Food: Most of the Decade

Most Ubiquitous Edible. There are at least 425 shapes and sizes of pasta -- round, square, tubular, flat -- and Americans seemingly craved them all. In the '80s the nation gorged on this basic yet incredibly varied Italian staple. Last year domestic consumption of pasta, from agnolotti to ziti, topped 4 billion lbs. -- nearly 18 lbs. for every man, woman and bambino.

Most Visible Gourmet. Jeff Smith of Seattle, the lanky, gray-bearded, cackle- voiced Methodist minister who calls himself the Frugal Gourmet, entered millions of American homes via his still running how-to series on PBS. All four of his precise,...