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Posted: Thursday, November 20, 2003 12:00 am | Updated: 5:53 pm, Thu Jul 18, 2013.

THANKFUL FOR WHAT EXACTLY?... Seems like we went from goblins to gobble gobble gobbling in the twitch of a turkey jowl. I can't believe it's already Thanksgiving. You know what that means...that's right, we have to watch the Detroit Lions on television.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It really plugs into my innate sense of sarcasm and irony. I love the fact that the Pilgrims came over here and led the movement to assimilate a civilization's knowledge then proceed to eradicate that same civilization. Then, as is usually the case, a "holiday" was designated to commemorate the great contribution by a now-extinct culture. This time of year makes me thankful alright--thankful I wasn't born while this country was forming.

That's about the same time Rio Grill was forming. Actually it was only 20 years ago...only twenty years. That's a long time for any restaurant to be in business, especially to retain its allure and reputation as a true Carmel institution. Rio has been holding down the hot corner in the Crossroads Shopping Center and shows no signs of letting up. It's the Jerry Rice of Carmel restaurants. Congratulations to Tony Tollner and Rio Grill.

MORE TURKEY... Don't forget about the Monterey Plaza "we'll fix all the fixings" Thanksgiving special. Call ahead and order a complete dinner including a 12-14 lb turkey with everything else that you need to eat with it for $110. I am so wishing last year was this year. Last year, Sweet Thing and myself, along with Queen Ann of Winchester, "BTDT" and a slew of helpful friends put on dinner for about 12 people (which is what the Plaza meal will serve). It cost me somewhere in the neighborhood of three times the $110 the Plaza is charging, I had to put up with endless stressing and fussing, and the turkey wasn't even that good. If I weren't going to someone else's house this year, I'd be all over the Plaza. Call Doug Phillips fast, 646-1700.

I'm sure there are other restaurants, caterers, etc. doing a version of the "we'll cook it for you" deal, so check your favorite establishment. Next year, if you send me some info, I'll get it in (assuming I haven't been fired by then). Speaking of getting some info...Chuck Hammers, owner of Pizza My Heart, sent me a press release about the opening of his latest store in the Del Monte Center. Hammers, who grew up in Salinas, has taken this Bay Area concept and brought it closer to his hometown.

According to the release, Pizza My Heart is "often described as being as close to New York pizza as you can get on the West Coast." If that is true, you will be seeing me there at least once a week for many months, trying to fix a pizza jones that has been gnawing at me like a hungry rat. Either way, good luck to Pizza My Heart and Chuck "Putting Down The" Hammers.

EAT LESS NOW... Steinbeck Center was the scene for a luncheon last week called "Weighing In On the Politics of Food and Nutrition." The featured speaker was Marion Nestle, chair of the department of nutrition and food studies at New York University as well as author of the important books Food Politics and Safe Food. A panel discussion was held with Ms. Nestle, Susan Foerster of the California Department of Health Services and Tom Stenzel, of the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association.

The afternoon's primary topic focused on how the food industry influences what we eat and therefore, influences our health. An important point, seemingly obvious yet necessary, was that "larger portions contain more calories." Supersizing leads to obesity. Nestle also pointed out the deceptive marketing practices used by large fast food chains and food conglomerates which all have strong lobbyists in Washington to ensure that the health regulatory agencies use wording that circumvents these giants' responsibility to provide more nutritious fare.

Statistics show that 40 percent of the American population will be obese by 2010 if current trends in eating continue. In addition to obesity, other degenerative diseases are the result of improper eating habits, but the buzzword in America now is the obesity issue. On the back cover of Marion Nestle's Food Politics is a quote by Joan Dye Gussow: "This remarkable book is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand how it has come to be that the richest nation in the world is eating itself to death." Powerful words at just the right time.

Go to Earthbound Farms' Farm Stand to get all the organic goodies you need for Thanksgiving and every week. It is open year round now so there's no excuse to not have food raw or prepared from this wonderful operation. Give a call for hours, 625-6219 or cyberize 'em at ebfarm.com.

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