If you were cycling with food, then you were most likely right in the middle... or even beginning of your cycle. Chances are, you were in the middle of either an ammonia or nitrite spike. Using food tends to be unreliable and takes a lot longer than using straight ammonia. Plus, if you are unlucky, the food can develop mold that can be toxic to the fish.
It is incredibly hard to do with food. I tried to cycle one of my tanks with food, and it took almost two weeks for any ammonia to show up... I can't imagine how long it would have taken to actually cycle the tank. I gave up on it and bought some ammonia.
I would wash your filter out very well (or even replace the filter pad) because if you have had it off for a while it is just full of dead bacteria. I would also wash the whole tank well and start from the beginning with pure ammonia and a test kit. The pure ammonia will make things faster because you don't have to wait for the food to rot and produce it (plus it is cleaner because you don't have to clean up the rotting food), and the test kit will show you when it really is safe.
If you can get your hands on some stuff from a cycled tank (gravel, something from in the filter is best) it can make the cycle incredibly fast. You have to be careful because the bacteria dies very easily, so you need to keep it in tank water from the other tank and put it in your tank ASAP. I was able to pull off a three day cycle with in my new tank recently this way. I took some filter balls from the filter on my goldfish tank, put some of them in the new filter and a bit of them in a tea bag that I put in the direct flow of the filter. Turned everything on and dosed with ammonia. There was a tiny spike the first day, but the next and it was cycling the ammonia as fast as I could put it in. Goldfish filter media is amazing.
You will want to decide what kind of fish to keep before you start cycling so that you can keep the tank at the right temperature for them while doing the cycle. The cycle bacteria can be weak and die off if you change the temperature significantly. If the tank is cycled when you start, you don't need to choose especially hardy fish. Just choose the kind you want to keep. If you get some hardy type and use them to cycle, then you later want a different fish instead you have to figure out what to do with the fish you used to cycle.
The best advice I can give is to buy a testing kit. The type with liquid, not sticks. Seriously, it makes so much of a difference.