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12/20/2013 08:24 am ET

The Must-Read Food Articles Of 2013

The year 2013 was a big year for food in the national spotlight. From GMO debates across the country to the non-stop reign of kale, there were plenty of topics to keep cocktail party conversations flowing.

But beyond the major news stories, there were also some beautifully-written food pieces that might not have made major headlines, but are most definitely worth reading. Here are our picks for the best food articles of the year:

Editor's Note: We only included articles that are available online.

  • Familiarity Breeds Content, New York Times
    Frank Bruni spent several years as a restaurant critic, in which he was constantly visiting new and buzzy restaurants. Here, he writes about the opposite: the joy of returning to a place that feels just right.

    Read the full article at the New York Times.
  • An Open Letter to Paula Deen, Huffington Post
    Michael Twitty, a culinary historian, offered a fresh take on the Paula Deen scandal through his clever prose and smart analysis.

    Read the full article.
  • Dry-Aged Beef Is a New Trend in Restaurants Around the Country, Bon Appetit
    Getty/HuffPost
    Trend pieces can be tough to write, and are often tiresome to read. Leave it to Francis Lam to offer a refreshing and informative perspective on dry-age beef. It's the kind of writing that makes you want to eat a steak, stat.

    Read the full article at Bon Appetit.
  • Tyranny–It’s What’s for Dinner, Vanity Fair
    Getty/HuffPost
    Corby Kummer's take-down of tasting menus sparked a lot of responses, including plenty that disagreed with him. No matter what side you stand on -- and even if you would never spend hundreds of dollars on a meal -- Kummer paints a clear (and slightly curmudgeonly) picture of modern fine dining culture.

    Read the full article at Vanity Fair.
  • Fire-Eaters, The New Yorker
    There is a group of people -- chiliheads, to be more specific -- that spends a lot of time thinking about really serious spice levels. While chile pepper-sparked hallucination doesn't sound like a lot of fun to most people, Lauren Collins explores why others beg to differ. It's a riveting article, but you might not be hungry after finishing it.

    Read the full article at The New Yorker.
  • Solitary Man, Saveur
    Josh Ozersky takes a break from his musings on lardcore and the state of the food world to write a deeply personal piece about his late father and his relationship with food. It's far from an uplifting piece, but you won't regret reading it.

    Read the full article at Saveur.
  • The Way of All Flesh, Harper's
    Ted Conover went undercover as a USDA inspector in a cattle slaughterhouse in Nebraska. His report is a gruesome read about how supermarket beef is made. If you eat meat, you should read this piece.

    Read the article (stub) at Harper's.
  • You Can't Eat Love, The Wire
    Sick of all those food labels that claim the product was "made with love?" Jen Doll breaks down why this feel-goodery has gotten completely out of control.

    Read the full article at The Wire.
  • Yes, Healthful Fast Food Is Possible. But Edible?
    Getty/HuffPost
    Mark Bittman makes the case that fast food doesn't have to be bad for you. He examines many popular chains that are hoping people will pay for something more than a greasy burger and fries. First step: make the food taste good.

    Read the full article in the New York Times magazine.

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