I know, I know. Why would I choose a potentially deadly bacterium as the Thing of the Year?
First of all, it's not a slight against the other nominees. (Especially you, Aaron!) Second of all, it's not an excuse to run that disgusting image again.
When Gut Check spun off from the main RFT blog this spring, I had no idea what it would become. I've been making it up as I go along. For instance, I expected more blog-only reviews than I've written. (Next year, I promise.)
At any rate, what Gut Check has become, more than anything else, is a place to discuss what we eat and why. And this year no topic has been hotter than the source of our food.
"There's shit in the meat," is the disturbing refrain of Eric Schlosser's groundbreaking Fast Food Nation. While this was literally true more than once in 2007, the phrase is an apt metaphor for our concern about the provenance of our food, whether domestic or imported, processed or "organic."
I don't think it's a coincidence that "locavore," a funny term few of us had even heard twelve months ago, was the Oxford Dictionary's word of the year. Even if you don't subscribe to the 100-mile diet, you have to ask yourself: How much is it worth to me in time and/or money to seek out the better product? How do I even know what the "better" product is?
There are no easy answers. But the events of this year have reminded us how great the stakes are. There's shit in the meat.