in the middle of a series on wines. See if you can finish this article and not start your own wine club! For still more on wine, see my post on How to Start A Casual Wine Tasting Club and How to Enjoy Wine on a Budget.

8) The Priming Reflex: How to Control Your Appetite (And Turn Your Back on a Million Years of Evolution)
Three tips that may forever change how you eat.

9) Who's Watching the Watchdogs? Ethical Problems in the "Ten Riskiest Foods" Report By the CSPI
After seeing the media mindlessly parrot the misleading conclusions of a biased and alarmist study on food-borne illnesses, I got so angry that I wrote this post in response.

10) How to Give Away Your Power By Being a Biased Consumer
A few readers got angry with me for making positive comments about Wal-Mart and negative comments on organic foods. However, the point of the article still stands: if you want to be an empowered consumer, you have to take a hard and unfiltered look at your unconscious biases. Read it with an open mind and see what you think.

Honorable Mention:
1) 41 Ways You Can Help the Environment From Your Kitchen
2) Brand Disloyalty
3) Ask Casual Kitchen: Advice For a New Blogger

Once again, I thank my readers for your contributions, your insights and most of all for your attention. Here's to an even better 2010!

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Joanne said...

You definitely picked some of my favorite articles to showcase here. You've had a great year Daniel, and you deserve it. Here's to another one!

Daniel said...

Joanne! Thank you! And let me thank you for your comments and your great input over the course of this year.


Unknown said...

I loved all the articles in the list above, especially your raw food trial.*
*It was fascinating in a "rubbernecking at the scene of an accident" kind of way.

But my personal favorite was your Scarred for life by a food industry job, because I related to it immediately. Laugh out loud is an overused phrase, but I did while I read that post.

Taz said...

Hey Dan!

Congratulations on a good year.

I've read a lot of your top articles, but the hummus one slipped under my radar. Thanks for those - I've got an old faithful hummus that I use most of the time, but these look like some great options to add to the repertoire!


Daniel said...

Mike, thanks for bringing those posts up and for your feedback. I definitely enjoyed writing both the raw foods series (as weird as it was to some readers!) and the "scarred for life" post, and I'm glad you enjoyed them too.

Taz, thanks for stopping by and for sharing your good vibes--and be sure to let me know which hummus recipes you try out!