Bow your heads, please, for 2010 saw yet another foodie term of affection jump the shark -- artisanal.
This year big business continued to follow the foodie dollar, co-opting and transforming the language of the culinary crowd. A few years ago they swarmed the once-crunchy cottage organic industry. Then everyone from Whole Foods to Walmart latched on to the "local" label.
When the Big Foods of the world made Frito-Lay's Tostitos from "Artisan Recipes" and Sargento shredded cheeses from "Artisan Blends" (all trademarked, of course), you know the term lost its cred.
So went the year in food.
It means 2011 will see yet another search for a term that sets apart real from really industrialized food.
The year saw the one-year anniversary of the demise of Gourmet magazine, but its zombie lived on. Parent company Conde Nast (which pulled the trigger on it) seemed to have more trouble. They trotted out the Gourmet name on everything from a cookie cookbook to an app to "special editions" of the magazine.
Makes you wonder why they killed it in the first place.
The Gourmet app entered a crowded marketplace. This was the year for big name foodies to put their thumbprints on tiny screens. Everyone from Martha Stewart and Tyler Florence to Rachael Ray and Mark Bittman got in on the app game.
Meanwhile, the iPad was supposed to revolutionize cookbooks, finally bringing together the traditional contents and portability of paper with the whiz-bang features, encyclopedic depth and flexibility of video and the Internet. We're still waiting.
Not all grub-related media growth was on tiny screens. Apparently the American appetite for televised food is as insatiable as its obsession with over-the-top fast food (more on that in a minute). In the spring, the 17-year-old Food Network gave birth to another 24-7 culinary enterprise -- the Cooking Channel.
First lady Michelle Obama continued her push to end childhood hunger and fight childhood obesity, rallying chefs (celebrity and not) to donate time to resource-strapped school lunch programs and helping to push through legislation that overhauled school lunches and funded an additional 20 million after-school meals for needy kids.
An effort to revamp the nation's food safety system -- a measure with broad support that advocates have sought close to, oh, forever -- got broad support after a large-scale outbreak of salmonella-tainted eggs sickened as many as 1,600 people during the summer.
And down by Hooper's Store, Elmo partnered with celebrity chef Art Smith and a host of new Muppets -- banana, cheese, whole-grain roll and broccoli -- in an effort to teach healthy eating on a budget and pull children away from the perverse crossroads of poverty and obesity.
Might also want to keep them away from the latest fast-food obsession -- a caloric game of one-upmanship in creating the most over-the-top menu item. In Spring, KFC gave us the hugely popular 540-calorie Double Down -- a bunless sandwich of bacon and cheese surrounded by chicken filets.
What's next? Vegans are hotter than hot. But so is meat. We'll inhale meatballs spiked with unspeakable ingredient combinations. We've read way too many books about butchers this year. Could fish mongers be the next fascinating food worker for whom memoirists pen pseudo-sexual odes?
Perhaps. If they batter the local and organic catch of the day in artisanal gluten-free bread crumbs.