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The Top 10 Everything of 2008

Top 10 Food Trends

Recession dining

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Each week, Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl sends an e-mail to fellow foodies about her latest enthusiasms. Generally her dispatches flag high-priced items like $12 candy bars, but in her message on Oct. 9, as the markets were panicking, Reichl noted that she had made this cheap meatloaf the night before. It includes regular ketchup, not some exotic tomato paste available only by mail order from Italy. Chefs have been executing high-end versions of comfort foods for years (in New York City, you can still buy Daniel Boulud's pre-9/11 ode to excess, the foie-gras-stuffed burger, for $32), but now restaurants are also offering dishes for the budget-conscious. For instance, if you go to Atlanta's Dogwood and find yourself unwilling to part with $12 for crab-brie fondue or $29 for steak, you can instead order $4 ham-and-cheese grits followed by a $13 bacon burger with bread-and-butter pickles. With the help of six chefs, TIME even found ways to feed a family of four with gourmet meals for around $10.

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