From creative recipes to special-needs diets and health scares, the food world was abuzz in 2009. Here are the top 9 food stories of the year.

9. HOLIDAY RECIPE GUIDES
We spent months helping you plan your holiday menus. You read, you cooked, you served. But that doesn't mean it's time to move on and forget. Bookmark these holiday recipe guides for next year.
>>THANKSGIVING RECIPES >>HANUKKAH RECIPES  >>CHRISTMAS RECIPES >>KWANZAA RECIPES

 

 


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8. EATING GLUTEN-FREE ON LONG ISLAND
Newsday's Burning Questions columnist, Erica Marcus, opened a Pandora's box of gluten-free goodness when she took up the cause of substitutes for celiacs. After tracking down a plethora of advice, products, stores and restaurants on Long Island for those avoiding gluten in their diets, she wrote follow-ups, blog posts and answered readers' questions. She even found pizza and rainbow cookies.
>> COMPLETE COVERAGE

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7. WATERMELON ISN'T JUST FOR DESSERT ANYMORE
Ever consider a watermelon BLT without the T? How about a layered watermelon-and-mozzerella salad? We unleased some delicious but admittedly out-there watermelon recipes over the summer and the results were anything but the pits.
>> COMPLETE COVERAGE >>
PHOTOS

 


6. SUMMER COCKTAILS TO MAKE AT HOME
We asked Long Island mixmasters to share their secret recipes, and readers drank them up.
>>COMPLETE COVERAGE >>HOLIDAY GIFTS: CHAMPAGNE, WINE, LIQUOR AND BEER

 


5. LUNCHBOX RECIPES FOR KIDS AND ADULTS
Tired of the same-old, same-old? We helped readers get out of their bologna-and-cheese ruts with recipes like these plantain wraps with tangy black bean spread.
>> COMPLETE COVERAGE >>GROWN-UP LUNCHES

 

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4. THE FDA TAKES ISSUE WITH CEREAL BOX HEALTH CLAIMS
First, the Food and Drug Administration challenged claims that eating Cheerios can lower cholesterol. Then it went after sugar cereal makers that had been sporting Smart Choices labels on products such as Fruit Loops and Cocoa Puffs.
>> COMPLETE COVERAGE >>OUR FAVORITE BREAKFAST RESTAURANTS

 


3. WHITE HOUSE SHARES OBAMA'S FAVORITE PIE RECIPE
White House pastry chef Bill Yosses' light, flaky pie crusts have earned him the nickname “The Crustmaster” from President Barack Obama. Allegedly, it's this apple pie recipe that keeps the Oval Office running smoothly. Want more pie? Try pumpkin pie without the pumpkin, traditional pumpkin pieand apple-cranberry crumb pie. >> PHOTOS: OBAMAS -- THEY'RE JUST LIKE US!

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2. CUPCAKES OUT! WEST BABYLON SCHOOLS BAN HOME-BAKED GOODS
The home-baked cupcakes traditionally brought in to celebrate a child's birthday became contraband under a new wellness policy adopted by the West Babylon School district. Parents and children alike were outraged.
>> COMPLETE COVERAGE >> VIDEO: THE DAY THE CUPCAKES DIES >> OUR CRITICS' 15 FAVORITE RESTAURANT DESSERTS

 


1. TAINTED PEANUT BUTTER RECALL
Back in January, fears of salmonella-tainted peanut butter ran rampant throughout the country as several people died and hundreds became ill after eating products made with peanut paste produced at a Blakely, Ga., facility owned by Peanut Corp. of America. Thankfully, the crisis is over and peanut products have been deemed safe to eat.
>> COMPLETE COVERAGE >>PHOTOS: MOUTH-WATERING FOOD

>> VOTE: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE FOODIE STORY OF THE YEAR?