2008 will be remembered as the year the United States elected a black president while the economy took a nostalgic romp back to 1929. It was also the year that our diet faced some serious challenges: The fishing industry imploded, food prices shot up, and our favorite banana hovered on the brink of extinction, to name just a few. But the economic downturn also forced cooks to get creative and revive a we’re-in-this-together spirit of community. If 2007 was the year of molecular gastronomy and the astronomically expensive hamburger, 2008 was the year of the picnic table, gourmet roach coach, and modern potluck. Here for your consideration—and in the interests of posterity—are about 50 of 2008’s most irritating, entertaining, important, or otherwise noteworthy gastronomic happenings.

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