Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Next Year, Stuff a Live Turkey

By John Birdsall
Wed, Nov 22, 2006 at 3:24 PM

Disgusted by the plastic-sheathed ball of flesh and gizzards oozing pink juices into your fridge? Well, next year you can pony up thirty bucks to hand-feed squash and pumpkin pies to turkeys that won't end up brined, basted, and baked. The CoCo Times reports on last Saturday's Celebration of the Turkeys at Farm Sanctuary, a retirement home for rescued farm animals near Sacramento. Vegetarians like Electra Harris of Vancouver (she racked up 24 hours on a bus to get there) frolicked with rescue fowl before sitting down to a celebratory meal of Tofurky.

"This is a place where people can bond with the turkeys and see they have individual personalities and qualities, that they like to eat and sleep, hang out with their turkey friends," says Leanne Cronquist, who manages the shelter. Kinda sounds like everyone we know.

Free Food and Cocktails? Oh, the Agony

Being a food writer must be easy, right? Think again. The CoCo Times offers two glimpses into the horrible realities just beyond the glamorous veneer of expense-account mee krob and paid travel. Novice restaurant critic James Temple shares his epiphany that having to eat out for work turns your tummy into a muffin top - the belly flab that hangs over your waistband. "In a little over a month and a half," Temple writes, " I have consumed: four platters of fish and chips, three heaping Italian combo sandwiches, and the previously mentioned [patty] melts." Wait till you start sweating fry oil, James.

Tawnytinis? You have to read between the lines to feel food editor Nicholas Boer's pain. Paid for by port producers, his junket to Portugal's Douro Valley was partly a sell job to food writers to help them brand port as a fun cocktail mixer. "Tawnytinis" combine twenty-year-old tawny port spiked with Chivas Regal, served in martini glasses with orange twists. Um, does it really have to be two decades old if you're dousing it with Chivas? For that matter, do you really need to burn up six thousand miles worth of jet fuel to taste one?

What's a Ghetto Without Burritos? The Chron reports that the new tenant taking over from the late Socca Oven in Berkeley's Epicurious Garden food mall is a burrito joint called Picoso. "The newcomer may be the only place in the Gourmet Ghetto where you can get a bite for under $5," the Chron suggests. Oh, yeah? Tell that to somebody munching on an oil-shiny slice of wild mushroom pizza today at the Cheese Board Pizzeria.

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