The Year That Was: The Top Talk Posts of 2008

OK. Now we've come to the Top 10 Talk topics of the year. This one was a little funny, because when I ran the numbers, I found that most of the highest-ranked posts were from the beginning of the year. That's because they've had all that extra time to accumulate pageviews. So what I've done is highlight the Top 10 overall and then the No. 1 post of each month, which gives you a better idea of what was popular in a given time period. —Adam

1. Breakfast for a Crowd: Any Ideas?
"I need some ideas for breakfast that will feed 10 people. I would like to prepare something relatively simple that incorporates at least one fruit/vegetable to make it relatively healthy. What are your favorite breakfasts for a crowd?"

Look Who's Talkin'2. Best Places to Eat in New York City
"I'm taking a friend to NYC on Saturday and would like to know where the best places to eat are. I need a restaurant that is casual attire (not Le Benardin or Per Se etc.) that has really good food. I've heard a lot about The Spotted Pig, Union Square Cafe, and Gramercy Tavern. Has anyone ever been to any of these?"

3. How to Make Fried Rice Like They Do at Chinese Takeout?
"Whats their secret? I have a rice cooker that cooks up nice rice. But how do they get it the color/flavor they do? Those little pieces of pork. How do I get them as yummy as they do?"

4. What Do You Do with Spaghetti Squash?
"I've recently discovered that I like spaghetti squash and, more importantly, that my husband will eat it too. I tried a good recipe recently for Spaghetti Squash with a Spicy Meat Sauce (spicy in terms of cinnamon), and I'm wondering if anyone has other good recipes they would be willing to share."

5. Election Night Party
"Hey all... I am thinking of having some people over for election night, and want to make some election-themed food. I can't think of anything to do other than make 'traditional' American food (like the 4th of July), but I am thinking more in terms of appetizers/finger foods. Any suggestions?"

The final 5, and the month-by-months, after the jump.

6. All Clad Pots and Pans: Are They Worth It?
"Are the All Clad pots and pans worth the expense when compared to the Calphalon stainless sets?"

7. Why Don't Professional Chefs Use a Garlic Press?
"I have a garlic press that I love. I use it daily, whenever I need to add garlic to any of my recipes. It is quick and simple and easy to clean. I have noticed on Food shows on television, that almost all of the professional chefs, slice their garlic or hand chop it. It seems a waste of time to me. Can anyone out there enlighten me?"

8. Anthony Bourdain, I AM NOT SOUTHERN
"Anyone catch chef gloom when he went to South Carolina? I attempted to watch this last night on my DVR and shut it off after 10-15 seconds. He couldn't just go to South Carolina and appreciate all it's gastronomic glories and natural beauty. No. The first thing out of his mouth was to let the world know he normally would have nothing to do with the South and was trepidatious about being there. Pathetic PC crap. SC doesn't want you there either champ."

9. Best Hangover Food?
"I love Hump Day Happy Hour, but HATEHATEHATE the aftermath. I find a couple of Egg McMuffins and a good energy drink usually do me right. What about you guys? Imbibers only."

10. Shopsin's: Comical Rudeness
"I come in with a group of four today, and we wait for service at Shopsin's. 20 mins later, Kenny (a fat, sweaty, poorly-dressed man) gets to us, and we ask some questions about which food is cooked with nuts (he says a lot of stuff is cooked with peanuts). He points us to the part of the menu which says "severe allergies cannot be accommodated" and we say we understand, we just want to know which items are mainly nut-based.

A couple of questions later, he tells us he's getting bored and that we should probably eat at McDonald's. We tell him to wait a second, and we try to start rush ordering. We stop to ask one question about whether grits are vegetarian, and that's it. "I'm not cooking for you. Eat at McDonald's."

I go to the kitchen to ask him what his problem his, and his response? 'You were being assholes, and I'm a prick, and this way we don't have to deal with each other's shit.'"

Wowsers. And now, the month by month ...


How to Make Fried Rice Like They Do at Chinese Takeout?
Yep. It took No. 3 overall, likely helped by its No. 1 spot in January.


Substitute for Sherry?
"I'm making Bourdain's mushroom soup (from the email a few days ago) and I don't really want to buy sherry for it as I rarely use it. Does anyone have any recommendations for a substitute? Obviously it adds a lot of flavour so I'd prefer not to substitute broth."


Serious Bakers: I Need Your Best Bundt Cake Recipe
"I need a killer, knock-em-dead bundt cake recipe. It needs to be one of those super moist, dense kinds. None of that light, airy stuff for me. A gooey filling down the middle works, but certainly isn't necessary. It can be iced or not, although the ideal cake will be one that's so rich and moist that icing is redundant."


SE Users: Please Introduce Yourselves
"I feel like it's been a while since we've had a little SE-user roll call. I'm always interested in who's out there asking, answering, and commenting. So, who are you? What are you all about?"


Food to Gain Weight On
"For my upcoming job, I have to gain 15 pounds. I've got a high metabolism, so I'm going to need some dense dlicious ideas, and I do not want to be chugging down the protein shakes. What are the most tasty calorie laden dishes you can think of?"


What Foods Are Uniquely '80s'?
"I spent my childhood growing up in the '80s, and looking back it always seems, compared to the Jell-O mold '50s, the brown rice '60s and '70s, and the low-fat '90s, to be a rather characterless food era. So what foods do seem uniquely 80s and how would you characterize that decade in terms of food? (as a second grader I was out of the nouvelle cuisine loop)."


The Best Way to Cook Tilapia Is ________
"I picked up some fresh tilapia at Fresh Market today. Help: What's your favorite way to cook this fish?"


Olympic-Sized Diets
"There is discussion in the media section about the number of calories Olympians (namely Michael Phelps) need each day. GolfGirl said she wouldn't know how to eat that many calories each day, but that it would include pancakes. So, if you were required to eat 8,000-10,000 calories every day, what would you eat? Personally, there would be incredible amounts of pasta and breakfast food in my diet."


Cheap Meals!
"As a college student, I need to find some meals that are very cheap to make. I just wanted to see if there are any ideas that people can give me because scambled eggs and chili is getting old. Thanks!"


What Do Foodies Do?
"Now that we have foodie politics out of the way—what the heck do you guys do all day? I know there are some here and there who actually work in the food industry, but that hasn't seemed to be the norm. So besides loving food, what do you do?"


What to Bring to a Thanksgiving Pot Luck in the Office
"My office has decided that it would be nice to have a Thanksgiving pot luck. Bringing dessert would be easiest, but I really wanted to find a good main dish to bring (that isn't an entire turkey) that won't put people to sleep. The twist is that we only have a toaster oven and a microwave to heat things up in, so I am also leaning toward something that would be tasty at room temperature. Any suggestions?"


Goofy Kitchen Appliances (Please Don't Buy That for Me!)
"I was out Christmas shopping and of course I had to check out the kitchen gadgets and whatnot at the stores, and as usual I was stopped in my tracks by a device that I just couldn't believe. As in, who would want one of these things? It was billed as an automatic doughnut machine...."