A Thank You To Readers, And the Best of Casual Kitchen 2010

2010 was another great year for Casual Kitchen: I published about 85 articles this year, more than 50 weekly Friday Links posts, and I had quite a few guest posts published at various other sites: notably, at Cheap Healthy Good (where, amusingly, a couple of commenters called me "simplistic and naive"), at Eating Rules, at Fooducate (twice) and at A Sweet Life.

And you, my dear readers, responded with record pageviews and a record number of amazing and insightful comments. Casual Kitchen had some 350,000 pageviews this year, and I'm grateful for your attention and participation. Without you, there's no point to Casual Kitchen even existing.

I know I've said this before (uh, like a year ago at this same time), but it bears repeating: 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'm deeply grateful to have some of the most insightful and thought-provoking readers any blogger could ever hope to have. Thank you!

With that, let me share with you my selection of the top ten articles and the top five recipes at CK during 2010. Enjoy--and if there are any posts you think I unfairly overlooked, please let me know in the comments!

1) The Do-Nothing Brand
Read this post and you'll never again think the same way about branded foods. One of CK's most controversial posts.

2) Avoiding the "Yes, But" Vortex
This post, part of a three-part series on the psychology of food, might very well be the most important thing I've ever written here at CK. Be sure not to miss the follow up posts as well as the great back-and-forth discussions in the comments.

3) How to Feel Less Hungry on Fewer Calories: Hacking the Satiety Factor of Food
Most of us are aware of the connection between how filling a food is and how many calories it has, but that relationship isn't quite as simple as it seems. In this post I'll teach you how to help your body and subvert your appetite by hacking your food's "satiety factor."

4) The Worst Lie of the Food Blogosphere
I made more enemies with this post then any post in CK's history. But I strongly believe that when we whine and complain about the evils of Big Food, we simply give our power away to the food industry. That stops here and now.

5) Weight Is Just a Number
Your body weight is the answer to the wrong question. There are several better and more meaningful metrics you can use to measure your body's health and fitness.

6) Meat Versus Miles: Why Less Meat is Better Than Going Local
The conclusions here were controversial, but once you think through both the math and the economics you'll have no choice but to rethink the value of a high-meat diet. Quite a few militant locavores were infuriated by this post, which was based on data from the excellent book Cooking Green.

7) Trusting Your Own Taste in Wine and Food
Enslaving your preferences to others is the polar opposite of consumer empowerment, and it's contrary to everything Casual Kitchen is all about. Don't pattern or reframe your taste preferences based on what some stupid "expert" says. Think and choose for yourself, and you'll be happier with the results.

8) Why Do Products Go On Sale?
This post was the sleeper hit of the year. It started with a seemingly simple question from a reader, and it led to a post explaining how consumers can take advantage of the natural rhythm of the retail industry. Ultimately, however, this question inspired me to write an entire series on the consumer products industry, and my multi-part Understanding the Consumer Products Industry series is still in progress!

9) Knowing When Not To Be a Food Snob
Normally this blog doesn't go out of its way to criticize food writers, especially well-known and well-liked ones. But the behavior of Michael Ruhlman and his friends at a midwestern restaurant was such a monumentally offensive example of arrogant cultural snobbery that I had to write this post in response.

10) On the Earthquake in Santiago
Earlier this year Laura and I spent nearly four months reincarnating our Spanish in the amazing city of Santiago, Chile. We also had the singular fortune of experiencing Chile's enormous 8.8 earthquake while we were there--and this popular off-topic post describes our experiences. (See also my follow-up post on the inaccurate and deeply misleading media coverage of the quake, which ultimately inspired an entire series of posts on the media that I'll be running in 2011 on my writing blog, Quick Writing Tips.)

Honorable Mention:
On the Benefits of Being a Part-Time Vegetarian
Breaking Your Own Frugality Rules
Why Davis Baking Powder Put in a 23% Stealth Price Hike
Best Practices to Raise the Level of Discussion on Your Blog

Top Five Recipes of 2010:

1) Roasted Zucchini and Chickpea Soup -- In my humble opinion, this was the runaway best recipe of the year. This elegant and easy-to-make soup tastes absolutely incredible and costs a mere 99c a serving!

2) Vegan Potato Peanut Curry -- Simple, exotic-tasting and extremely popular among readers. One of cheapest and easiest recipes in Casual Kitchen's history.

3) Indian Mung Bean Stir Fry -- Don't let the unusual main ingredient, sprouted mung beans, scare you away from this amazingly healthy and laughably cheap recipe. PS: this post will also teach you how to sprout your own mung beans at home--it's way easier than you'd think.

4) Hamburger Corn Pone Pie -- The most popular recipe of the year, and a Koontz family favorite.

5) North African Lemon Chicken -- Oddly enough, this delicious dish was inspired by a badly written recipe in a badly written cooking magazine that I happened to find--in all places--at my dentist's office. The fact that it went on to be one of CK's most trafficked recipes of 2010 proves that good cooking inspiration can be found literally anywhere.

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Joanne said...

Thanks so much for always providing us with such wonderful articles and recipes Daniel! Here's to another great year!

Melissa said...

Hi Dan, Thanks for coming by my blog and leaving that nice comment. I feels good to know other bloggers like my writing. Your site looks like its going to lead me to all sorts of yummy recipes. Thank you!

Santiago said...

That is such a wonderful post! Keep going!!

Melissa said...

So glad you're here Dan. Cheers to another wonderful year ahead!

Lana said...

Your blog posts have inspired me so many times. Thanks for not allowing the little grey cells to fall asleep:)
Cheers, for another successful year!

Discount Kitchen Cabinets said...

Hi Daniel ,You always give some new recipes which is different and easy to cook at home.Wish you a very Happy New Year...Keep blogging!!!

Daniel said...

Thanks for the good vibes everyone!


Beckers said...

Hamburger corn pone pie....hee hee....who would have guessed! It's good with ground venison too. You have a wonderfully engaging writing style Dan.