A top 10 list is now the way to define what things are about. Just before Christmas break, my daughter turned in a history project based on the top 10 facts about the Tai Ping Rebellion in China (1850’s). Thanks to Dave Letterman’s Top Ten Lists on The Late Show, which turn a current topic or event into parody, such lists have become a regular household happening.
Take 10 items that are considered to be the best, worst, or notable in some way and list them in reverse order starting with 10 and finishing with one. Like so, I’ll line up a recent survey of the nation’s food editors as to the 10 top food-related news stories of 2006.
According to a public relations newswire, everything Rachael takes the No. 10 spot since the past year has seen Rachael Ray hosting three top-rated TV shows and authoring a series of cookbooks that have sold more than two million copies.
The benefits of a low-fat diet ranked No. 9 after a major study showed that such a diet does not necessarily protect against heart attacks, strokes, or breast and colon cancer.
High fructose corn syrup, “the nutritional bogeyman du jour”, was voted No. 8 – a so-called “devil’s candy”.
The Big Apple put a hold on fat and came in No. 7. The city plans to prohibit its 20,000 restaurants from serving food that contains more than a tiny amount of artificial trans fats.
Since Americans consume one-third of their caloric intake away from home, the Food and Drug Administration has encouraged restaurants to include lower calorie choices in their marketing efforts. Their gesture to help downsize America made No. 6.
Putting “whole” back in whole grains claims the No. 5 spot.
An effort to deal with high childhood obesity rates turns up at No. 4 with the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Health and Human Services urging food companies to develop more nutritious foods for children.
Securing the No. 3 spot, organic goes mainstream as Wal-mart plans to roll out a complete selection of organic foods to be offered at “only a tiny premium over its already inexpensive conventional food.
Ranking No. 2 in the survey is the school soft drink ban. The country’s top three soft-drink companies announced that they would remove sweetened carbonated soft drinks and iced teas from school cafeterias. (Sadly, this comes too late for my college-aged daughter who is hooked on Coke thanks, in part, to lunch room vending machines.)
The country’s No. 1 food-related news story of 2006 is the virulent strain of E. coli bacteria associated with the contamination of spinach that killed three people and infected more than 200 in 26 states. Adding to safety concerns are the five dozen people who were sickened, in recent weeks, by contaminated scallions.
Will this effect how we shop? According to surveys, “no.”
Will we continue to listen to top 10 lists? According to my calculations, “most probably.”
The list to top all top 10 lists is OPLIN’s (Ohio Public Library Information Network) The Top Ten – Top Ten Lists. Among these are Siskel and Ebert’s Top 10 Lists (1969-1999), So You Wanna Know the Top Ten (10 richest people, 10 most expensive paintings – you name it), Top Ten Word Lists, and Top Ten Links (promises to deliver the top 10 links to any subject on the Web).
How can you top that?